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Go à la carte on TV menu

Come June, residents of Patna would avail and pay for only those channels that they want to watch.

Multi system Operators (MSOs) would start package-based beaming of channels to the set-top boxes within a week or two.

This means that people would be required to pay for only those channels, which they want to see on their television sets. For instance, SITI Maurya Cablenet Pvt. Ltd, one of the MSOs in Patna is offering 100 free-to-air channels, including all Doordarshan channels and Zee Purvaiya, among others at a monthly subscription charge of Rs 127.36 (Rs 100 + taxes) under its Janata Pack.

Similarly, Popular Pack would offer as many as 180 channels, including pay-channels at Rs 217. 25 (Rs 180 + taxes), while 200-and-odd channels would be offered for a monthly rental of Rs 265 (Rs 223 + taxes) under SITI Maurya’s Grand Pack.

For those who are highly selective in watching cable television can avail à la carte option. Under this customised option, the subscriber can select only those channels, which he/she wants to watch.

At present, people have been paying fixed monthly rental of around Rs 250 against usage of set-top boxes, without any channel-specific payment option.

The package-based cable TV is being implemented under the provisions of Digital Addressable Cable TV System Regulations, 2012. The regulations state that MSOs can transmit digital signals and activate the set-top boxes only after receiving the subscriber application form from the consumer having his/her preference of channels and personal details. The regulation empowers the MSOs to stop beaming signals to those set-top boxes for which the form has not been submitted.

Package-based cable TV is in fact the third and last phase of digitisation of cable TV in Patna. The first phase was digitisation of cable TV, wherein digital set-top boxes were installed in thousands in a day between the months of March and May 2013. The second step was filling up of subscriber application forms for the set-top boxes, a perquisite for package cable TV. The forms were filled from October last year to January this year.

“Almost cent per cent of our subscribers have filled the subscriber application forms. Depending on the talks with the other MSOs in the city, it has been decided that we would commence the package-based cable TV within a week or two,” said Rajnish Dixit, the director of SITI Maurya Cablenet Pvt. Ltd., which has a subscriber base of around 1.6 lakh in the Patna Municipal Corporation area.

To avail any of the cable TV packages, a subscriber first needs to fill up the package authorisation form. This form is similar to a booklet, which contains the list of channels being offered under different packages. The channels would be listed in different genres like Hindi entertainment, Hindi movies, Hindi news, English news, Hindi business news, kids music, lifestyle, infotainment and education, international, sports, devotional and regional language channels — Bhojpuri, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Oriya, Urdu, Punjabi, Assamese and Tamil among others. Packages of different regional languages would also be offered. The subscriber would be required to tick in front of the channel of his or her choice.

If a household has more than one television set, three separate forms would have to be filled to get the package authorisation. The other MSOs in the city have also claimed that they would start the package-based cable TV within the same time.

“We have also got the subscriber application forms filled by almost our entire subscriber base of around 1.5 lakh people. We would start getting the package authorisation forms filled by the subscribers immediately after a joint announcement of the package cable TV is made by us and SITI Maurya,” said Nilesh Kumar Sinha, one of the directors of Darsh Digital Network Pvt. Ltd.

A few residents, however, seemed sceptical about the package-based cable TV.

“The package system looks technical to me. Second, till now we have been watching hundreds of channel by paying a fixed monthly rental but now we would be required to pay for every extra channel we may want to watch,” said Gardanibagh resident Pranav Kumar.


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