Technologies showcased at the event included Hybrid Set-Top boxes, Miracast - to enable smartphone and Set-Top box interaction and 4K Ultra HD TV technology .
Col KK Sharma spoke to Brett Tischler, the Associate Product Line Director at Broadcom and discussed Broadcom products for the Indian market and in general about the implementation of Digitisation in India.
KK: There are no figures available for STB seeding in Phase III where as Phase- I and II were well monitored by the government. Do you have any estimated numbers of STBs in the Phase III market.
Brett: I think Phase III is very different, operators are small, large analogue networks do not exist and deployments will be slow. Anyway, tracking the STB seeding is not important for us. More important is that all cable operators in India are migrating to digital. This has given them a lot of new opportunities in the form of new platform services like VOD, interactive EPGs, OTT, HD and 4K TV etc.
This will help them to expand their business model and increase their ARPUs. I feel the industry is going in the right direction, within two years you will see whole lot of new hybrid services coming for the consumers and enhance their experience of watching TV. They will definitely pay more for the improved new services which will increase the ARPUs too.
KK. The Phase III and IV markets comprise of small MSOs with not so large STB demand, how do you cope up with this kind of situation?
Brett: Many operators have large number of subscribers. They want to buy lot of equipment and number of STBs but are short of finances. Because the market is fragmented, investments are not yet coming in. Their own revenue from subscribers are not sufficient to support large scale upgrades. Government must step in to facilitate financing immediately through state investment institutions and the banking systems.
KK. What about consolidation?
Brett: Consolidation is a slow process and will take its own time, in the smaller cities Cable Operators are looking for medium scale MSOs from neighboring large cities to provide them with signals. Many will succeed and many will go out of the market. Even in the U.S you will be surprised to know that Comcast still serves many such small Cable networks. I spoke to Comcast guys in Amsterdam this year.
KK: Why are companies like Comcast and Liberty Global not entering the Indian market?
Brett: I spoke to Comcast guys in Amsterdam. They plan to provide value in content as well as video. One needs a very robust infrastructure for that which is not in place in India. Industry here is very fragmented and operators are struggling to provide just the basic services. Danger is, ARPUs are much lower in the cable industry. Operators are not focused on high value services that bring revenue. Look at the Satellite industry. They are providing HD, VoD, OTT and now 4K. Subscribers are paying for these services and demand is increasing.
KK: But the DTH guys have been operating for the last ten years and still have just 25% of the market.
Brett: This 25 % is premium market that brings 90% of the profits. Technology will not wait for cable operators. In the US cable operators are providing high value services and kept the competition from the satellite guys in check. If cable operators in India do not change their focus from low end services, they may lose the race with the satellite operators.
KK: What about broadband services on cable?
Brett: Cable is the best for broadband services. DOCSIS gives you 200-300 megabits speed. Mobile Broadband in India is also becoming better providing advanced services like live video, video on demand etc. Cable broadband has to be perfect with better bandwidth and faster streaming.
KK: But mobile is facing lot of problems with spectrum shortage. Quality of mobile broadband is not good at all.
Brett: Well, operators should take this as an opportunity and join the ‘Digital India’ drive, improve their infrastructure and migrate faster for their own future.