Lack of Satellite Capacity Results Slow DTH Growth In India

The lack of capacity is preventing the progress of DTH in India

With over 40 million subscribers (DTH), India perhaps the most exciting DTH market in the world. Some important technology decision-makers discuss their investment in future technologies and the growing demand for satellite capacity in the "Wild West" of the market for pay-TV.
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India has a population of over one billion people in several languages ​​and a developing economy. At the beginning of the last decade DishTV had almost to himself, however, a number of newcomers in recent years, such as Tata Sky, Airtel TV Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications BigTV including now the market is filled DTH market.

Tata Sky launched its services in 2006 and has more than 10.5 million lines. The company quickly became a major force in the Indian market for pay-TV, but now there is a problem that is for the operator, and heard that Riza Yigit, CTO, Tata Sky, the impact considers any operator in India: lack of available satellite capacity. "All the DTH operators could with twice the capacity we have to do now. DirecTV is apparently 3000 uplink channels in a market now very smooth. Can you imagine that the capacity of India to go with its cultural and linguistic diversity? Use 12 transponders could double show., the number and are not getting our needs, "he said.

DishTV, which has more than 13 million subscribers, is also one of the main buyers of satellite capacity in Asia. The company uses 14 transponders in a mixture of 36 MHz and 54 MHz and a total bandwidth of about 616 MHz. Rajiv Khattar, President DishTV projects, says that the ability to access has become a major problem.

"The recent study on the ability of a satellite not had an open skies policy as ISRO able to keep up with the availability of transponders for DTH players. DishTV believes in this is not possible, so be sure DTH allocation of transponder space within a certain period, if you are able, in the availability of bandwidth with a satellite provider, worked faster coordinated by ISRO satellite. My guess is that the bandwidth in the right slot has a value to an operator but can not, by another operator in this space, "he said.

Shashi Arora, CEO DTH / Media, Bharti Airtel, admits that the operator currently has a capacity sufficient access to more capacity to a "key" for the company.

"To develop the additional capacity to channels to improve the capacity of the channel base current 300-200 DTH industry and a level playing field with digital cable operators will have to carry 500 channels," he says.

There is no doubt that India is a promising market for satellite TV services. With cable inefficient and alternative land use competition DTH players have a great opportunity to build strong and lasting business relationships. The access to capacity, but not the only problem for operators. Sudhir Gosar, director of technical operations, Reliance Digital TV said more than 30 percent of the income of the company passed to various state taxes. Gosar believes others should recognize the importance of satellites in the country.

"DTH has a dependency on the Ku-band than nothing. For us, our satellite [capacity] is a life or death. Lack of capacity that could really affect what is very worrying. With seven players DTH there is enough competition, it must be the recognition of the importance of satellites, and that we able to offer the best service for customers, "he said.

Less than 60 HD channels

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The lack of satellite capacity affects the potential acquisition of HD services and all operators are concerned. DishTV, Airtel, Tata Sky BigTV and offer something less than 60 HD channels in all, a relatively small amount considering the four operators have over 30 million subscribers between them.

DishTV has 20 channels Full HD Khattar says the company plans another 10 to 12 this year added. Tata Sky has 13 HD channels, but Riza admits that the company "would take a 30", but can not because of a lack of capacity. BigTV a transponder dedicated HD services, has launched its new HD PVR in 2010. Now, it takes 8 to 10 HD channels and plans to triple that number in the coming years.

"Today, we have [a] little behind the other DTH operator in terms of our offer HD services, but we have problems in terms of access to satellite capacity., You do not have the available capacity. This was mitigated by this time next year when there will be more available transponders. receive an additional 12 transponders on Measat at the same place, "Gosar said. Airtel also offers 15 HD channels and Arora said he expects the HD market to increase significantly in the coming years.

The effectiveness of the bandwidth

So is the lack of ability to the importance of the compression technique is increased. Riza admits that Tata Sky in constant contact with suppliers and compression is in a position to update where the compression is planned every year. effective bandwidth is an important issue for the DTH operator. Make the most of existing capacity has become the number one priority for managers of technology in India. Khattar support the operator is evaluated, and a plurality of compression methods use the modulation bandwidth more efficiently.

"In order to make efficient use of bandwidth for the operator much and the operator wants to use the best available technology without compromising image quality. However, the operator must also take into account the cost of the CPE to be implemented." Balance SA we see and our task is to bring efficiency gains at a reasonable price, "said.

Some operators, such as DishTV and Tata Sky use MPEG2, MPEG4, while others are. "There are three or four years, people thought that all providers would focus on MPEG2 MPEG4 compression and put a lot of effort into," says Riza. "But it is not far from the case.

There are a number of major players in the world still in MPEG2, because they are not willing to change their MPEG4 decoder. "It is therefore still an important market for the MPEG2 compression and sellers invest in improved performance."

Most DTH providers worldwide to supplement satellites with other technologies to expand their reach to customers and new sales opportunities. Working with mobile operators is something that could happen, "Two to three years down the road" in India, according Khattar.

"Wireless Solutions begin to grow," he said. "We see the base stations are equipped., But if in two or three years, when I see wireless solutions are an option, but it delivers the video remains to be seen. Would it be easier to use a wired solution. Currently not in talks with any mobile operator, but in the future, there are always ways to work together. "

DishTV on key technology projects work this year. "We see the return of intellectual property as an important aspect. India cellular pathway may be an option wired connectivity be limited. 'Re working on three projects-seven technologies. Instead, Prime We have the bandwidth efficiency," says Khattar. "This is the important. Secondly, I see how I can get more capacity in orbit nearby. Consequently, we are in talks with several suppliers satellites. Thirdly, we are CPE so that we we can see get a cost advantage or where we attach importance to Add to consumers than last year, the USB DVR, which [has] a DishTV advantage in the marketplace, "he said.

For Aniraj Ramabhadran, director of devices, Reliance Digital TV, 3G and 4G starts picking through India. "It will be another year or two before, strong adoption of wireless broadband-see. During the devices increasingly multiply the bandwidth and connectivity to the last mile is not so encouraging as to be a good business model., The government said in a recent statement India as a market that is less than 13 million broadband customers. Except for the last mile of continuous bandwidth over 2 Mbps is not enough to get a good business model for OTT. "

OTT offer is something like an operator Bharti Airtel can test and Arora acknowledges the operator "closely monitor this space." While the OTT market is in its infancy, according to Arora, as the operator has its own data network, a natural progression to OTT perhaps other offer.

Similarly, Reliance Communications can also try to start a TTO offers its range of SRD complete. "There are two operators that have launched OTT services in India. Prognosis is not very positive in terms of the OTT for two reasons., The number of channels that can be viewed on a DTH service is huge. Hundreds available channels different languages, "Ramabhadran said.," The business case for such a VoD system is very low., we can see that the current VoD systems are running the business model thinking is not interesting., if you service a, more channels, the business model that can be collected offers. from which we launch ourselves to the OTT service. terms of technology, we are ready to launch an OTT service in six months. "

Satellite broadband game

With a huge population spread over a wide area, satellite naturally fits into the landscape of communication in India. Broadband penetration is still relatively low, but Khattar believes that there is a Ka-band satellite in India instead of two years. "One of the biggest problems right now is the cost of the CPE. Appliances Will be lowered, you can see, something begins to happen. I do not rule out the future. Currently, the economy is not allowing him to an economically viable model that can be used on a large scale, although it will be a good alternative for remote locations where access is because of the difficult terrain and geographical boundaries, "says Khattar.

Riza think it is difficult to make a business case for a Ka-band satellites, because so few people to pay for pay-TV services in India. With an ARPU of about $ 5, you will understand why satellite broadband could be a tough game. "The government will try to connect every town and village and go to a national broadband network in India," Gosar adds. "This is the provision of broadband in cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants, there are two islands to go., You have towns and villages."