Navneet Singh, System Supporting Engineer, Gospell
Set-top box, the modern magic picture box, is a miracle of technology. World's massive population is bound to digital TV industry to bring the best of the world to our doorstep to entertain us. Cable TV is serving the purpose from long time, whereas DTH as a new phenomenon has been added into the queue a few years ago and touched the glory due to digital features and rich video content delivery. It was expected that DTH will supersede cable TV industry. Many of the digital TV professionals would perceive that in digitization phase CATV has lost its business, but when we came to know about figures, we were left with no words. In the beginning, people were amazed to see wireless technology and moved toward it. But when it comes to package cost and local taste, CATV is always way ahead of DTH. In these years of digitization, CATV has changed a lot and this is what has kept CATV alive.
Almost 15 years ago when DTH business was growing rapidly, the CATV industry was not doing well. In the market, DTH was new but highly appreciated by viewers with its extraordinary digital approach. Thanks to digitization, which gave chance to cable TV industry to survive and grow as DTH flourished. Apart from factors like improved signal quality in bad weather and low package cost, cable industry has kept on multiplying different features to compete with DTH. Although CATV and DTH both are making efforts to establish their roots in the market but some key factors which keep CATV in demand in this digitization era are listed below:
Regional channel availability. Being a local guy the cable operator knows the taste of local customers and has more resources to provide local channels as compared to DTH. These days you can see the regional channels availability is more in CATV as compared to DTH. This is one of those factors which help them to bind their customers.
Local advertisement platform. In a region, the local business runner chooses CATV platform over DTH to advertise for their business. So with local popularity, the CATV companies are generating revenue.
Deploying new technology. In the past, cable TV was analog and was not able to compete with DTH technology. The customer looked toward DTH for new technology and extra features. But after digitization, MSOs and even small operators have started introducing new features to their customers like EPG, EPG ads, games, and with better set-top box software interface. In this tough competition with DTH, the CATV industry has started deploying new technologies even faster than DTH. New technologies like IPTV and OTT are now widely used by many MSOs.
247 customer helpline. The biggest change in these years of digitization is establishment of a customer support center. It builds trust in the customers that they have someone to whom they can tell their issues. This customer support makes CATV business more organized and trustworthy.
Postpaid facility. The best part of CATV business is its postpaid facility which is not offered by DTH companies. The postpaid facility is holding CATV industry's base in the market. It is good when you have to pay after using anything; isn't it?
Apart from these factors, CATV industry is still working on new possibilities to tackle DTH-like portability. It is good if you do not have to pay for a new STB while moving to another location, or changing the cable service provider. Today for customer, it is not all about wire and wireless, it is about features, service quality, content, and flexibility. Now CATV is introducing a portal where prepaid facility is also available like DTH, where you will pay for time you want the service. MSOs are also successful in Internet business because of their popularity in regions and low charges. Technologies like DOCSIS are in wide use in digitization.
In this phase of digitization, CATV has grown up as a digital giant and is now competing with DTH. As we all know that DTH was born digital but CATV was not, then digitization came and acted as nectar for CATV. This is how digitization has given more opportunity to analog CATV as compared to digital DTH. It looks like CATV and digitization are made for each other. Soon you will see more growth and enhancement in CATV.