TESTS & APPROVALS FOR CABLE TV STBS
Safety Specs Are Compulsory For Imported & Locally Manufactured STBs, w.e.f. 3rd July 2013. We Provide Details.
All digital Cable TV Set Top Boxes (STBs) sold in India are required to meet 2 key specifications framed by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
Informed readers will be aware that in fact all Cable TV equipment is required by law to 'conform' to various BIS standards declared for Cable TV equipment. Most of these standards closely follow the European IEC standards for Cable TV equipment. The European rather than American standards are relevant to India since we have adopted the PAL B/G and DVB standards & the electrical operating voltage.
ONLY 'CONFORM' TO TECH SPECS
The requirement for Cable TV equipment to 'conform' to the BIS standards implies that the equipment must have the stated features and specifications laid out in these standards. However it is not compulsory for the equipment to be actually tested and certified (which is a lengthy & expensive procedure) to comply with the parameters in the BIS standards.
COMPULSORY SAFETY CERT
In sharp contrast, the BIS has also laid down safety standards for STBs which are used by consumers in a home environment. These safety standards are compulsory. The Department of Electronics & IT (DeitY) vide its circular has made it compulsory for all STBs to be compulsorily tested and test certification obtained from government testing labs proving that each STB model/series meets the safety specifications. Any STBs that do not have a formal safety test certificate from the government test laboratory, cannot be sold, imported or distributed in India.
ERTL & ETDC TEST LABS
The government has set up laboratories for testing various electronic products for specifications and safety. These laboratories have 43 regional centres in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata & Chennai. These 4 regional labs are each referred to as the Electronic Regional Test Laboratories (ERTLs). Each ERTL has several smaller test labs under its regional supervision. The smaller labs are referred to as the Electronic Test & Development Centers (ETDC).
Cable TV products & digital STBs can be submitted either to the closest ERTL or ETDC for testing. If the local ETDC does not have the necessary facilities, they will contact the appropriate ERTL.
CATV STB SPECS
IS-15245:2002 is the official document that provides the technical specifications that a digital Cable TV STB must conform to. Typically the specification booklet is available for purchase from the BIS. However due to its importance and current relevance, the specification were put up by the I&B ministry on their website. We have also carried the IS-15245:2002 at http:// www.scatmag.com/technical/stbdigital.pdf
Subsequently, these specs have been updated to IS-15245:2013 in February this year.
A summary listing of the technical specifications and features that digital CATV STBs must conform to are:
Optional, as per IS 14231 (Part 8) or any other International Standard.
Shall conform to DVB-C (EN 300429) and DVB-CSA (ETR-289).
The manufacturer/service provider shall use a suitable middleware.
Optional. If provided, in accordance with IS 14202 (Parts 1, 2 & 3).
Subscriber Management System (SMS):
Any SMS that "ensures consumer interest by efficient, responsive & accurate billing and collection. At the same time an arrangement must be made between the broadcaster and service provider for access to relevant data related to the respective channels for billing purpose. etc."
The specs have minor revisions made in February 2013. The earlier requirement that STBs must be capable of looping thru analog CATV signals has been deleted, since analog signals are now disallowed on DAS networks. Also the STBs are now required to operate with 32, 64, 128 & 256 QAM. A STB remote control has been made compulsory, and an RF output has been made optional. Frequency of the input power has been restricted to 2% compared to the 5% variation permitted earlier.
As given in Table I.
Shall conform to IS 13252. (Compulsory Certification By 3rd July 2013 -Ed.)
ELECTROMAGNETIC COMPATIBILITY (EMC)
Shall conform to IS 6873 (Part 3).
Each STB shall be legibly and indelibly marked with at least the following information:
a) Manufacturer's name or trade-mark (if any);
b) Model designation and serial No.;
c) Country of manufacture;
d) Input supply voltage and frequency;
e) Power consumption;
f) RF input terminal and RF output terminal;
g) Sockets for audio and video output.
BIS CERTIFICATION MARKING
Optional. Licence Conditions for the use of the Standard Mark, can be obtained from the Bureau of Indian Standards.
As per IS 9000 (Part 7/Sec 2). 500 ± 10 Bumps @ acceleration 400 m/s2. STBs in packed condition. STB shall conform to the performance requirements specified in 5.6 after this test.
As per IS 13252. After this test the STB shall conform to the performance requirements specified in 5.6.
DRY HEAT TEST
+55°C for 16 hours, as per IS 9000 (Part 3/Sec 5). After 2 hour recovery, the STB shall conform to Clause 5.6.
DAMP HEAT TEST
Damp heat cyclic test as per IS 9000 (Part 5/ Sec I). After 24 hour recovery, the STB shall conform to Clause 5.6.
- 10°C for 2 hours, as per IS 9000 (Part 2 Sec 4). After 2 hour recovery, the STB shall conform to Clause 5.6.
Post Measurement After Each Environmental Test, the STB shall meet the safety requirements (IS 13252) and the requirements specified in Table I for the following parameters:
a. RF output level [ Sl No. (vi) (c) of Table 1). and
b. Carrier to noise ratio [ Sl No. (vi) (d) of Table I].
OPERATING LIFE TEST
5 hour operation and 1 hour rest period for a total operating period of 1,000 hours at rated voltage.
At the end of the operating life duration, the Safety Requirements & Specs in Table I shall be met.
Safety specifications are compulsory for all equipment used by consumers in their homes. As a result STBs must compulsorily be tested to meet the safety specifications detailed in IS 13252. These specs have been adopted from the European IEC specs. Over the years the specs have been revised for enhanced safety.
IS 13252 is an exhaustive 274 page spec that covers various items under different categories & 7 sections.
Section 7 specifically addresses safety specs for equipment connected to Cable Distribution Systems.
Section 1 refers to general specifications and Section 5 refers to "Electrical Requirements & Simulated Abnormal Conditions." Both, Sections 1 & 5 are also applicable.
7.1 PROTECTION FROM HAZARDOUS VOLTAGES
Circuitry directly connected to a cable distribution system must comply with the requirements for a TNV-1 circuit, a TNV-3 circuit, or for a hazardous voltage secondary circuit, depending on the normal operating voltage. Compliance is checked by inspection and measurement.
7.2 PROTECTION FROM OVERVOLTAGE
All requirements of Section 6.2 (protection of equipment users from overvoltage) applicable to telecommunication networks are to be met by Cable systems.
This section specifies the insulation between primary circuits and Cable Distribution Systems. Separate requirements are mentioned for equipment connected to an external outdoor antenna or equipment connected to a Cable Distribution System.
Compliance is checked by inspection and if necessary by a voltage surge test (7.3.2) or impulse test (7.3.3).
COMPULSORY TEST CERTIFICATE REQUIREMENT
In October 2012, the ministry of Communications & Information Technology (Dept. of Electronics & Information Technology - DeitY) had declared that 15 categories of consumer equipments including STBs, laptops, video games, plasma/ LCD/LED TVs etc. must obtain safety test certificates for individual model, before 1st April 2013.
Acknowledging that there was a lack of awareness and also test facilities, DeitY vide its 20 March 2013 notification extended the deadline for compulsory safety test certification to 3rd July 2013.
EXTRA EXTENSION FOR MANUFACTURERS
As an incentive and convenience to local STB manufacturers, they have an additional extension till 3rd Oct 2013 for full compliance of the order if:
a) They submit their request for registration to the BIS with complete test reports from recognised labs, before July 3, 2013 or;
b) They submit their products for testing to the recognised labs before 3rd July 2013. In such cases an additional monthly fee will be levied till the complete test reports are submitted.
c) Manufacturers will be levied a monthly penalty fee 3 times that mentioned in (b) above, if they have not already submitted their samples for testing. The penalty fee will continue to be levied on a monthly basis until they submit their samples for testing. After sample submission the penalty fee will be reduced to the fee mentioned in (b) above.
PRIOR IMPORTS EXCLUDED
All STBs imported or sold before 3rd July 2013 do not need to provide any test certification for import, sale and deployment into consumers' homes.
All STB manufacturers and importers must compulsorily obtain a certificate from approved test laboratories (ERTL/ETDC) that the products have been tested as per the BIS safety specs (IS 13252).
These test certificates must then be submitted to the BIS for registration of the product. Each series of products need separate BIS certification. A series of products may consist of multiple model numbers, similar to each other but with minor variations.
After the STBs are registered with the BIS by the importer, the importer needs to issue a letter on his letterhead confirming that the STB model number in the consignment being imported has been tested and approved by the BIS. After 3rd July 2013, the Indian Customs will only clear STB consignments which have been approved.
Similarly local manufacturers of STBs can sell their products in India only after they have received test certification as per the safety standards and a subsequent BIS registration.
Clearly, the BIS safety specs are a mandatory requirement and after 3rd July 2013 the government will not allow import, sale or resale of any STBs that have not been safety certified (IS 13252) by the BIS.
It may be noted that the STBs do not have to be compulsorily tested for their technical specs as outlined in IS: 15245:2012. The importer or manufacturer only needs to ensure that the STBs meets the technical specs and features detailed in IS 15245. n