Government had announced digitalization plans in major cities in India. As per the plan, the use of set top boxes (STBs) was made mandatory for cable TV users. A cable TV blackout has been imposed since October 31. The blackout has lead to an increase in sales of set top boxes in major cities in India. Around 5 lakh set top boxes have been sold so far in Mumbai alone. Now multimedia system operators (MSO) are charging consumers as per their choice of channels.
MSO will start packaging different TV channels in the form of bouquets post Diwali. This means that over 16 lakh viewers in the city of Mumbai will gain access to a large range of channels at nominal rates. There has been a progressive competition going on between DTH services and STBs. Ashok Mansukhani, President, MSOs informed that 5 lakh STBs were fitted in different homes in Mumbai with in just eight days of the October 31 deadline.
He added that this is an early phase as far as digitization is concerned and most MSO have decided to offer 330 to 400 channels for consumers. He mentioned that this number of channels is provided so as to ensure that customers do not feel like they are not receiving as much as content which they used to get with cable TV. But by the end of Diwali, subscribers will have to choose channel packages.
According to reports, in some areas some operators are dominating the STB supply and several people have complained about delayed installations of boxes. Some have even complained that they have been receiving pirated analog signals. Government has responded to this claim by saying that the operators who show pirated analog signals will soon be detected and held.