MUMBAI: Doordarshan’s free direct-to-home (DTH) platform Freedish has set itself the goal of rolling out encrypted MPEG 4 set-top boxes (STBs) by April. In this regard, the pubcaster is evaluating applications from prospective original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
“We will roll out encrypted STBs in April. The OEMs are under evaluation,” DD director general Supriya Sahu said.
In September 2015, Doordarshan had set in motion the process of rolling out encrypted MPEG 4 STBs for Freedish by issuing tender for appointing authorised STB OEMs.
The authorised OEMs will sell Doordarshan-approved CAS and firmware/middleware-enabled STBs. The e-application was issued on 20 September. The delivery period of the STBs is three months.
“We have issued tender for rolling out MPEG 4 STBs. We hope to roll out MPEG 4 STBs in 3–4 months. The MPEG 4 STBs will have 24 channels. We will add capacity in phases,” Doordarshan deputy DG (DTH) AK Jha had told TelevisionPost.com.
The target is to provide 250 channels through the MPEG 4 STBs. Freedish will also get additional transponders for expanding its service. “We will get additional transponders for providing 250 channels. Currently, we have six transponders,” Jha had added.
Freedish currently provides 80 TV channels and 30 radio channels through MPEG 2 STBs. This is likely to be enhanced to 104 SDTV channels and 40 radio channels in the near future with the introduction of new MPEG-4, DVB-S2 stream.
At present, Doordarshan has not authorised anybody to sell the receive equipment, which is available in the open market and can be purchased from any TV dealer.
The conditional access system (CAS) in the STBs will be based on iCAS. Developed by the Department of Electronics & Information Technology, iCAS will initially be introduced only in MPEG-4 DVB-52 channels to count the total number of active subscribers.
The STB will have to be BIS-compliant. Every STB must have BIS certification marking, along with the Freedish logo. The STB OEM will have to provide after sales maintenance support in the form of direct service centres, franchisees or OEM service centres.
The STB OEM will provide sales support to the subscriber during the contract period of five years or for at least three years from the date of sale of STB, whichever is later, failing which the performance bank guarantee (PBG) will be encashed.
The PBG will be 5% of the total value of iCAS and DD-approved firmware/middleware-enabled STBs in the Indian market. The PBG will be valid for 5 years and 60 days from the date of authorising the STB OEM.
The STB OEM will be required to provide a list of service centres along with contact number and address to Doordarshan for DD iCAS and firmware/middleware-enabled STBs.
Doordarshan will authorise the STB OEM, initially for five years, which can be further extended, subject to satisfactory quality of service. It will authorise Indian STB OEMs to sell iCAS and DD-approved firmware/middleware-enabled STBs for a minimum of 25,000 STBs and multiples thereof. No proposal will be considered for DD authorisation below this quantity.
The STBs of the STB OEM should not have a quarterly failure rate of more than 0.1% of the total deployed/registered STBs. Doordarshan will levy a penalty to the extent indicated below if the quarterly failure rate goes beyond 0.1%.
The penalty will be 2% of PBG if the failure rate is above 0.1%. For failure between 1% and 5%, the penalty will be 5%. Between, 5% and 10%, the penalty will be 10%. If the failure rate of STBs exceeds 10%, DD will encash 90% of the PBG.
If the quarterly failure rate increases beyond 10% for three quarters, then Doordarshan may terminate the authorisation to sell, and in such case it will encash the 100% of the PBG.
The STB OEM can terminate the MoU after three years from the date of commencement of the agreement by giving a one-month notice. DD can terminate the agreement without assigning any reason with a one-month notice.