Indian government officials are determined to switch off analogue TV signals on Thursday in the four giant metropolitan cities that ought to have converted to digital TV by October 31st.
Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata will see analogue systems go ‘dark’ says India’s Information & Broadcasting Ministry, and officials intend ensuring that transmission rules are obeyed. It has been estimated that up to 30 per cent of homes have not converted to digital TV.
Broadcasters and MSOs met with India’s TRAI regulator on Monday and were reminded that the October 31st deadline was fixed and “absolutely sacrosanct”. The government says 91 per cent of homes have converted, but this number is disputed by MSOs.
The Information & Broadcasting Ministry said October 30th that Mumbai was well ahead with a near-100 per cent digital installation, 95 per cent in Delhi, 85 per cent in Kolkata and 86 per cent in Chennai.
According to official census data there are 8.3 million TV homes in the four giant cities.
Meanwhile the satellite broadcasters are making hay, with Bharti Airtel DTH offering residents free set-top boxes in the 4 metros. A similar promotion is being made by Videocon d2h, while TataSky is offering a full DTH package but on ‘easy payment’ terms to spread the cost of installation. Dish TV is going one better and offering a “free for life” DTH scheme for the 70 or so free-to-air channels available, although there are conditions.