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Chennai Exclusive News

Cable TV digitization: Chennai to go digital soon as Madras HC refuses extension of deadline

Chennai, Dec 4 (): With the Madras High Court refusing further extension of digitization deadline in Chennai, cable TV in the city is all set to go digital soon.

Chennai will be the third metro in the country to go digital after New Delhi and Mumbai.

Under Information and Broadcasting Ministry’s digital addressable system (DAS), all television households are compulsorily required to have digital set-top boxes that decode the broadcast signals. This can be done either with a set-top box for cable connections or with direct-to-home dish equipment.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on November 20 had updated a list of MSOs with DAS licences out of which eight had licences to operate in Chennai Metropolitan Area.

Senior Central government counsel Haja Mohideen Gisthi stated that with the non-extension of digitization deadline in Chennai, the Centre would action the digitization process in Chennai at the earliest. This comes after a series of deadline extensions.

Earlier, TN-government owned Arasu Cable TV Corporation filed a counter-affidavit seeking extension of the deadline up to March 31, 2013 due to short supply of set-top boxes (STB). It also observed that the additional time was required not only for the Arasu Cable TV Corporation but also for the multi-system operators (MSO).

SPK Goguldoss, President, Tamil Nadu Cable TV Service Providers Association, stated that the situation in Chennai remains the same as it was on July 1 and the main reason behind this is the unwillingness of MSOs to install the STBs. He further added that the Local Cable Operators (LCO) are not clear about whom to purchase the STBs from.

Sumangali Cable Vision, the cable division of Sun Network, which has been carrying out the STB installation process, does not have sufficient number of these boxes. Though LCOs are waiting for the Tamil Nadu government owned Arasu Cable TV Corporation to get on to the work, it has not yet received the license in this regard.

Trade experts have an apprehension that switch over of analogue signals to DAS will affect television viewership, resulting in loss of ad revenues.