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The latest excuse to delay adopting digital TV in some Indian cities is down to Diwali, the Hindu ‘festival of truth and lights’ which this year happens on November 13th.
Officially, the cable MSOs in India’s four main cities were required to cease analogue transmissions at midnight back on October 31st. The situation was muddied by a decision by the West Bengal regional government to permit a delay in Kolkata because of the risk of civil unrest. Some 50-60 per cent of Kolkata homes have been digitised, and a scheme to ensure that low-cost set-top converter boxes are available everywhere has been implemented.
Hathway Cable, a major MSO and with a 50 per cent stake in Gujarat Telelinks, has started its changeover process by switching off certain genre-specific channels. For example, the English movie channels have gone dark. Other genres will follow shortly, although specific dates have yet to be given.
Meanwhile, reportedly some 20 areas of Delhi still have access to analogue TV, and Mumbai’s Cable Operators Association says it will be transmitting analogue until the end of this month, while Chennai managed to gain an official extension until this coming Friday (November 9th ) although many doubt that the actual date will be observed.