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Tuesday, Feb 17, 2004

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Call to facilitate affordable TV entertainment

Our Bureau

Kolkata , Feb. 16

THE Cable TV Equipment Traders & Manufacturers Association (CTMA) has stressed the need for a legal framework that would "regulate" the pricing policies of TV broadcasters. A formal suggestion in this regard would soon be made to the Centre, according to Mr Binod Sancheti, President of CTMA.

Stating this during a press conference held here on Monday to announce the dates of the Cable TV Show 2004, Mr Sancheti said the proposed regulatory framework would also cover the existing 60,000-odd cable TV operators in the country who must continue to provide "affordable television entertainment to the masses".

He also urged the Government to address the issue of inter-operability of set-top boxes (STB). The Government should ensure that the different technology options available for delivering television entertainment to cable TV homes should be made available through a single STB.

The cable TV sector in India has several technology options such as DTH (direct-to-home), MMDS (microwave multi-point distribution system), IPTV (Internet Protocol television) and HITS (Headend in the Sky), among others.

The association has demanded that the Government should make it mandatory for multinationals to set up manufacturing facilities in India so as to develop an indigenous base for hardware and software capabilities. "Only those international vendors willing to invest by setting up manufacturing facilities should be allowed to come in", he said.

CTMA is organising the Cable TV Show 2004 in Kolkata from February 19-21. The show showcases the latest products and technologies in the cable TV industry to channel broadcasters, multi system operators, cable TV operators, equipment makers, manufacturers, traders and the public. This year, besides Indian participants, there would be nearly 45 international participants at the show.

Cable TV, which is now in its 13th year of operations, is present in 48 million homes. The total number of television homes in India is estimated at 80 million, including the terrestrial channel of Doordarshan. The subscription revenue generated by the sector at present is stated to be around Rs 7,500 crore annually.

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