DTH News: TRAI is Testing a dvr software to Use One STB For all DTH Connections

Soon, you may be able to use your old DTH set-top box with the new digital television service. Telecommunications regulator TRAI is piloting an interoperable STB satellite decoder for digital television broadcasting services (DTH)  that will allow subscribers to use the same set-top boxes for different service providers.

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The Indian Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRAI) has initiated a pilot project to test interoperable satellite dth decoders for digital television broadcasting services that will enable subscribers to use the same set-top boxes for several service providers.

"There are 15 entities who have come for the pilot project, the architecture is in place, the design of the prototype is ready, we will leave with the results of the tests within 8 to 10 weeks," a person familiar with the development told SatTV.

What are interoperable decoders or STBs?

A satellite decoder refers to a configuration, which has a small parabolic antenna along with a low noise block converter (LNB) and a radio (RF) cable, used by the subscriber for receiving signals from the operators.

In most cases, each operator has its own STB that receives the signal from a single supplier. However, an interoperable STB allows subscribers to use the same decoder to take advantage of the services of several DTH providers.

If the pilot succeeds, customers will no longer have to buy a new set-top box every time they change their cable service provider, since the same set-top box can be used to receive signals from the new operator.

Why interoperable STB?

According to the report submitted by DTH operators to TRAI in December 2015, of the 85 million STBs sold or delivered to the subscriber in the market, only 55 million were in active mode.

This indicates that about 30 million media adapters were depleted due to the lack of interoperability of the multimedia adapters. Since inactive STBs cannot be used to receive services from the other operator, the money invested in the STB is wasted and also generates electronic waste.

Taking into account that a total capital of USD 750 million was not used since the initial capital expense was USD 25 per STB, the government has been planning to reduce e-waste nationwide and make subscribers independent of service providers.

Although accurate data regarding cable television services are not available, the number of inactive STBs is expected to be very large.
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