Cable TV in India to be digital from January 1, 2016

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015
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Cable TV Services in Urban Areas will be digital from 1st January 2016

The cable TV is one of the most popular medium of mass entertainment & education. The country has more than 100 million cable TV subscribers. The digitization of cable TV services is under way in a phased manner in 4 phases.

The road map for digitalisation of Cable TV services is as under:

Phase Areas Sunset date for analog Cable TV
Phase –I Four Metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai 31.10.2012
Phase –II Cities with a population more than one million (38 cities) 31.03.2013
Phase –III All Other Urban areas (Municipal Corporation/ Municipalities) except cities /towns/areas specified for corresponding Phase-I and Phase-II. 31.12.2015
Phase –IV Rest of India 31.12.2016

The consumers of 4 metros & 38 cities who were covered under phase-I & II of digitalization are getting the benefits of Digital Cable TV services. As Mentioned above, the cut off date in respect of phase-III, which covers remaining urban areas, is 31st December 2015, after which no analog signal transmission or re-transmission of TV channels is permitted by the Law. The list of urban areas, covered under phase-III of digitalisation, is available on the website of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.

The digital cable TV services (DAS) have distinct advantages over analog cable TV services as it can carry large number of TV channels with better picture quality and sound for all the channels. The consumer can choose channels of their choice and accordingly budget their expanses. For availing the Digital Cable TV Services, a consumer is required to install a set top box at his/her premises. The STBs can be availed on rental/hire-purchase/outright purchase basis. The consumer has an option to choose any scheme out of many offered by the service provider.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has been taking steps for creating awareness amongst consumers and stakeholders by holding workshops and Consumer outreach programmes, about the implementation of DAS. TRAI held a meeting with major stakeholders of the broadcasting and cable TV sector on 1st December 2015 to take the stock of the situation at the ground regarding implementation of DAS in phase III areas. TRAI noted that, progress of seeding STBs in DAS Phase-III notified areas is satisfactory and good numbers of customers are getting the benefits of Digitalisation. The Broadcasters, DTH operators and MSOs were asked to carryout exhaustive consumer awareness programmes about digitisation of cable TV services so that remaining urban areas customers are able to install STBs before cut off date i.e. 31st December 2015.. Broadcasters of TV channels have been asked to send advance intimation, by 7th December 2015, to the cable operators about non availability of TV channels for retransmission in analogue mode to the consumers from 1st January 2016.

Consumers of urban areas who are still receiving cable TV services without STB are advised to avail and install STBs before cut off date in order to receive uninterrupted TV services.