Dish TV Launches India’s First Conditional Access Module (CAM) Device To Enable Consumers To Switch DTH Operator Without Changing Their Hardware

direct to home

Have you ever wondered why there is a big slot just above your subscriber card slot on your DTH set top box? Most of us might not have noticed the slot, but it is very well there on all set top boxes. The slot is meant to be used with a Customer Access Module (CAM) device, a PCMCIA type card which goes into your set top box and can enable it to be used with any DTH operator of your choice.¬†According to TRAI‘s regulations, all set-top boxes sold by DTH service providers should be CAM-compliant.

Think of it as similar to mobile number portability. Only in this case, you switch your DTH operator. Here is how the system works:

  • You can get the set top box from any DTH operator.
  • If you are not satisfied with the service/channel offerings/prices or anything else for that matter, you can choose another operator.
  • The new operator will give you a CAM card. You will have to pay for it of course but the price will be lesser than buying a new set top box from that operator.
  • You insert the CAM card in your existing set top box from another operator. An engineer will visit your premise to re align the dish to the new operator’s satellite if needed and they might charge some fee for it (although I believe they should let customers do that by now, its no rocket science).
  • Sign up for a subscription from the new DTH operator.
  • Enjoy services from the new operator!

The system does have a few limitations though:

  • You will not be able to enjoy value added services like pay per view, VoD etc. as they are programmed in the set top box for the operator who originally sold it to you
  • If your operator uses old technology (MPEG2) and you have a box which uses new technology (MPEG4) and is NOT backward compatible, you will not be able to switch to that operator

This is how the CAM looks like:

direct to home customer access module dth cam

In any case, this is awesome news for DTH subscribers across India. Currently TataSky’s HD+ set top box is the best out there in terms of features and storage capacity. However, TataSky has maxed out on their capacity to add any more HD channels than the 7 they already have on their platform. Other operators like Videocon D2H have much more HD channels, but their boxes are inferior. Users can now use TataSky’s set top box with such operators. This move will further spark competition in this already competitive segment. And any competition among the providers means more goodies for consumers :).

Dish TV’s CAM device branded as Dish Freedom will be available for INR 990 (pretty steep we know, but expect the prices to come down as other players launch theirs). In addition to the CAM price, the customers will have to pay anywhere between INR 100 – 150 to get their dishes re aligned to receive Dish TV’s signals.

[via ET]

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