DTH Technology will offer Pakistan’s 25 million TV subscribers high-quality services and wide range of choices
Pakistan’s media industry took a giant leap forward by introducing quality services and a wide range of choice to TV viewers with the auction of Direct to Home (DTH) licenses which will also add to country’s revenue as well.
The DTH technology is being hailed as game changer by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) that succeeded in auctioning country’s first three DTH licenses for Rs. 14.7 billion after a conflict with Cable Operators Association. At least 11 local and international companies, from countries including China, Russia and UAE, participated in the bidding process but these three emerged successful at Rs. 4.898 billion for single license:
- Mag Entertainment
- Shahzad Sky
- Startimes Communication
DTH services were launched in neighboruing India in 2004 while Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh also have this technology, leaving Pakistan the only country in South Asia without this service until now.
Everyone is talking about TV digitization but only a few understand. This article intends to inform you about the basics of the DTH service and how it will transform Pakistan’s media arena.
What is DTH Service?
Direct to Home service known as DTH, is a digital satellite service that provides TV services directly to viewers through satellite transmission anywhere in the country.
How DTH is different from Cable TV?
The DTH service mechanism is quite different from the working of Cable TV. DTH technology facilitates a broadcasting company to directly beam the signal to your TV set through a receiver installed in the home. The broadcaster directly connects to the user and don’t need any wire from the cable operator. With DTH, subscribers can browse nearly 700 channels.
How will DTH benefit Pakistan?
Pakistan has almost 25 million TV subscribers and between three to five million consumers use Indian DTH illegally, according to PEMRA. Pakistan’s new DTH system would discourage subscribers of Indian DTH.
- DTH Technology will empower the TV viewers to have uninterrupted transmissions with best quality. DTH service also offers various value added services such as internet services, video conferencing.
- DTH technology will not only bring better services but generate revenue. “This is the biggest investment in Pakistan’s electronic media history,” according to PEMRA Chairman Absar Alam. The license holders would employ 1,500 people directly and open up indirect job opportunities for 15,000 people.
- Initially, there will be three DTH operators in Pakistan but this number will increase in future. Each local DTH license holder is expected to have at least 500,000 subscribers.
- The current Cable TV system offers maximum 80 TV channels. The DTH would increase the capacity to at least 120.
- DTH transmission keeps out intermediaries like cable operator. However, DTH is not here to end the cable operators’ business but to compel them to invest in technology, says PEMRA.
- The DTH technology can be valuable in remote area where the system does not exist as wireless technology DTH would eliminate the need of cable or any infrastructure.
How much will it cost?
The initial cost of set-top boxes (STBs) would be around Rs 3,500 which could be recovered by DTH operators in installments. Monthly subscription is expected to be around Rs 550.
What are the advantages of DTH over Cable TV?
DTH ensures high quality of voice, video, in superior quality than cable TV, as it uses digital form of communication system.
DTH is an advanced technology that offers as much as 700 channels while cable TV has limitations of transmitting selected number of channels.
DTH provides you a wide range of channels from all across the world. You can also choose your favorite program and have option to record a channel or review your missed program. Unlike Cable TV which is half Duplex communication, DTH technology is full duplex service through which you send your real-time suggestion or request to service provider.
Another advantage of DTH over Cable TV is that you will only pay for those channels you have subscribed.
DTH allows you to access High Definition (HD) channels as the signals are digital and are received directly from the satellite. The digital signals provide optimum quality in all features like finest picture and sound quality. Home theaters, live concerts and TV shows are all delivered to subscriber’s home with the same quality as any modern movie theater.
How will DTH technology operate in Pakistan?
The DTH Operator would receive/downlink the eligible channels (channels which are authorized by PEMRA for distribution in Pakistan) from different satellites including free-to-air and encrypted channels at the head-end/DTH station. For the encrypted channels the DTH operator would pay the channel operator as per PEMRA prescribed tariff.
Once downlinked the channels would be edited, where required, in conformity with the PEMRA code of conduct, these would be combined through multiplexer to form a bouquet/channel mix and then uplinked to a designated satellite, with suitable transmitting power, for distribution to the subscribers in the form of a single bouquet.
The subscribers would be able to receive the bouquet of TV channels through small dish antennas and digital decoders on payment of subscription charges to the DTH operator.
PEMRA will decide the number of channels based on the study of local needs, public interest, availability of channels and their conformity with the code of conduct.
Each DTH license holder is required to pay an annual fee of Rs.10 million and give two percent of their gross revenue after the first three years of operations.
In short, the advent of Direct to Home Technology will not only allow the viewers to have nonstop transmissions with good quality but also help regulate the beaming of foreign channels and boost economy.