Digital TV strike analogue
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.