With just 20 days left for the cable television switchover from analogue to digital mode in the metros, more than 15-lakh households have still not installed the set-top boxes (STBs) needed to prevent a television blackout in their homes.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, which is monitoring digitalisation process in order to ensure that the deadline of October 31 is met, says 77 per cent of cable households in the four metros have been covered by the STB installation drive. With Direct-to-Home households factored in — since they already have digital television — 84 per cent of all households are ready for the switchover.

Delhi, Chennai lagging

While Mumbai leads the pack with 99 per cent STB coverage, Delhi and Chennai are still lagging behind. More than eight lakh households in the capital still do not have a STB. In Chennai, which started the digitalisation process later than the other metros, just over half of the 4.3 lakh households have been covered.

However, the situation is better than it appeared a few months ago, largely because the Ministry has changed its source of the statistics. Earlier, data on the number of cable television households was provided by the multi-system operators that ambitiously inflated their own figures and did not allow for overlap and duplication. Now the Ministry is using government data instead, taking the television penetration information from the 2011 Census as its baseline.

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