With the Madras High Court on Thursday paving the way for the rollout of digital addressable system (DAS) in Chennai, the city will be the third in country to join the digitisation scheme of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

According to industry sources, New Delhi and Mumbai had proactively met the November 1 deadline to switchover completely from analog to digital signals whereas Chennai and Kolkata were lagging behind.

“Chennai was a bit slow in the switchover whereas Kolkata had completely not started,” Sashi Arora, CEO of Airtel Digital TV told The Hindu in an interview.

“Chennai subscribers are probably more aware of digital transmission as it has been one of the places to experience CAS (conditional access system).”

Under DAS, it is necessary for all television households to have digital set-top boxes that decode the transmission signals.

It can be done either with a set top box for cable connections or with a set top box with direct-to-home dish equipment. This places an entry cost on watching television.

According to a list of MSOs with DAS licences updated by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on November 20, eight had licences to operate in Chennai Metropolitan Area.

The State government run Arasu Cable, which has applied for a DAS licence, is yet to figure in the Ministry’s website as a licensee.

Some of the MSOs have started procuring digital set-top boxes for distribution.

It is likely that there might be some more delay in the complete rollout of digital services in the city, purely for want of digital set-top boxes.

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