As per reports, an estimated 3.5 lakh people remain to be covered

Even as the deadline for digitization at four metros ended on Wednesday, an estimated 10-15 per cent of homes in these metros are yet to be shifted to the new system.

In a fresh development, however, the Madras High Court, on Wednesday, extended the deadline for digitization in Chennai till November 5.

Direct-to-Home (DTH) and Multi-System Operator (MSO) companies providing digital signals said much of digitization happened in the last 15 days, and the balance would be covered within a week. Sources said they had been flooded with inquiries in the last few days.

While near complete digitization has taken place in New Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai have lagged behind.

“The last two weeks have been very good. Lot of people migrated during this period. In Delhi, we have seen ten-fold jump in subscribers as against our average sale. In Mumbai, the growth was five-to-six times. This is the tip of the iceberg. In Chennai and Kolkata, we have seen a small increase. But now we are anticipating huge demand from those who have stayed way,” said Salil Kapoor, Chief Operating Officer, Dish TV. He said consumers normally delayed their buying decision till the last moment or until they were forced to. “We are augmenting man power from neighbouring States and cities to cater to the demand,” Mr. Kapoor said.

“The momentum was much faster this time. As compared to the last deadline of June 30, the awareness was much more. Today, DTH and set-top boxes are in huge demand. As per reports, an estimated 3.5 lakh people remain to be covered, and this conversion will happen in days,” said Shashi Arora, Chief Executive Officer, Digital TV Services, Airtel.

He said the company’s offer for a free set-top box had been received well.

“This is festive season, and we expect the uptrend to continue for the next 15 days. We have sufficient stock to meet the demand. As the digitization deadline for other big cities ends in March, 2013, we also expect more business from there as well,” Mr. Arora added.

According to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, there has been a huge surge in the installation of set-top boxes (STBs) in the metros, especially in Delhi, in the last two days.

More In: Industry | Business