With the digitization deadline becoming a reality, lakhs of TV sets without set-top boxes have gone blank across the country. Viewers and cable operators have been left fuming as signals were switched off.
Hyderabad, Pune, Kanpur, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Patna, Srinagar and Coimbatore were among the 38 cities in 15 states selected for phase-II of digitization. They were asked to switch to set-top boxes by March 31. However, five cities - Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Vadodra and Surat - had obtained court stays. As the deadline neared, analogue channels stopped in most of the 33 cities where digitisation had kicked in.
The goal of digitisation is to have transparency in the broadcasting sector, which benefits the consumers and the broadcasters, LCOs (local cable operators) and MSOs (multi-system operators). About 75 % digitisation has already taken place in the 33 cities in Phase-II.