Friday, 21 December 2007

Will HITS be a Hit?

One after the other, what we are being bombarded by is – ‘Technology’. And, one after the other, the Government is encouraging these technologies. Latest hype in the broadcasting world is about Headend-in-the-Sky (HITS) - a technology of broadcasting numerous channels from a single satellite system after aggregating them on ground from different satellites. On 17th October, 2007 Telecom Regulatory Authority of India recommended the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to implement HITS in India and also make an increase in the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) limit for HITS from 49% to 74%. HITS would bring in digitalisation. Though, digitalization is advantageous to the subscribers in terms of quality, number of channels, more features etc., but the need of such technology by the masses at this moment is questionable. 

When Will IPTV Market Establish?

Years back, television delivery scenario was entirely different from what it is today. Cable TV entered in our country in the early nineties and also enjoyed monopoly for over a decade. But now its time for the emergence of various other TV delivery platforms to give competition to Cable TV. 
After Direct-to-Home (DTH), it’s Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) that is striving hard to gain momentum in the market. IPTV can also be termed as triple play, lets consumer have access the internet, phone and television via just one wire. “Interactivity and Time Shift Television” are the two unique features of IPTV that allow viewers to watch TV any time at their convenience. 

Friday, 14 December 2007

Generation Xt TV

The Innomedia Technologies a Bangalore based company has launched a new set top box “Duo CHOISpad” with super bandwidth at "Digital Life" Exhibition of Computer Society of India, held in Bangalore from 29th Nov to 1st Dec 2007. It is a plug & play device with auto configuration and Multi Interactive Remotes called CHOIser. It also functions as a personal video recorder, and a device that can store up to a terabyte of data and a communication hub comes at the cost of about Rs 4000. A unique "Ethernet Everywhere" network, Netway, was developed for providing upto 100 Mbit bandwidth to each CHOISpad. Netway, network is an example of a disruptive technology, designed completely inhouse, which is ahead of any other network in the world. Duo CHOISpad Dual Mic can also be used with mono-mixing and together as stereo mic .The Duo CHOISpad caters simultaneously to a High Definition TV (HDTV) and a Standard Definition TV (SDTV), at a price point which no home can resist. 

Thursday, 13 December 2007

NDTV imagine A Channel for 6 to 60

On, November 14, 2007 NDTV Imagine Ltd. announced the launch of its Hindi general entertainment channel. With an engrossing line-up of fresh and distinctive programming, the channel, also christened NDTV Imagine will go on air in January 2008 and is targeted at the entire television viewing audiences, from 6 to 60 across all demographics. The channel will offer programming across genres, ranging from light-hearted family soaps to period dramas and from high voltage music and dance entertainers to the most glamorous events in the entertainment business.
NDTV Imagine is spearheaded by Sameer Nair, a seasoned media professional with over 20 years of experience in the media and entertainment industry. The management team is further strengthened by experienced professionals from the media business, which include Shailja Kejriwal, EVP- Content; Harsh Rohatgi, EVP- Revenue Management and New Ventures; Manoj Vidwans, EVP- Marketing, Research and Communication; Gaurav Gandhi, EVP- Business Operations and Ancillary Revenues and Kuljeet Singh, EVP- Broadcast Services and Facilities. The multi-faceted film director Karan Johar is a creative consultant and brand ambassador to this initiative. 

Broadband Recommendations

Slow growth of broadband is a serious concern. In spite of good growth potential for broadband, the slow growth requires in depth analysis of all impediments and discussions on various options to boost broadband.
After doing an indepth study TRAI has submitted the broadband recommendations to the Ministry of Information Technology and Communication. A summary of these recommendation is given below:- 

Saturday, 1 December 2007

December 2007


Saturday, December 01, 2007 -- 53 foreign TV channels including BBC, CNN, Discovery and National Geographic asked to get mandatory clearance from the ministry of Home Affairs by 31 December.

Lagging The Target

Year end has come and the "Year of Broadband" has not proved to be so. The broadband penetration has only reached 2.7million from 2 million last year, an increase of 35 %. But we have a target of 20 million to be accomplished by 2010.1 feel it is our policies that are to be blamed. Unless it is a concerted effort on the part of our government to sincerely follow the recommendations of the regulator and also make such policies that may unleash all our resources, it will not be enough. Our land lines(ADSL) are not adequate for broadband .We are banking too much on wireless which is still far away as the spectrum issue has not been resolved yet. Mobile has not gone beyond 144kbps in providing broadband. This way TRAI's recommendations to the government will not have any meaning.
We are still failing to understand the potential of cable networks in carrying broadband. So far they have the highest bandwidth carrying capacity. We only have to harness this resource and find ways and means to consolidate it through proper guidelines and policies. 
IPTV is another non starter. Since last eighteen months our telcos are tying to create a hype to sell the product but it is still much short of consumer expectations .Only announcements do not create a market. Content and delivery, both are lacking in the implementation.
On the broadcasting front the TRAI order for fixing tariff in non-CAS areas from 1st December 2007 has met with its first hurdle as broadcasters have challenged it in TDSAT. None of the pay channel broadcasters have announced their a-la-carte rates as directed by TRAI. Even the Broadcast Bill which the I&B Minister had assured to be presented in the winter session has once again been deferred due to lack of response from the broadcasters Inspite of a slow progress in digitalization of cable networks, there is no end in the launching of new channels .Not only this, the channels are being launched in bunches (bouquets).There are already about 300 Channels allowed to down link in India. INX, BAG Television, TV18, UTV are some big names but there are many smaller ones waiting for registration. 
I wonder how will our analog cable systems carry it all. Sure, this is going to bring a hike in carriage fee but what about survival? 
We have introduced two new columns in this issue; Gadgets for Executives and programmes on the channels hope our viewers like it. Feedbacks are appreciated. 
With this we wish all readers a very happy and prosperous new year and hope many of us can fulfill their dreams and hopes in the coming year. 

—— Lt. Col. (Retd.) K K Sharma

Editor


Source: http://cablequest.org/articles/editorials/item/1821-lagging-the-target.html

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Software-Based Master Control & Playout Solution DREAM OR REALITY?

As IT and consumer technology make increasing advances into the broadcast production environment, an area which still remains largely hardware-dependent is the transmission suites themselves. The production and delivery of a moderately complex television channel may involve a dozen or more discrete hardware components linked together by an automation system. 
With the continued emergence of new platforms and distribution channels, the costs associated with this conventional approach are a considerable barrier to entry into the broadcast market for new players. Furthermore, the industry is seeing an increased demand from new and emerging markets for less complex solutions. 

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

All About Set-Top-Box

“Tremendous revenue opportunities exist in driving interactivity between the 60 million digital set-top boxes, 175 million personal computers and 210 million mobile phones in the U.S...” said Michael Rivkin, CEO, Develop-On-Box, parent company of Zodiac Gaming. (April, 2006)

Thursday, 1 November 2007

November 2007

Thursday, November 1, 2007 -- 3 TV journalists sustain injuries when a ruling JD(U) MLA Anant Singh and 4 of his associates hit them with stones, rifles, stick and butts.

Regulations in Full Stream

Oflate the Electronic Media, instead of giving news has itself become a news. 
Last month, the I&B Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi held a meeting of the stakeholders regarding the television rating system which he had earlier commented, was inadequate to provide information about the viewership of TV channels. He showed his surprise that a mere seven thousand people meters fixed in some unknown households are used to measure the viewership of more than 200 channels amongst 115 million TV households. Over and above, there is only one company that has a monopoly in this business and is literally controlling an ad market of Rs500 crores. Not only this, what surprised the minister most was that Doordarshan, that has the maximum reach in the country is hardly ever represented in this race for TRPs because rural, semiurban areas and many states like Orissa, Northeast and J&K were not even covered at all. The I&BMinistry is now carrying out a review of the TRP system with the help of other stake holders and we hope to see some good results. 

Sunday, 21 October 2007

DTH to Ensure Quality

The DTH guidelines and licensing conditions were issued by the Government of India in 2001. Doordarshan has been offering free-to-air DTH services to its customers for some time. Subsequently, two DTH operators offering pay DTH services have also rolled out their operations. However, it is only in the last one year that these two pay DTH operators could offer popular TV channels and content and thus gain acceptance among the consumers. Four more pay DTH operators are either in the process of rolling out their services, or in the process of getting DTH licenses. One of the reasons for the delay in rolling out DTH services was the difficulty faced by the broadcasters and the DTH operators in concluding their interconnection agreements on time, and the issue in two such cases had to be resolved by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), This not only affected the growth of the sector, it also hampered competition because DTH at present is the only effective alternative to cable TV. There are about 3.2 million subscribers of pay DTH services, as compared to nearly 70 million subscribers for cable TV. For DTH to provide effective competition, TRAI issued the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable Services) Interconnection (Fourth Amendment) Regulation, 2007 and Quality of Service Regulations. Both these regulations will come in effect from 1st December 2007. The salient features of the Interconnection Amendment Regulation are as follows:

TRAI MOOTS IPTV & MOBILE REGULATIONS

INTRODUCTION 
Convergence technologies are gaining momentum f to reach more and more people in the world. All these are gaining a global scale. Now the services impact not :gion but the whole country or even many countries. re are too many technologies proliferating in different Revision delivery is one such service which a few years restricted to terrestrial broadcasting and now has given Cable TV, DTH, IPTV and now Mobile TV. With the ig popularity of Television and lowering of cost of gy, it has become essential to frame regulations to he exploitation of the consumers by these technology s. After dealing with Cable TV and DTH, TRAI, the r has now fixed its gaze at IPTV and Mobile TV and msultation papers for a public debate. 

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Politicisation of the Broadcasting Bill

The very basis of our democracy's existence is Politics. But this mJL that was initially a method to have a favourable Government for the citizens, since long has been exploited in real sense. And today the situation has become so worse that 'Polities' is used in terms of Tactics' and not anything else. Tactics here mean the schemes that are played to let down others and ultimately upgrade own-self. The influence of Politics has been very far reaching and today we find it in every field of our life. Be it workplaces, colleges, societies etc.
It is the 'Broadcasting Bill1 that has always been a major target of the Politics of our country. But, Mind it... This attack has 'never been positive' or say 'always been negative'. Quote it this way or that way, the meaning remains the same but the impact worsens day by day. 

The BATTLE for C-band

Satellite professionals/operators have faced spectrum battles in the past, but with luge and hungry telecommunications firms lobbying to gain more access to C-band for then- next generation wireless services, satellite players may face their toughest spectrum fight yet. With a key International telecommunications Union (ITU) meeting set to begin later this year, satellite operators and their customers are in a race against time to put together compelling arguments to make sure C-band spectrum remains reserved for satellite services and is not lost to a powerful and well-financed competitor.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Season of Regulations

Regulation of content has been much in the news in the last month. Jovernment's intention of presenting the Broadcasting Services Bill in the Monsoon Session of the Parliament was scuttled down by the Media big-wigs, particularly the news broadcasters in the name of freedom of press. That besides, we cannot under estimate the impact of a bad news or a manipulated news on the gullible masses. They believe what they see.
Television media has much greater impact than the print media as the TV viewers encompass all rich and poor, literates and illiterates, children as well as the elderly. Particularly the lower middle classes and the poorer section of the society that still live with a community feeling are impacted in a big way. We have seen all this happening many times over the last few months. The 'Gurjjar1 agitation, Uma Khurana Case, Patna case of dragging a thief tied behind a police motorcycle are just a few examples. Every day we hear and read about public lynching. All these are caused by incitement created by the electronic media that tries to sensationalise a small event. People try to overdo things in front of the cameras. 

October 2007

Monady, October 1, 2007 -- Prasar Bharti dropped five channels from its DTH service, 'DD Direct Plus', for not paying the carriage fees. Aajtak, Headline today, TV9, Akashbangla and Star Utsav have been dropped after repeated notices.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Jai Hind Launched With Much Funfare

Jai Hind, a Malayalam TV Channel was launched by Congress president and UPA's Chairman Smt. Sonia Gandhi at Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi on August 17, 2007, also present on the occasion were distinguished guests some of which included Union Information and Broadcasting minister, Mr. Priya Ranjan Das Munsi, noted film director Priyadarshan, Cine Artist Jagathy Sreekumar and playback singer Meera Jasmin. 
It is joint venture between Jai Hind Communication and Bharat Broadcasting Network with The Congress party having a major stake in it. As per the spokesman of the Congress the party won't interfere in its programming in any way. 

MIPCOM 2007-Preview 'India Day' at Palais des Festivals, Cannes

The Mecca of audiovisual and digital content market, MIPCOM 2007, will turn the spotlight on India at the Palais des Festivals, Cannes, France. The five-day event that will be held from October 8-12 this year and will be flagged off with 'India Day'. FICCI is partnering with MIPCOM to give international exposure to the Indian entertainment industry with the support of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. 
MIPCOM 2007 will bring together audio-visual players from over 100 countries to help forge new business deals. The event aims to provide a unique opportunity to TV and film producers and distributors, broadcasters, digital media content providers and advertising brands, to trade in content across all platforms and share new practices that are redefining business models around the world. Business worth $10 billion per annum is expected to be generated for entertainment companies from MIPCOM. 

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Animation : An Unexplored Avenue

We used to wait eagerly for Sunday while in school the only reason being was an animation film featuring the evergreen animation characters Mickey and Donald. What excited us further was that another serial named Vikram and Betaal was also started within that same time frame. But that was more than decade a ago.The animation scenario in India has improved a lot but still we are way behind the international scenario. Cable Quest takes a look at this amazing medium and the way the things have shaped up. 

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Technological Innovation the Only Mantra

Dear Readers,
It is disheartening that Broadcast Bill 2007, did not figure in the list of 25 Bills slated for debate in this session of Parliament. Broadcaster have opposed the Bill, which provides for a broadcast regulator and seeks to impose severe cross media restrictions, as an ill thought out legislation that was open to gross abuse by the government. Infact the industry has asked for a 12-month moratorium to discuss it threadbare but I fail to understand if so many years were insufficient for discussion. The readers may not know that the action on a Broadcasting Services Bill started way back in 1995 when the Cable Television Act was enacted. 

September 2007


Sunday, September 2, 2007 -- The GSV F04 with the communication satellite INSAT 4CR on boad was successfully launched. INSAT 4CR consists of 12 Ku band transponders designed to provide DTH service.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

TV18, NDTV Bag Top Honours at Indian News TV Awards

Award shows provide a platform to the industry people to get their worth proved. Some receive many honours, some get few, while some fail to get any. But at the ceremony of the first Indian News Television Awards hosted by Indiantelevision.com on 18th July 07 at New Delhi, the scene was bit outlandish as the TV18 Group of News Channels made an incredible success by receiving as many as 16 awards. The NDTV Group was the second leading award winner that had in its pocket a total tally of 14 awards out of a total of 49. 
Dr. Prannoy Roy, a renowned name in the television industry and currently associated with NDTV, received a standing ovation and was presented the 'Lifetime Achievement Award' for his contribution to the medium. Another dignified personality who found new avenues and made huge success in the TV world namely Rajdeep Sardesai, received the 'Newsmaker of the Year Award' at the function. 

Monday, 13 August 2007

The Way To Go Ahead

Broadband technology has a great potential in
India but how to go ahead?
 ASSOCHAM held a conference in New Delhi to discuss Broadband issues in India and suggest solution for speedy penetration. The conference was organized with Frost and Sullivan as the knowledge partner. Development of a nation largely depends upon the proliferation of technologies and utilization by the people. Though the telecom penetration in India has been rapid but the Internet and Broadband penetration has been significantly low. However, now Internet & Broadband are being given top priority in India so that the society grows faster.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Use Cable Networks for Broadband

Broadband penetration has been a big worry with the government recently. Inspite of trying so hard, we are much short of our projected connectivity of 9 million by the end of 2007. We are only 2.2 million now but still we want to set a target of 20 million by 2011. Not a tall order if we have good intentions and right approach. Both these things become rare when there are vested interests and a corrupt system.
We had stal warts of the industry talking about the Broadband proliferat last month in a high level seminar organised by ASSOCHAM, a high profile industry association. This issue carries the thoughts of those people and provides an insight into what can be done to meet our targets. 

August 2007

Friday, August 3, 2007 -- Goldstone Technologies Limited, a leading IPTV provider signed a five year arrangement with Shemaroo Entertainment, for making Shemaroo's video content a part of their IPTV- On Demand Service

Friday, 13 July 2007

Broadcast Technology Market Estimated at $11 Billion

The global broadcast technology market is worth $11 billion and is set to grow at 11 per cent with the pace being set in Europe, Middle East and Africa. This fact was highlighted in the Broadcast Asia 2007 Asia’s biggest industry event held in Singapore from 19 Jun-22 Jun 2007. The Event included an Exhibition and Conference and was concurrently held with CommunicAsia 2007, EnterpriseIT and InteractiveDME organised by the Singapore Exhibition Services.
This year during the exhibition, 2400 exhibiting companies from 65 countries showcasing convergent technologies that boundaries of telecommunications, network, enterprise solutions and entertainment sectors. Around 67000 people from surrounding areas and overseas gained first-hand experience of living a Digital Lifestyle.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Mobile TV on the Swing

The whole world is talking about the new media these days. India is not very far behind. Both IPTV and Mobile TV have brought us on the world map and India's growth statistics have started appearing in the International surveys. Even at the recently concluded Broadcast Asia and CommunicaAsia 2007at Singapore, most talked about and demonstrated technologies were of IPTV and Mobile TV. Digital markets for digital communications have become passe. It is digital entertainment occupying the front rows now.
Mobile TV entered the arena much after IPTV but has gone far ahead because of its easy reach to the customers. Entertainment any time and anywhere has made mobile TV more popular. It matches so well with the life style of the modern man and woman. It satisfied their need for entertainment, communications, data transfers and voice conversation all through the same gadget any time of the day using that small little wonder we call mobile phone. Infact if we have a chance of achieving real convergence, it is through this little instrument. The best part is that this will always compliment the existing technologies of Cable Television and DTH and not compete with them. After all no one will watch television on that 3 inch screen for hours but it can prompt them to watch more of the big screen. 

July 2007

Monday, July 2, 2007 -- Iran put into operation a 24 hour English language satellite TV Channel Called ‘Press TV’.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Content Regulations Do We Need It? Do We Need It?

A very familiar term for all of us! Every second day you may come across this phrase. It will not sound unusual, if you hear that the government wants to regulate the Television content. Government has been trying to put a check on the television programming since a long time. Starting off with just one or two channels, entry of foreign channels in India since 1991-92 gradually raised the number and today we have access to around 400 channels. A strong need for content regulation was there as the TV content had become absolutely open without any restrictions. All types of obscenity, nudity and violence could be viewed that was strongly affecting the children and other age groups in a negative sense. But the government was helpless in putting a restriction on the channels because till the year 2005, there were no regulations for TV. The first came in 1995 in the form of Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995 but it was inadequate to control the content being shown on Cable TV. The Cable TV Act talked about a programming and advertising code which was merely a list of kind of programmes not permitted on Doordarshan. Infact, the responsibility of implementing these codes was left to the cable operators who had no judgmental powers to know whether a programme was adhering to these codes or not. The government had no say in restricting the transmission of channels because all the broadcasters beamed channels from foreign soils. The uplinking and downlinking regulations did not exist in the country which made the situation even tougher. 

Under Declaration Sigue Landmark Judgment by TDSAT

The feud between Multi System Operators and the Broadcasters is nothing new. Every next day we may listen about it. But this time TDSAT's ruling for a dispute between Zee Turner and Bhaskar Cable Network of Jabalpur is being largely looked upon as a landmark judgment. Reason being that for the first time a decision has been taken by TDSAT in respect of declaration of connectivity by an MSO/Cable operator in non-CAS area. 
TDSAT on 4th May 07 directed Bhaskar Cable to correct its declared subscriber base to Zee Turner and increase it by 700% during the period of the agreement between them based on the MSOs declaration with another broadcaster. TDSAT's ruling at this point of time is a sign of big relief that will leave a long term impact on the industry till CAS is implemented all over the country. 

Broadcast Asia A Show Par Excellence

Asia's largest Infocomm and Media event, 'Broadcast Asia' has been scheduled from 19-22 June 07 where it invites all visionaries, Government leaders, policy regulators and professionals. The event is going to take place in Singapore, members of which will share insights and experience 'Digital Convergence in Reality'. The New Media Conference will examine the impact of user-generated content and its influence on traditional broadcasters and the media sector. 
This year imbX brings in new forums and conferences on emerging Convergent issues. One of them IPTV forum will feature insights from operators, technology and content providers on the deployment and marketing of IPTV services in Asia. Mobile TV forum that is part of the event will give a spark to the business of Mobile TV that is still in need of a boost. This forum will showcase case studies and business models from successful mobile trials from different parts of the world. Standardization and content delivery issues also will be part of the discussions. 

DIGITALISATION OF CABLE TV INDUSTRY

Conax Conditional Access gives the operators a tool in a secure manner to control who is the recipient of the content in the cable.

Friday, 1 June 2007

Content Security & Protection

CAS has hardly entered the Indian Cable TV and DTH industry and we are already talking about piracy and Hacking. There is no doubt; the subject is of great importance to everyone including the stakeholders as well as the governments. An important fact is that inspite of advancements in technology, security breaches, hacking of the CAS codes and piracy have been the biggest concerns even in the most advanced markets. Hackers are always ahead of technology. 

June 2007

Friday, Jun 1, 2007 -- Senior Advocate R.K. Anand said he had served a legal notice seeking Rs.50 crore as damages from NDTV, accusing the news channel of defaming him by telecasting a sting operation relating to the sensational BMW case.

Monday, 21 May 2007

Supreme Court Ruling MSO Can't be Exclusive Agent

The Supreme Court gave a significant ruling that no broadcaster can appoint a Multi System Operator (MSO) as its exclusive agent for distribution of its channels to other MSOs. This verdict came on 3rd April 07 soon after Star India Pvt. Ltd.'s civil appeal to the Apex Court challenging Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal's (TDSAT) decision given on 24.8.2005 ordering Star India to supply signals of its bouquet of channels by entering into an agreement with Sea TV Network Ltd, an MSO in Agra (UP). 

Coming Next: Star Cricket A 24x7 Cricket Channel from the House of ESPN Star Sports

India's early and humiliating exit from the World Cup 07 does not mean Cricket fever's end. Cricket still remains to be the favourite sport of the Indians. Keeping this in mind sports broadcaster ESPN Star Sports is launching 'Star Cricket', a dedicated cricket channel especially for audiences in the Indian subcontinent. ESPN bagged the $1.1 billion telecast rights for International Cricket Council (ICC) including the next two World Cups last December and announced the launch of the channel on 24th April 07. These rights that commence from September 2007 will expire in the year 2015. 
Slated for a June 07 launch, 'Star Cricket' will be the 15th network launched by ESPN Star Sports in the Asia-Pacific region and the third channel for India. ESPN plans to make the channel available to the largest extent. To ensure that the Direct-To-Home (DTH) customers are not deprived of the new entrant, the company is also in talks with DTH companies such as Tata Sky and Dish TV for putting Star Cricket on DTH platform. 

CAS Roll Out-IX CAS Phase II Gets Ready

Success of the first phase of implementation of mandatory Conditional Access System (CAS) readies us for the second phase. CAS is set to knock the doors of the left out cable TV viewers of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata and the satellite towns of these metros who will soon require a Set-Top-Box (STB) to watch their daily dose of entertainment. The satellite towns include New Bombay and Thane for Mumbai and Ghaziabad, Faridabad and Gurgaon for Delhi. 

Direct to Home or Direct to Court ?

Television, an inseparable part of our lives has undergone through a variety of phases beginning with Doordarshan (DD) channels. Later, technological advancement took us towards Cable Television that offered us innumerable channels in comparison to DD's limited channels. And finally Direct To Home Service is trying to establish its prominence in the market. 
DTH service is provided to the people by transmitting channels directly via satellite. Presently, DTH players are trying to make transmission of channels feasible through Ku Band transponders. This is because such transponders enable digitally compressed channels to be beamed direct to the consumers. Digital transmission increases picture and sound quality of the programmes and allow many value added services. This is another reason that persuades DTH operators to transmit channels via Ku band transponders. At present DTH players charge a lumpsum amount for their entire package of channels that forces the consumers to have all those channels to which they do not heed. However, DTH has value added services like video on demand, consumer interaction etc to complement its drawback of not allowing its customers to opt channels. 

MSOs Licking Their Wounds Entire FTA Fee to LCOs

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in a landmark ruling said that the Rs77 paid by subscribers for watching FTA channels would remain entirely with the Local Cable Operators (LCOs). This decision was a consequence of the comments of various stakeholders that TRAI had sought in its consultation paper on review of Revenue Sharing Formula for service providers in CAS notified areas. This paper asked for comments in relation to deciding the share of Multi System Operators (MSOs) and LCOs out of the basic service tier fee and out of the 55% of the subscription charges for pay channel distribution. 

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Judicial Activism

Like in our day to day life, in the industry too, we are depending more and more on the judiciary to regulate the industry. Although, regulations when made have always considered the stake holders to be honest and law abiding citizens, in reality competition, greed, politics and vested interests lead us to do all wrong things to make pr ofits in the shortest of time. In doing so, we give no consideration to others and are willing to either circumvent or flout the laws . The result is ever increasing court cases. 
After TDSAT was involved with the broadcasting industry, they have been keeping busy with hundreds of cases, big as well as small filed by all types of stake holders from small cable operators to large broadcast companies. The bright side is that our courts have given some landmark judgments that would change the nature of the industry in a better way. 

May 2007

Tuesday, May 1, 2007 -- BBC launched two new channels ‘BBC Entertainment’ and ‘Cbeebies’

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Cost Benefits of a CAS Software

Traditional Conditional Access (CA) systems are deployed using a smart card or embedded chip in the set-top box. Latens a CAS Software vender have set out to eliminate or substantially reduce the costs of deploying and managing CA systems with a new generation of applications that do not require a smart card or embedded chip, but instead use a secure software module (SSM) which can be downloaded over the network. This article outlines the cost issues that may not come to light until the operator has experience of running a smart card based CA system.

Cost Benefits of a CAS Software

Traditional Conditional Access (CA) systems are deployed using a smart card or embedded chip in the set-top box. Latens a CAS Software vender have set out to eliminate or substantially reduce the costs of deploying and managing CA systems with a new generation of applications that do not require a smart card or embedded chip, but instead use a secure software module (SSM) which can be downloaded over the network. This article outlines the cost issues that may not come to light until the operator has experience of running a smart card based CA system.

INSAT-4B Launched Successfully Ray of Hope for DTH Players

ISRO's latest satellite, INSAT-4B was successfully launched in the geosynchronous transfer orbit from French Guyana on 12th March, '07 by the European Ariane-5 ECA launch vehicle of Arianespace. The lift-off was scheduled for the early hours of 11th March but due to a technical problem, the launch was postponed just seven minutes before the blast-off. 

TRAI Releases Consultation Paper DTH Service Under Scanner

In India, the Direct-to-Home pay channel service started a little over three years ago with just one service provider Prasar Bharti's DD Direct. At present, apart from Doordarshan which provides free to air channels, there are two other private DTH service providers for free-to-air and pay channels and two more have obtained license to commence operation. In view of expanding the reach of direct-to-home (DTH) services after the introduction of CAS in the notified areas of metropolitan cities, TRAI is considering commercial interoperability of set-top boxes (STBs) and the introduction of a consumer redressal system similar to the one followed by the telecom sector. Three major issues are related interconnection, quality of service standards and the much important commercial interoperability of STBs across different service providers. 

15th Convergence India A Pioneering Event

The speed at which new technologies are emerging, emphasizes the need for international interaction at all levels and 15th CONVERGENCE INDIA certainly provided a forum for such communication. Convergence focuses on the blend of information, communication and technology. This event held at Pragati Maidan, India (20-22 March 2007) provided a platform for the stakeholders in business to have closer and purposive interaction and the visitors got access to a wide spectrum of technological innovations. India is pacing to be a global player. Over two years it has seen sustained growth of more than nine percent. Indian companies are buying foreign ones, there are 202.74 million telephone subscribers and 162.53 million mobile customers (until February 2007) and 33 billion dollars have been generated from IT and IteS exports. All these factors destine year 2007 towards a new dawn. And Convergence India that focused on five broad segments - telecom, mobility, broadcast, cable and satellite, IT and information security; helped to quicken this process by bringing technologists, decision makers, telecom visionaries and equipment makers on the same platform. 

Friday, 13 April 2007

Broadcasting Bill to Rain in the Monsoon Session

Industry's Call for Self Regulation…Accepted!
The first formal content code for television channels has been drawn by the government. A part of the content code is likely to be embedded in the proposed Broadcasting Services Regulation Bill. The code will provide an allotted time band for TV viewing which says that only those films and programmes certified as 'U' will be allowed to be telecast during the day and prime time hours. Films with 'A' and 'U/A' censor certification and other progrmames for adult viewing will be allowed telecast from 11pm to 5am. 

Thursday, 12 April 2007

All Calm on The Broadcasting Front

All the noise about CAS has died down now. There are no complaints from the subscribers. Infact complaints have increased from the DTH subscribers where the signals get switched off without notice and channels go missing. World cup fever is also down. So there is all calm on the broadcasting front. 
In 2003 when CAS was to be implemented I predicted not more than 25% subscribers would go for the set-top-boxes in the first three months. Also 25% would not opt for pay channels at all. That has come true now in the CAS zones. True viewership of the channels is coming to surface. Their allegations of underdeclaration by cable operators are turning false. Now everyone knows that they were overestimating their viewerships. Even the advertisers and the ad-agencies have understood this fact and are demanding for the ad rates to be brought down. 

Sunday, 1 April 2007

All Calm on the Broadcasting Front

All the noise about CAS has died down now. There are no complaints from the subscribers. Infact complaints have increased from the DTH subscribers where the signals get switched off without notice and channels go missing. World cup fever is also down. So there is all calm on the broadcasting front. 

April 2007

Sunday, April 1, 2007 -- Prannoy Roy-controlled television broadcaster NDTV Group have concluded an overseas placement of about $100 million, aimed at its new entertainment channel, NDTV Imagine.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

CAS Roll Out – VII Shall We Have Voluntary CAS?

As the first phase of CAS implementation will be soon bid adieu, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India as well as the Information and Broadcast Ministry are stepping towards a new phase of voluntary implementation of the technology in new areas. The scope of voluntary CAS was discussed at the 1st Feb. meeting called by TRAI. A fast extension of CAS to other parts of the country is also being worked upon. Issues relating to fiscal price rationalization, encouragement of domestic manufacturing, need for price control, ensuring affordability (by allowing Indian manufacturers in STB production), choice for voluntary implementation of CAS are being discussed. TRAI formed a sub-group in this regard on 5th Feb.07. The group is expected to consider the extension of CAS to other parts of the country. 

IPTV Vs Cable TV

PTV attempts to swap Cable TV. Four months after launch of IPTV service MTNL have just garnered 1500 subscribers. Bharti Airtel plans to start its IPTV service next month, while Reliance Communication expects to ready their IPTV service in the second half of the year. Frost & Sullivan, a research company predicts India will have 4 lakh IPTV customers by 2010. 
MTNL is now increasing their service from 22 channels to 72 in Delhi. In Mumbai they are already running 100 channels. The major constraint in increasing the IPTV services is the availability of content . The broadcasters are reluctant to provide their content to the telcos. Their major concern being that the subscribers will record and redistribute their content. 

Shanghai to Organize 2nd Mobile TV and IPTV World Congreso

China is emerging as the largest market for Mobile TV and IPTV in the world.It  is expected that IPTV users in China will reach 8 million in 2008 and more than 10 million in 2009. The fast growing IPTV market will provide the industry with large market opportunities. IPTV will provide users with entertainment consumption services in addition to characteristics, and its possibilities are very significant. However, the objective of victory of everyone is gaining a lot of attention in all parts. At present, every criteria for Mobile TV and MPTV, is in the process of testing and promoting. CMMB, DVB-H, S-DMB, T-DMB, DMB-TH, T-MMB, Media-Flow and MBMS, all are being tested in different areas of the world or cities in the same country. Atleast one thing is assured that MPTV, an integrated revolution of new media, will bring about tremendous benefits and business opportunities and these will make all new media chain exciting and aspiring. The IPTV & Mobile TV World Congress is organized by China Radio &TV and Telecom operators. The main units include China Mobile Communication Association & China Radio & TV Association etc. 

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Spreading the Net Further

TRAI takes a stock of the Internet services in India and explores the ways to speed-up the penetration keeping with International trends. 

Thursday, 1 March 2007

No Bouquets for the FM

Broadcasting Industry had a number of hopes from the Budget 2007 but it appears the Finance Minister had many more larger problems in his hand to be dealt with rather than the Industry. Nothing much has been done to improve the existing situation. On the personal front, not much damage has been done that could dampen the mood. Major resentment is for the indigenous manufacturers where the custom duty sops given in 2004 to ease implementation of CAS has been withdrawn this year. This means local manufactured products will be costlier. I feel this aspect could have been considered by the FM keeping in mind the larger interest of 114 million TV owners whom the government wants to push towards digitalisation by 2015. 

March 2007

Thursday, March 1, 2007 -- The Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharti) Bill, 2007 was introduced in the Budget session by the Parliamentary Affairs Minister PR Dasmunsi to be considered and passed.

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

CAS ROLL OUT VI A New Era Begins

Conditional Access System, (CAS) a new ‘pay’ channel delivery system being implemented by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), which gives TV viewers a choice to pay only for the channels they want to watch, commenced after the Delhi HC refused to grant an extension to its rollout. After many hiccups CAS came into force in notified areas of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata at the stroke of midnight on 31st December, 06. Consumers had for long campaigned for the freedom to choose the channels they would like to watch, rather than be forced to accept the package offered by cable operators who often clubbed popular channels with not so popular ones. TRAI regulation has at last made TV viewing a personal affair. CAS is government's solution to all the impediments in quality TV viewing and entertainment. It is government's special design, an answer to the broadcasters charging high subscriptions from the viewers but still not being able to provide quality TV viewing experience. CAS will organize the broadcasting industry right from the grassroots and avoid piracy and enable the government to keep an eye on what you see through your set top box. 

Cas to Speed up Digital Migratior

Successful implementation of CAS has given TRAI, The regulator a magic wand to spread digitalisation in rest of the country. It has already started working on it with zeal
Digitalization of Cable TV and introduction of voluntary CAS are two distinct and independent processes. However, the two processes are closely linked together in the sense that voluntary Conditional Access Systems are likely to be digital systems due to certain inherent advantages of digital systems. At the same time, voluntary CAS could be the driver for digitalization of cable TV in the country. The CAS for cable TV has been rolled out in parts of the three metros of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata in digital mode only. CAS has already been implemented in Chennai. 

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Digital Migration in India

Promoting Freedom of Choice on Digital Cable Networks through Secure Reception Techniques The success of any broadcasting (e.g. digital TV) operation depends on two fundamentals: the availability of attractive content and the ability to manage that content. 

Sterlite Fiber Café Concept

The Sterlite Fiber Café is a unique touch and feel experience center where the concept of 'Optical Fiber-to-the-desk' (FTTD). This was demonstrated for the first time in India at India Telecom 2006. 
The Sterlite Fiber Café allows visitors to experience true broadband via an Optical Fiber based infrastructure through exciting and interactive, real-time high bandwidth intensive applications for Business and Entertainment. These applications include Movies-on-Demand, Music-on-Demand, Online Gaming, IPTV, P2P, VoIP, Video Conferencing, Surveillance and other applications from a single portal. 

Thursday, 1 February 2007

CAS Users In a New beginning

CAS is finally in and the government is already thinking of implementing it all over the metros soon and by the year end, it may announce CAS implementation in all major cities. I feel as far as government is concerned, it is thrilled to see the amount of revenue it is going to earn from taxes from such a large number of subscribers. Even the state governments have realized how much they were losing from the real subscriber count not being exposed in the non-CAS areas. In Delhi alone, where only 87000 households were paying the entertainment tax from South Delhi earlier, now the figures have already gone more than double of this, about 1.75 lakh set-top boxes have been installed. 

CAS Users In a New beginning

CAS is finally in and the government is already thinking of implementing it all over the metros soon and by the year end, it may announce CAS implementation in all major cities. I feel as far as government is concerned, it is thrilled to see the amount of revenue it is going to earn from taxes from such a large number of subscribers. Even the state governments have realized how much they were losing from the real subscriber count not being exposed in the non-CAS areas. In Delhi alone, where only 87000 households were paying the entertainment tax from South Delhi earlier, now the figures have already gone more than double of this, about 1.75 lakh set-top boxes have been installed. 

February 2007

Thursday, February 1, 2007 -- Union Government brought the Sports Broadcast Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharti) Ordinance, 2007 that makes it necessary for private broadcasters to share the live feed of sporting events of national importance with Prasar Bharti.

Sunday, 21 January 2007

CAS ROLL Out-V The D-Days Arrives

The year ends with a new beginning for cable TV viewers as CAS finally rolls out in Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. All news and articles appearing in a section of the print media about the problems in the implementation of CAS and that DTH being considered as a replacement has been put to rest. The viewers can now decide what to watch on their TV and also control their cable bills. 
The Ministry for Information and Broadcasting issued advertisements in the three metros to end all speculations about the failure in implementing CAS by the year end. The advertisements listed the notified areas in Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi to be covered by CAS in the first phase of the implementation. It clearly stated that the viewers of cable TV in the mentioned areas will not be able to view pay channels without a Set Top Box (STB) from 31.12.2006. 

C A S Gets Power Hungry

To achieve an efficient broadband delivery network and maintain Quality of Services (QoS) standards in the CAS areas, powering systems become much more important.
Change is the only constant” is an oft-used but appropriate theme for the broadband industry. Changes and developments seem to occur almost daily, which now brought CAS enabled digital signal to our home . This will affect everything from the business structure of the industry to the technology required to deliver new and enhanced communication services. Expanded video offerings such as Pay-Per-View (PPV) and video-on-demand (VoD), as well as internet access and telephony are regular topics of discussion. And while few would disagree that it’s an exciting time to be involved in the industry, the volume and extent of change has created both opportunity and challenge. 

FTTH Explained: Delivering EfficientCustomer Bandwidth and Enhanced Services

Telecommunication carriers worldwide have come to the realization that their aging copper access infrastructure is being taxed as residential and business customers utilize ever-increasing, symmetrical bandwidth-intensive applications. The telecommunications landscape has matured to a point that carriers seek to offer network convergence and enable the revolution of consumer media device interaction. These demands are being met by the deeper penetration of optical fiber in access networks and increasing deployment of fiber-to-the-home (FTTH). As a result, FTTH is the fastest-growing global broadband technology, with significant deployments in Asia, Europe, and North America. 

CAS ROLL Out-V The D-Days Arrives

The year ends with a new beginning for cable TV viewers as CAS finally rolls out in Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. All news and articles appearing in a section of the print media about the problems in the implementation of CAS and that DTH being considered as a replacement has been put to rest. The viewers can now decide what to watch on their TV and also control their cable bills. 
The Ministry for Information and Broadcasting issued advertisements in the three metros to end all speculations about the failure in implementing CAS by the year end. The advertisements listed the notified areas in Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi to be covered by CAS in the first phase of the implementation. It clearly stated that the viewers of cable TV in the mentioned areas will not be able to view pay channels without a Set Top Box (STB) from 31.12.2006. 

CAS ROLL Out-V The D-Days Arrives

The year ends with a new beginning for cable TV viewers as CAS finally rolls out in Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. All news and articles appearing in a section of the print media about the problems in the implementation of CAS and that DTH being considered as a replacement has been put to rest. The viewers can now decide what to watch on their TV and also control their cable bills. 
The Ministry for Information and Broadcasting issued advertisements in the three metros to end all speculations about the failure in implementing CAS by the year end. The advertisements listed the notified areas in Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi to be covered by CAS in the first phase of the implementation. It clearly stated that the viewers of cable TV in the mentioned areas will not be able to view pay channels without a Set Top Box (STB) from 31.12.2006.