November 2019

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Q: I'm a media professional from Assam & often I read your magazine on your website (

I want to know is there any licence requirement for IPTV in India? I want to start my own infotainment base IPTV and want to give feeds to Local Cable Operators. Thank You.

Anupam Mandal, Assam.

ANS: Currently no license is required to create content that you put up on the internet, like YouTube, or on an OTT platform.

However, if you wish to distribute IPTV signals through LCOs then you need to generate and distribute the IPTV signals from the digital headend of a DAS MSO licence holder.

The DAS MSO needs to provide a self-declaration to the I&B Ministry that he is commencing IPTV transmissions. The format of the self-declaration is attached as a pdf file.

Only the LCOs of that IPTV approved DAS MSO can distribute the IPTV signals.

Do note that distribution of IPTV signals will require separate IPTV STBs which will become a huge expense for you.


Q: I have been a cable operator for almost 14 years.

What is the future of Cable TV in India?

Please advise.

Suresh Babu M

ANS: It is very difficult to give any authoritative reply regarding the future. Personal opinions will certainly differ widely.

However, based on the very rapid technological changes that are occurring, not only abroad, but also in in India, I speculate the following.

India is now the second largest consumer of internet data, worldwide, after China.

At 9.8 GB per month, India has the highest data usage per smartphone.

Clearly, India has very rapidly embraced the internet.

Globally, consumers and broadcasters are shifting distribution of their TV channels, to the Internet. In India, OTT Apps like Hotstar are already delivering Live TV channels via broadband.

Hybrid STBs provide a solution to deliver Internet distributed Video & TV channels to non SMART TV Sets.

The long term winner will be 1 or 2 large apps that will deliver several hundred (FTA & Pay) live TV channels to users on their phones, TV sets or any other device connected to the internet. besides Hotstar, 'TataSky Binge' is another such app that delivers Live TV from multiple broadcasters. JIO TV also does that ... Currently only on JIO subscriber's Mobile phones, since it is a free service.

In 5 years 35% to 50% Of Indian Cable TV & DTH Customers Will Have Shifted To Broadband Delivery

Even a HD TV channel requires less than 4 Mbps speed. 5G is expected to deliver 100 Mbps+ wirelessly. Hence, delivery of live TV via the internet is now accessible to almost all Indians.

In January 2019, DirecTV USA (a DTH Platform in the USA) declared that it will not launch any more satellites, as they will not be needed. Instead DirecTV has already started delivering all its Live Channels, via Internet.... No Need to send an installation crew to install the Dish Antenna and no "line of Sight' issues for receiving DTH signals.

Based on the above facts, I personally speculate that in the next 5 years, 35% to 50% of all Cable TV + DTH homes in India will shift to receiving their channels via the internet. In 10 years, probably 80% of Indian Cable TV & DTH homes will shift to the internet for receiving their TV channels.

Hence Cable Operators MUST start delivering Broadband / Internet. Since 5G will be widely rolled out within the next 3 years in India, wired broadband must deliver speeds of at least 100 Mbps 3 years from now.

Luckily, optical fiber is capable of delivering almost infinite speed. Only the sending and receiving equipment needs to be upgraded to deliver higher speeds. Optic Fiber prices are currently at very attractive prices, so the time is right now, to lay fiber for broadband delivery.

Dish Doctor
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