The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B ministry) recently assessed the progress made in the digitisation process across the four metros – Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, and Kolkata. The ministry, in its assessment, found that the metros put together have achieved 81 percent of cable TV digitisation. This number goes up to 87 percent considering the progress made by Direct To Home (DTH) services. An official statement goes reveals that as per data shared by DTH operators, 27 lakh boxes have been installed across the four metros so far. 

Television owners across the four metros have been audience to the recent aggressive publicity campaign in the electronic and print media undertaken by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The ministry has been taking steps to bring about awareness pertaining to embracing the digital medium. Everything from print advertisements in local newspapers, SMS messages, to spots on all TV and radio channels have been initiated by the ministry to inform people about the urgency to get set-top boxes (STBs) and the benefits of digitisation.  

No more deadline extensions

The ministry recently assessed the digitisation progress (Image Credit: Getty Images)

Stakeholders too have “stepped up their efforts”, as per the assessment, to ensure that the deadline of October 31 to complete the first wave of digitisation is met. As per the data provided by multi system operators (MSOs), currently about 45,000 STBs are being installed per day in the four metro cities.  

An analysis of data and the progress review shows that Mumbai has already achieved nearly 100 percent digitisation. Kolkata has achieved 78 percent digitisation in cable alone, with DTH the percentage being 81 percent. In Delhi, the digitisation percentage of cable TV is 74 percent, and with DTH it has gone up to 81 percent. Chennai is showing 60 percent cable digitisation, and with DTH it comes to 85 percent.

Customers with questions pertaining to the process, and other specifics can now use the toll-free number that the I&B ministry has set up. The ministry expects the move to help facilitate a smooth transition for customers to the digital platform, before the scheduled deadline — October 31, 2012.  

On October 15, the I&B ministry set up its control room. Now those with queries pertaining to the process can use the toll-free number 1-800-180-4343. The service is functional on all days, including holidays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. With the setting up of a control room, the ministry hopes to “address and clarify” issues relating to buying set top boxes (STBs), different schemes available at the time of the purchase of STBs, package rates offered by MSOs, among other things.

In the latter half of September this year, users were greeted with two-minute blackout on television, as broadcasters made attempts to convince viewers to make the switch to digital signal before the pre-set deadline. 

The 30-second advertisement that played across channels, will essentially remind viewers across the four metros to install a set-top box before the deadline, or just forego the idea of viewing television. The report confirms further that the advertisement will end with a brief warning in English, “Go digital or go blank”, and in Hindi, “Set top box lagayein ya TV bhool jayein”.

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