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April 2019

The DISH DOCTOR section of our magazine has proved to be extremely popular.

We receive over 50 queries Every Day, and each of these queries are individually replied to, usually within 24 hours. This demands large resources.

We remain committed to supporting all our subscribers, and will answer each of the queries individually.

However the resources and costs involved may not permit us to extend this facility to those who have not subscribed to the magazine.

Hence, with your queries to the “Dish Doctor” please include your Subscription Number and Name / Company Name under which the subscription has been taken.

If you do not have your subscription number handy, please send us the Name / Company Name under which the subscription has been taken, along with your detailed postal address at which you receive your copy. We will use this information to verify your subscription in our books.

We request our website readers to subscribe to our magazine, and support us in maintaining the high quality of content and advice that we have always provided. Thank You.

– Editor & Executive Publisher.


Tarun, Nagpur (by WhatsApp)

ANS: No, Doordarshan and the Indian Government are committed to Free Dish. In fact, Free Dish is now used as the primary means to distribute Doordarshan Channels to remote areas in the country and the Government has stopped building new DD terrestrial transmitters, except in the border areas.

Last month (March 2019 issue) we have carried an article that Doordarshan has successfully auctioned 40 TV channel slots on its Free To Air MPEG-2 platform.

In the next phase, Doordarshan will launch its MPEG-4 platform on which all channels will be encrypted and can be received only using special, Doordarshan authorised MPEG-4 satellite receivers. It remains to be seen if the MPEG-4 platform will be a success.


Q: Has TRAI issued any guidelines for Cable TV systems to use QAM256 / 512 on their networks ?

What are these guidelines?

Srinivas Yadav, by E-mail. Subscriber No 11362

ANS: There are no such guidelines.

The TRAI does not regulate most technical issues. They only standardise specifications so that Cable TV equipment is inter-operable on Cable TV networks throughout the country. Some guideline by TRAI also ensure that the equipment meets a minimum level of quality and operational reliability.

Higher QAM Modulation (e.g. QAM 256 or 512) enable more channels to be carried within the same bandwidth. However, the high amount of data carried in the same bandwidth requires very good, error free transmission of the digital signal by the LCO's network. Often, old LCO networks have too much distortion & noise to reliably support QAM 256 or QAM 512.

It is up to the Headend to decide the QAM deployed, which will depend on many factors, including the Total Number of Digital Channels & the quality of their LCO's Distribution network.

Since analog CATV has been shut off in India, the entire cable TV bandwidth can be used for Digital CATV. Hence there is more than adequate bandwidth to carry a huge number of digital Cable TV channels, even if QAM 64 is deployed.


Q: What is the procedure to register an RTI query with TRAI? Please Advice.

Swapan Chowdhury, Kolkata.(via WhatsApp)

ANS: The Right To Information Act, 2005 provides for access to non-classified information under the control of public authorities to citizens. Access to information under control of public authorities may be sought via a letter to the concerned Public Information Officer of the authority or body.

Additionally, to facilitate the process of access to information for citizens, the Government of India and some State Governments have established online portals to send queries and complete payments to certain public authorities/ bodies.

Since the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is under the Government of India, to file a query before it, requires you to log on to

You will have to click on the 'Submit Request' tab and follow the instructions.

Under the Ministry/Department/Apex body option, select the Department of Telecommunications.

The next option, i.e. Select Public Authority should be selected as 'Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.'

After this, key in your details and query and make the payment of ₹10 online using your credit or debit card.

After your transaction is completed, you will receive an acknowledgement.

Under Section 7 of the RTI Act, 2005 you will receive the requested information within 30 days unless the request is rejected.

If you do not receive a response within the stipulated time period, you can approach the appellate authority - the procedure for which is available on under the tab 'Submit First Appeal'.



Q: I am Yogesh Sharma from Lucknow. We are an MSO - Mahavir DEN Entertainment Pvt ltd.

I am a regular reader of this column, learning from others' queries.

1. Is there any Indian Sindhi language satellite/ online channel available?

2. There are several online channels ie they are transmitted via the internet rather than a satellite transponder. Will we soon see a migration for content delivery to TV sets, via the internet rather than via satellite transponders?

Yogesh Sharma - Via WhatsApp

ANS: There are no Sindhi language satellite channels in India.

There are a few Sindhi language channels from the Sindh province in Pakistan, but they do not have an Indian downlink license from the Indian government & hence cannot be carried by cable networks.

There is a streaming service that was being done by a Mumbai-based cable operator. I am not sure if this is still available.

Some years ago, this cable operator, along with the late Mr Ram Hingorani & the Sindhi Samaj had petitioned the MIB to start a DD Sindhi service - however DD regretted stating lack of funds.


There is a huge amount of TV content available online (via the internet), that is available from YouTube or other streaming sites, and also on OTT apps. However, it is illegal to re-transmit any online content on a cable TV networks, both for copyright as well as content censorship reasons.

TRAI is currently discussing a consultation paper on whether OTT and streaming content should be subjected to similar censorship & restrictions as Satellite TV channels.

Broadcasters are rapidly shifting distribution of TV content online. This enables broadcasters to directly deliver their content to consumers without having to pay a distribution fee / commission to DTH and Cable TV platforms. (In the USA, DTH & Cable TV charge distribution fees of 30% to 50% of the pay channel price).

In January this year, Star TV withdrew all its channels from DTH & Cable TV platforms in the USA, making them available only via its Hotstar OTT app.

Also, in January, DirecTV USA - the world's largest DTH platform, launched another of its own satellites. After the successful launch, DirecTV declared that this would be its last new satellite. It will no longer launch any new satellites! DirecTV DTH is shifting its pay channel delivery to Smart TVs and Android STBs, via its app & online streaming.

Europe's largest DTH platform - Sky has announced that it will offer its whole range of products, both linear and on-demand, as an OTT service over IP.

It is predicted that by 2022, more than 80% of internet traffic will be TV / video content! High speed 5G wireless transmissions will add further impetus to the move to streaming.

Most Indian broadcasters have already started promoting their OTT aps and streaming content. OTT apps include those from Hotstar, Voot, Zee5, Arre, SonyLIV, ALT Balaji, Netflix, and Eros Now.

At SCaT 2017 & SCaT 2018 shows, there were exhibitors offering customised OTT apps for not only MSOs, but also LCOs. The OTT app would be customised to carry the MSO / LCO's logo and the menu in the relevant regional language. Prices were as low as ₹ 1 Lakh per year.

This is a warning bell for our industry worldwide. Radical transitions usually happen very suddenly after a critical tipping point is reached.

Dish Doctor
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