Cable TV goes blank
Cable TV in the Valley would go off air from Monday as deadline set by the Union Ministry of Information to replace cable TV set up with digital set top boxes ended today.
Most subscribers whom spoke said that they were unaware of the diktat. They blamed cable operators for not informing them on time. “They (operators) should have told us before switching over to digital mode of the cable,” subscribers said.
“We don’t know whether we have to purchase set top boxes from cable operator or telecom operators like Airtel, Videocon and other dealers,” they added.
Now the subscribers would have to pay per connection. Earlier single household used to have multiple TV connections but they used to pay monthly fee for the single connection. If any household has two TVs, they now have to purchase two set top boxes and pay fee for both the boxes.
The hoteliers in the Valley are also aghast with the decision. “Hotels have TV sets in every room and it is not possible for a hotel owner to pay fee for every connection and even during the period when there are no tourists,” said an hotelier.
Cable operators said that they had conveyed to the customers about the government’s decision. “Viewers would have to purchase set top boxes from cable operators. But every TV in the house must have a separate set top box for viewing satellite channels,” said a cable operator.
However, this move has given impetus to the digital service providers in JK who are trying their best to woo customers by offering lucrative packages.
The digital cable service providers such as Bharti Airtel, Tata Sky, and Videocon have adopted different marketing strategies to cater to the requirements of the customers.
“These measures would bring transparency in the system that would benefit all stakeholders, including consumers and cable operators. It would offer wider selection of channels and video-on-demand etc, while it would help TV channels to raise their advertisement and subscription revenue,” said an executive of a telecom company adding that earlier operators used to hide the actual number of subscribers.
As per the Digitization bill passed by the government, in the first phase key metros – Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai were digitized by October 31, 2012.
The government had set March 31, 2013 as a deadline for 38 places, including maximum areas of Jammu and Kashmir, for the digitization.
According to estimates by end – 2013, half the world’s televisions across 636 million households would receive digital TV signals.