A quality digital set-top box costs Rs 1,250-1,300, far cheaper than in 2011Development of an Indian conditional access system (iCAS) and growing digitisation of broadcasting have brought down prices of set-top boxes as the software cost has declined to Rs 50 per device from Rs 500 in 2011.
A quality digital set-top box costs Rs 1,250-1,300, far cheaper than in 2011 when a poor quality set-top box used to sell for Rs 2,200. The government estimates the projected demand of cable set-top boxes will soon reach 70 million.
The government had announced digitisation of cable TV in 2011 but at that time there used to be a shortage of set-top boxes and their prices were high. To tackle the problem, the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) announced the iCAS project in 2013 and in 2014. The project was awarded to ByDesign India, a Bangalore-based company.
The iCAS project outlay was Rs 29.99 crore, of which MeitY’s support was Rs 19.79 crore. iCAS, or local CAS, was developed by ByDesign India in 2015 and commercially launched last year.
iCAS is available to local manufacturers of set-top boxes at $0.5 per licence, against the $4-5 per licence for foreign CAS for a three-year period.
An executive with ByDesign India said, “Set-top box prices have come down because the software platform cost has declined from $4 per box to $0.5.”
iCAS has been integrated with nine Indian manufacturers of set-top boxes and around 800,000 set-top boxes with iCAS have been deployed with 104 cable operators.
Doordarshan is leveraging iCAS to upgrade its Dish DTH platform and has placed an order for 50 million licences.
A MeitY official said security was the main concern when the government decided to launch the iCAS project, but it also wanted to bring down prices of set-top boxes and increase their supply.
News Source : www.business-standard.com