Subscribers confused about buying digital devices

Certain sections of cable TV subscribers in the city complained of the blacking out of channels by private multi-system operators (MSOs) on Friday.

This lead to queries on whether the Digital Addressable System (DAS) is finally being rolled out in the city.

The ministry of information and broadcasting has not clearly announced any specific cut-off date for the rollout of the system in the city. This is in the backdrop of a case filed in the Madras High Court by a section of cable TV operators requesting for extension of time for the rollout of the system in the city. However, the senior counsel representing the ministry in the case noted that there was no stay order in effect with regards to the rollout of DAS in the city.

The only reason that some of the MSOs had cited for the delay was the non-availability of digital set top boxes. The DAS system was supposed to come into effect in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata from October 31, but it did not take off in Chennai and in Kolkata for different reasons.

In Chennai, a case was filed by the Chennai Metro Cable TV Operators Association at the Madras High Court seeking an extension of the deadline for the rollout of DAS. Though the Madras High Court had stayed the implementation of DAS twice while hearing the case, there is currently no stay in effect over the rollout of the service.

Under the circumstances, cable TV subscribers who do not have digital set top boxes have been left wondering whether or not to get the devices. Adding to the confusion has been the impending entry of the State government-run multi-system operator Arasu Cable, whose application for a DAS licence has been pending with the ministry of information and broadcasting. Some cable TV operators, who claim to be registered with Arasu Cable TV as local operators, have started lobbying for advances over purchase of digital set top boxes.

In the recent weeks, some other companies that have received DAS licences, including a few floated by cooperative societies formed by cable TV operators, have started setting up digital head-ends in the city and have prepared work to rollout services.

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