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I&B Minister Arun Jaitley has launched a HITS (Headend in the sky) digital platform called NXT Digital promoted by the Hinduja Group, which will provide users access to over 500 TV channels (international, national and regional) along with other yet-undisclosed e-services.

The PIB release states that the platform will be accessible on mobile devices, tablets and information dissemination services. It will also apparently help cable operators and MSOs in the digitisation of broadcast distribution in India, affecting 120 million homes.

Its interesting to note that in 6 years ago in 2009, then I&B minister Ambika Soni had said that by the end of 2009, the Indian cabinet was likely to approve the HITS system which would allow Cable TV operators to downlink more signals from the satellite and distribute them through their networks more effectively.

NDTV reported that customers would be able to choose what they wanted to watch and pay only for that content, while the platform would increase revenues to the government ‘due to full transparency’ since it would allow cable operators to be independent, while retaining network ownership and enabling digitisation. Apparently, the Cable Operator Premise Equipment (COPE) systems it uses have been designed to suit Indian needs and are assembled in India, and include Indian ‘build’ components.

An Indiantelevision report from July stated that at launch, NXT Digital will concentrate on Phase III and IV digitisation markets, which have over 110 million analog TV households. It had started rolling out the set top boxes, and the company had ordered 2.5 million set top boxes for the same. The report added that the company had already signed deals with two broadcast networks. A BestMediaInfo report states that for now, users in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana will be offered the services.

Provisional licenses under DAS
In July, The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) granted provisional registration of 10 years to 60 multi system operators (MSOs), including Reliance Jio, Madura Cables, Friends Cable Network, under the third phase of Digital Addressable System (DAS), expected to be completed by December. MIB had allegedly quickened the process of MSO registration in order to meet the Phase III deadline.

Also read: It’s Time The Cable TV & DTH Industry Started Acting Digital

Image Credit: Flickr user Kevin Dooley