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Digital TV takes hold as India furthers plan

A total of 73% of Indian households had moved to digital television by the end of March 2013, according to a report by Morgan Stanley, which now predicts that the nationwide TV digitisation process could finish well ahead of its initial prediction of 31 March 2014.

Analogue television signals have now been switched off in the states of Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh, according to Indian Television, propelling India a step further towards the nationwide digitisation of TV transmission.

Data from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting also claims that over 85% digitisation has been achieved in the 38 cities covered in Phase II of the Government's ambitious nationwide digital television programme.

The installation of 13.6 million digital set-top boxes – from a target of 16 million – has now reportedly been achieved by multi-system operators (MSOs) and direct-to-home (DTH) satellite TV providers. Of these, 9.15 million have been provided for cable reception and 4.45 for satellite TV, says the ministry.

"Since 15 February, 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," says the report by investment bankers Morgan Stanley.

Second phase cities include Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Agra, Kanpur, Ludhiana, Patna, Navi Mumbai and Coimbatore. They, and the 27 others, will join India's metros – Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai – which saw analogue switched off last year during the Government's first phase in bringing digital television to the masses.

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