March 2018

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Q: I am an LCO and DEN is my MSO feeding me a DAS signal. DEN Networks tells me that they will soon offer 4K Android STBs.

What is an Android STB? How is it different from an ordinary STB.

Is 4K really necessary?

Are 4K channels available in India? If not, will DEN use HD channels to create 4K channels?

Why are other companies also not already offering 4K STBs.

Please clear my doubts on these questions. Thank You.

Sent Via WhatsApp,
Name & Location Not Available

ANS: All STB's are similar to tiny computers. Just as computers have their own Operating System (OS) like Windows, STB's also have their own operating system (OS). When a STB is powered up, it takes some time for it to be ready for operation because the OS has to load on the STB. Basic STB's typically have their own, very simple OS.


An Android STB runs on Google's Android Operating System which is very similar to the Operating System on all Android phones. There are millions of google apps available for free download and use on the Android OS which is used on our mobile phones.

These same Android Apps can be downloaded & run on an Android STB making it extremely versatile.

As an example, an Android STB can download the Netflix app and the consumer can watch Netflix on their TV via an internet connection.

The Android OS is much bigger and needs more memory and a more powerful chip to run, compared to an ordinary STB.

For 4K video, the Android STB requires a Central Processing Unit (CPU) + a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) + a Video Processing Unit (VPU). The VPU needs to be powerful enough to handle 4K video. This makes android STBs far more expensive.


DEN Networks deserves to be congratulated on their move to roll out 4K android STBs.

A High Definition (HD) video picture contains 1920 pixels (or dots) horizontally and 1080 pixels vertically i.e. a total of 1920 x 1080 = 2 million pixels or dots.

A 4K video contains 3840 pixels horizontally and 2160 pixels vertically ie. a total of 8.3 million dots. The 4K video contains 4 times as many dots on the screen as a HD picture.


Many consumers feel that they cannot see the difference between 2 million dots and 8 million dots on a TV screen of less than 50 inches size. Even the 2 million dots are so closely packed together on a 48 inch screen that the picture looks the same as IF 8 million dots are packed together on the same screen size.

However, for larger screens: 55 to 65 inches and bigger, a 4K picture appears far superior to a HD picture.

Hence to answer your question, yes 4K is better if the consumers' TV is larger than 55 inches.


A few 4K channels are available via Satellite over India and DEN will probably offer these channels. These are listed in Table 1.

As you have correctly mentioned, HD channels can also be 'Up-Sampled' to 4K channels. Upsampling, inserts additional dots (based on a mathematical formula) in-between the original dots, to fill the screen with 8 million pixels. The clarity of a HD Up-sampled channel will certainly not match an original 4K channel but it will be somewhat superior to the HD channel.

4K channels and TV content are also available on the internet and users can view them via an Android STB. Netflix also offers some movies in 4K resolution.

Ofcourse the internet speed required to stream a 4K channel is huge and most Broadband connections in India may not sustain 4K TV viewing.


Initial reports indicate that it is very difficult to get, from the international market, 4K STB's at a reasonable cost. ICC Pune has also completed trials with 4K STBs but they are unable to source boxes that they can offer at consumer-friendly prices. That is why more MSOs have not yet offered 4K STBs. If consumers respond enthusiastically to DEN's 4K roll out, other MSOs too will follow.


Q: I am a cable operator cum MSO in Karnataka state. I read an article (dated Feb 2004) on your magazine website, in which wireless cable tv technology has been described. Please, can u once more publish such an article which should give complete details about wireless cable tv technologies used all over the world and their application in India.

Thank You.

Ramu H. Yallur, At-Hangal.
Haveri dist. Karnataka.

ANS: There was a lot of interest in wireless cable TV about 20 years ago, and we had carried the article and other information on this technology.

Like all wireless technologies, MMDS is allocated only a small bandwidth. As a result only a few channels are typically transmitted via MMDS (also sometimes called Wireless cable TV). MMDS is an abbreviation for Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Service.

The Indian Government does not currently permit wireless cable TV / MMDS hence its use locally is ruled out. No MMDS system was ever installed in India.

Worldwide, MMDS is now practically obsolete, as it was used to deliver around 20 channels only.

Today, the world is moving towards the Internet, even for broadcast/retransmission of TV channels. OTT (Over The Top) platforms like Jio TV offer several hundred Live TV channels including Pay Channels.

Hotstar will be offering the IPL Cricket matches live on its OTT platform.

If you had attended the SCaT 2017 Trade Show, in Mumbai last year, you would have observed that several companies now offer to provide not only MSO's but even LCO's a customised OTT platform with the LCO's logo and branding and in your local language. These typically cost ₹ 1.5 lakhs per year for upto 1,000 subscribers, depending on their content and features.

The March 2018 issue marks the completion of 25 years of Satellite & Cable TV magazine. From this month onwards, we will be carrying more articles on OTT and Broadband as we believe that these technologies are the future not only for MSO's but also for LCO's to increase their revenues and retain their customers.


Q: While watching "Hum To Tere Aashiq Hai" on my mobile, the content also included 2 respected heroines in an advertisement, asking customers to shift to some other network.

Can I sue them in a court of law for such advertisements?

Ravikiran R Sarsamkar.

ANS: The advertisements are directed at end customers.

If the ads do not give false and negative information about your network, or make false claims for the new network, there is nothing that you can do to stop the ads. You cannot sue the actors or creators of the ads, if the ads are not malicious or false.

Dish Doctor
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