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WATERMARKING TOO EXPENSIVE FOR SMALL HEADENDS

Dear Sir, Thank you for the support your magazine extends to the Cable TV industry.

We have started a DAS headend & installed all digital equipment as per the guidelines, fulfilled all required compliances & received the broadcasters' pay channels.

However, the amended Schedule III requires MSOs to ensure their Network watermark logo is inserted on all pay channels, at encoder end only. This is imposed to prevent channel piracy, and provide quick detection.

To comply with these revised guidelines, we have incorporated equipment which has cost us nearly ₹ 20 to 25 lakhs. Further, the watermark through the encoders requires us to replace encoders, which will cost us another ₹ 25 lakhs to ₹ 30 lakhs. Upgrading existing encoders is not possible.

Sir, during migration from analogue to digital, we lost 10% to 15 % of our business. Another 30% to 35% was lost while shifting to the New Tariff Order.

As a result, we have lost almost 50% of our business due to the increase in pay channel rates, which are now beyond the reach of many consumers. Due to low subscription income, it is very difficult for us to make huge investments to change the encoders immediately to meet the new watermarking requirements specified in Schedule III.

We even ordered 1 encoder for testing, but observed that the picture quality is not up to the mark, as the manufacturer's R&D is still in progress.

You are requested to please raise this issue through your magazine, so that TRAI reconsiders Schedule III related with only "watermark logo through encoder".

Given the economic slowdown in the country & cable industry, is not financially feasible to absorb the huge cost for new, watermark encoders.

We have sent this request as a letter to the TRAI & MIB.

Please provide this matter publicity of the difficulties faced by our industry due to the changes dictated by Schedule 3.

With Regards
Ashok Kumar Jha,
DMA- District MSO Alliance, Helencha, Kolkata.