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Soon, you may no more need to buy a Set Top Box while changing your DTH connection

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Soon, you may no more need to buy a Set Top Box while changing your DTH connection

TRAI chairman says DTH interoperability may be a reality by the end of 2019. DTH and cable market will eventually become an open source ecosystem like the smartphone market.

For a long time, DTH interoperability has been one of the most widely anticipated features in the DTH and Cable TV industry. So far, a consumer needs to buy a new Set Top Box if he/she has to switch from one DTH operator to another. The concept of DTH interoperability is expected to make it easy for consumers to switch their operators. However, the system hasn't been brought to the market. Now, it seems that after changing the regulation of the DTH industry, TRAI is trying hard to implement DTH interoperability by the end of this year.

In an interview to ET Telecom, TRAI Chairman RS Sharma said that DTH interoperability might be ready for a rollout by the end of 2019. "Since last two years, we have been trying to make STBs interoperable. A large part of the problem has been resolved. There are some business challenges (which) remain... we are looking at this to happen by end of this year," said Sharma.

Sharma stressed on the fact that open source is the way to go for the DTH and cable industry. Interoperability is the way to bring the open source concept to this industry. "Open systems are going to be the future. The entire back-end of Aadhaar has been developed on open source software except for biometric de-duplication system," Sharma said. However, Sharma feels that the system should have been implemented at the start to avoid all the technological challenges.

Open source is the way for all DTH and cable operators in India. This will allow the industry to boom. Sharma cited examples from the telecom industry where the open source system led to a major boom in terms of development and growth. In the telecom sector, if a consumer needs to change a subscriber, he/she can simply change the SIM card and there's no need to buy a new smartphone. This system has led to the growth of business in the industry.

"Many apps/services are being accessed primarily on smartphones now. Prevalence of the Open OS has also facilitated smartphones supporting multi-lingual capabilities and also led to the enhancement of the Skill India program by the government," ICEA Chairman Pankaj Mohindroo said.

With DTH interoperability, the industry may look at a major growth in the quality of services. The emergence of smart TVs with Android OS has already taken off on a high note, with manufacturers such as Xiaomi and Samsung offering more features on their big-sized TV sets. Android TV has led improvement of benefits for OTT platforms as consumers can access their content easily over a Wi-Fi network. That, along with new DTH regulations with higher prices has made consumers move to OTT platforms for the overall cheaper prices.

Will DTH interoperability solve the woes of the TV industry? Will it pull back consumers to the TV from online streaming channels? We will have to wait for knowing until the new system is brought into the place.