Dish TV, India's largest direct-to-home (DTH) operator, is set to launch Conditional Access Module (CAM), a device popular in Europe, it is a small gadget that enables consumers to shift from one DTH service provider to another without buying a new set-top box.
This technology, that will enable consumers with set-top boxes of other DTH service providers to switch to Dish TV's feed of television channels, will surely set Dish TV apart from the very well doing competitors. The product, branded as Dish Freedom, is priced at Rs 990, which includes an annual subscription of 95 channels. The consumer will be required to insert the device into a built-in slot on the set-top box and realign the dish antennae to the DTH service provider's frequencies, which could entail extra installation cost of Rs 100-150.
The product will initially be available in five locations in the country, before the company expands distribution to other locations.
In India, there are about 37 million DTH users, of which 3-5 million are inactive, as per industry estimates. There are currently six DTH service providers, including Tata Sky, Videocon D2H, Airtel digital television, Reliance digital TV and Sun Direct.
According to Trai's regulations, all set-top boxes sold by DTH service providers should be CAM-compliant. The industry has been battling with the issue of interoperability as different DTH service providers use different broadcast technology formats such as MPEG2 and MPEG4 to air television channel signals.
Now it’s there to see that, how consumers will react to this not very cost effective offering and if this technology helps Dish TV to build up a bigger subscriber base. Experts believe that if technical and commercial challenges are sorted out and conditional access modules take off, it will help consumers to switch to another service provider just as mobile number portability has helped subscribers to switch connections.
Based on the news flashed in ET.