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Half of Mumbai homes now have set-top boxes

A review by the I&B Ministry has revealed that about 50% of Mumbai's TV households have switched to set-top boxes (STBs), indicating the pace at which digitisation of cable services has picked up over the last few months.

Four cities - Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai - are expected to be completely digitised by 31 October, which is the deadline for conversion. The deadline was originall 30 June, but was extended.

While there is an estimated requirement of 34.85 lakh STBs, 17.07 lakh STBs have been installed, officials in the Ministry said.

The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2011 has made it mandatory for switchover of the existing analogue cable TV networks to Digital Addressable System (DAS) by December 2014, in the entire country in four phases.

The I&B Ministry has been holding fortnightly meetings with stakeholders to assess the progress. Meetings are being held with MSOs every 15 days to assess their preparedness in terms of head-end capacities to carry a minimum 200 TV channels to be extended to 500 channels and the progress of installation of STBs in cable TV homes, a ministry statement said.

The completion of negotiation and the signing of interconnection agreements between the channel aggregators/broadcasters and MSOs is one of the pre-requisites for implementation of the digital switchover, the statement added.

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