Digital deadline is 31 October: All you wanted to know about Set Top Box

Come November 1 and you won’t be able to watch television in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai, like you used to, especially if you have cable TV.

Bindisha Sarang October 22, 2012 17:19:45 IST
Digital deadline is 31 October: All you wanted to know about Set Top Box

Come November 1 and you won’t be able to watch television in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai, like you used to, especially if you have cable TV.

“The government has made amendments in the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, which makes a Set Top Box (STB) compulsory for viewing your television in the country,”  Currently most cable operators provide the TV signals in an analogue form, said  Roop Sharma, President, Cable Operators Federation of India (COFI).

When you install an STB, the box will convert the analogue signal into a digital signal and offer you better picture and sound quality. Both cables as well as satellite dishes can be connected to a STB.

If you don’t install the STB you simply won’t be able to watch the idiot box since the TV channels will be blocked out. If you still haven’t installed an STB, you must have already seen some channels blacked out, and it’s just a matter of time before all channels do.

Digital deadline is 31 October All you wanted to know about Set Top Box

Reuters

Options:

Like it or not, you will have to install an STB to watch TV, going forward. But you have two choices to choose from. You could do this via your local cable operator (digital cable) or choose the Direct-To-Home (DTH) option. For instance, Tata Sky, Dish TV, Airtel Digital, and Reliance D2H are companies that offer you DTH service.

Keep in mind, while the DTH would need you to install a separate dish antenna as well, it gives you the flexibility to take your DTH connection to a different location just in case you move elsewhere.

A digital cable restricts you this privilege, which means when you relocate, you have no option but to change your operator. If you have more than one TV, each TV will need a separate STB.

Pricing:

Most local cable operators would give you an STB for around Rs 799, while the DTH–STB will cost you Rs 1600 plus depending upon the kind of STB you choose and the company. Roop Sharma also said, “The pricing of the Set Top Box is Rs 799. But local operators are also getting it at a higher price of 1000 to 1200. So, the local cable guy has no option but to give you a higher rate.”

Another Multiple System Operator (simply put, a big cable service provider who operates across cities) an employee said, “You could choose between types of set top boxes as well, standard definition and high definition, and those with HD personal recorder, of course HD ones will cost more and could go as high as Rs 4000.” Even DTH -STB comes in HD formats. Some cable operators even allow you to lease an STB, for instance, indigital offers STB at a rental of Rs 22 per month with refundable deposit of Rs 750, provided certain conditions are agreed upon.

Subscriptions:

Cable operators will give you 100 free-to-air channels for Rs 100. If you want to have more channels you will have to bear a cost and that will be in the range of Rs 250- Rs 300 per month depending upon the channels you choose. DTH too has various packages to choose from, and could be in the range of Rs 150 to R s350 a month. You could get a discount if you choose an annual subscription model over monthly subscription. If you are not interested in packages, you can also choose from various a-la-carte channels for both digital cable as well as DTH. Not to mention that you will have to bear a cost for individual channel.

There is a good possibility that your local operator gives you a low quality China made STB, and you can’t do much about it, unless you switch to DTH. But it is common knowledge that DTH do give disrupted signal during to bad weather, typically rain in our regions. To choose digital cable or DTH, is your call. But you will have to buy the STB, like it or not.

Updated Date:

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