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Apr 14, 2013 at 04:10pm IST

Cable TV digitisation to be over within a year: Report

New Delhi: The process of full digitisation of cable TV systems in the country is expected to be over well before the end of the current fiscal given a sharp surge in the installation of set-top boxes by large distributors, a report has said.

The large cable TV distributors, known as MSOs (Multi Service Operators), gained higher market share than Direct-to- Home (DTH) players in the second phase of digitisation that saw 78 per cent of households going digital by March 31, 2012, investment banking major Morgan Stanley said in a report.

"If these trends were to continue, we believe the process could happen earlier than our expectation of end-March 2014," it said.

Cable TV digitisation to be over within a year: Report

The large cable TV distributors, known as MSOs (Multi Service Operators), gained higher market share than Direct-to- Home (DTH) players in the second phase of digitisation.

"Since February 15, MSOs have seeded 3.9 million boxes as against 0.4 million by DTH. This substantiates our thesis that Phase I and II cities will be dominated by MSOs as against DTH," analysts at Morgan Stanley said in their report.

The major MSOs in the country are DEN Networks, Hathway Cable and Datacom Ltd, while the DTH players include Tata Sky, Dish TV and Airtel TV.

Under the second phase of digitisation, the cable TV systems were scheduled to go digital across 38 cities by March 31, 2013, after shutting down the analog cable signals there.

Prior to this, the four metro cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai saw the analog signals being replaced by the digital cable systems in the first phase last year.

Industry experts say that aggressive pricing and cheaper packages seem to have benefited the MSOs in both the phases and a similar trend might continue going forward.

There are an estimated 1.04 crore households in the four metros with an average 80 per cent television penetration. Besides, 1.6 crore households were targeted to be covered in the second phase.

The 38 cities covered in the second phase included Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Agra, Kanpur, Ludhiana, Patna, Navi Mumbai, and Coimbatore.

"We believe the momentum in Phase II of digitisation has been promising with 33 out of 38 cities showing more than 50 per cent digitisation complete as per the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting data," Morgan Stanley said.

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