Trai Makes Set-Top Interoperability Mandatory, DTH Operators Have 6 Months

New Delhi: Trai has been talking about Set Top Box portability for a while now and the regulator is finally bringing new standards to the industry. Trai stated that all Set-Top Boxes in India must support technical interoperability, meaning every commercial STB provided to a customer must be interoperable. Furthermore, DTH and Multi-System Operators (MSOs) have been provided with six months of time to adopt the new standards. The new standard, as mentioned by Trai, is DVB CI Plus 2.0 (with USB CAM) as per the ESTI TS 103 605 standards.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) may include a suitable clause to ‘compulsorily facilitate’ Set-Top Box interoperability service.

Technical Glitch

Another point worth noting is that the Set-Top Boxes of DTH and cable operators are not interoperable. This essentially means that a DTH subscriber cannot be migrated as a Cable TV user and vice versa. Trai says that there are technical and commercial constraints to universal STB, so the interoperability shall be applicable within the DTH and within the cable segment respectively.

Trai also recommends mandatory provisioning of USB port-based Common Interface for all digital television sets in India. The MIB along with Trai and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) may request BIS to amend the specifications for digital television sets to include USB based Common Interface port as per DVI CI Plus 2.0 standard based on ETS TS 103 605.

All the TV manufacturers must provide all digital television sets with minimum one open interface port based on DVB CI Plus 2.0 standards permitting simple connection of USB CAM to allow reception of television signals. Secondly, manufacturers should also provide the TV sets with built-in tuners to enable reception of television content through both satellite and cable platforms.

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