Many broadcasters, MSOs have given customers ‘grace period’ to shift
A day after customers, who are yet to upgrade their cable connections from analog to digital, had to deal with blank TV screens, several multi-system operators (MSOs) allowed select regional news channels to be telecast in the wake of the low-intensity blast in the city on Wednesday.
Cable operators, meanwhile, are scurrying to meet the increased demand for set-top boxes (STBs), with customers hitting the panic button a day after the High Court order finally settled the issue of compulsory digitisation of cable TV networks in Bangalore and Mysore.
As of April 17, statistics shared by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting revealed that 80.72 per cent television sets had switched to digital connections. This included direct-to-home (DTH) connections, which accounts for 21.61 per cent of the total of 22.68 lakh television sets.
In Mysore, the digitisation figures stand at 65.1 per cent, with DTH again accounting for around 21 per cent.
These figures are still behind the 38-city cable digitisation average of 88 per cent, sources in the Ministry told The Hindu . Though the digitisation drive is compulsory, both broadcasters and MSOs have, in many markets, given customers “an informal grace period” to shift, sources said.
The Gujarat High Court, which, like in Karnataka, had stayed the government deadline, recently vacated the stay.
A random survey of localities in the central business district revealed that customers who were as yet unaware of the digitisation process were now looking to switch. Some of them said that they had asked their cable operator and were waiting for the set-top box.
“The cable operators said that the stock for the set-top boxes is yet to arrive,” said Srinivasan K., owner of a paying guest accommodation in Chikkalakshmi layout. Another customer in Whitefield, who was still waiting for the installation, said that the cable operator had told him that it was delayed due to some technical issues.
Cable operators say that there is no short supply of set-top boxes. At a meeting between the MSOs and cable operators on Thursday, operators appealed to the MSOs not to switch off channels till April-end. “We are working fast to make the deliveries. But, we need the grace time as the court only vacated the case this week,” said a cable TV operator.