Dig­i­tal TV strike ana­logue

Bhutan Times - - Home - Thuk­ten Zangpo/ Thim­phu

With the dy­ing ana­logue TV sys­tem across the world, the Bhutan In­fo­comm and Me­dia Author­ity ( BICMA) im­ple­ments to switchover to dig­i­tal ca­ble tele­vi­son ser­vices in Thim­phu District Mu­nic­i­pal­ity ( TDM) ef­fec­tive from Jan­uary 1 next year.

The call is manda­tory be­cause dig­i­tal en­sures more ef­fi­cient way of trans­mit­ting sound and pic­tures and also of­fers range of po­ten­tial ben­e­fits to the con­sumers.

More­over, as per the pro­vi­sion of the In­for­ma­tion, Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Me­dia Act of Bhutan 2018, it states that to fa­cil­i­tate and sup­port tech­nol­ogy in­no­va­tion as well as to en­sure that ca­ble tele­vi­sion view­ers gets im­proved pic­ture and sound qual­ity ( High Def­i­ni­tion pro­grammes).

The dig­i­tal ca­ble tele­vi­sion tran­si­tion will be car­ried out in a phase man­ner, be­gin­ing from TDM. BICMA has pro­vided six months du­ra­tion to ca­ble op­er­a­tors to ad­vo­cate and ed­u­cate their sub­scribers on the process of switch­ing from ana­logue to dig­i­tal ser­vice. The three li­cenced ser­vice providers of the ca­ble op­er­a­tors Etho Metho, Druk­comm, and Nor­ling has al­ready started the switchover June this year.

Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of BICMA, Chen­cho Dorji, said that since 1999, 90% of Bhutanese have been watch­ing same type of con­tent through ana­logue sys­tem and thus dig­i­tal sys­tem would also pro­vide lo­cal con­tent and help in grow­ing the ad­ver­tis­ing mar­ket in long- run. “Tech­nol­ogy is ready, now need peo­ple to pre­pare,” he added.

With the present sce­nario of ca­ble sub­cribers us­ing both ana­logue and dig­i­tal sys­tem, Chen­cho Dorji said that the ex­act num­ber of ca­ble sub­scribers are not ac­counted which con­trib­utes to the loss in the rev­enue of the gov­ern­ment, howev- er, the digi­ti­sa­tion would solve this is­sue.

In coun­try hav­ing var­i­ous ca­ble op­er­a­tors with vari­a­tions in num­ber of chan­nels, he said that the for­ma­tion of Multi Ser­vice Op­er­a­tors ( MSO) will cen­tralise ca­ble op­er­a­tors and it will bring uni­form chan­nels at uni­form pric­ing. It will also re­duce the cost among ca­ble op­er­a­tors by not hav­ing to pur­chase the equip­ments and sub­cribe chan­nels in­di­vid­u­ally. Ac­cord­ing to BICMA, the reg­is­tra­tion of MSO is car­ried out and Earth Sta­tion iden­ti­fied. There are about 83 ca­ble op­er­a­tors in the coun­try.

It is also an good news to the Bhutanese movie lovers be­cause with dig­i­tal TV, a sub­scriber can ask “Movie on De­mand” of their own choice. Chief of Li­cens­ing and Com­pli­ance Divi­sion, Wan­gay Dorji said that the with dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion, which uses card sys­tem will tele­cast de­manded movie only to those who sub­cribe.

In ad­di­tion, he said that the dig­i­tal TV sys­tem in coun­try is adapt­ing DVBB- C2 which is mostly fol­lowed by the South Asian coun­tries.

On the af­ford­abil­ity front, BICMA sug­gests that there are var­i­ous schemes for the pric­ing of the set- top- box like in­stall­ment. Author­ity feels with the change in tech­nol­ogy peo­ple will cope up along.

The dig­i­tal sys­tem will re­ceive ca­ble ser­vices via a set- top- box cost­ing around Nu. 1000 to 1500. How­ever, the charge for the monthly sub­crip­tion fee of Nu. 300 will re­main the same.

Project Man­ager of Etho Metho Ca­ble Tele­vi­son, Pema Tshe­wang said that com­pany is in full ca­pa­bil­ity and tech­no­log­i­cally sound to carry out the trans­for­ma­tion given the date­line. How­ever, he said it will also de­pend on the will­ing­ness of the cus­tomer to take the shift. He also said that de­pend­ing on the ser­vices pro­vided cus­tomers can opt among three op­er­a­tors.

BICMA seeks sup­port of all ca­ble sub­scribers un­der TDM to co­op­er­ate with the three ca­ble op­er­a­tors to help them in switchover.

The dig­i­tal sys­tem will re­ceive ca­ble ser­vices via a set-top-box cost­ing around Nu. 1000 to 1500.

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