ESPN Star Sports, the body which owns the two first 24×7 sports HD channels in India (ESPN HD & Star Cricket HD) have signed a deal to allow select cable operators in India to show their HD channels. The channels are available to 3 cable networks – Incable, 7Star in Mumbai & UCN in Central India. Subscribers of these digital cable operators can now enjoy these HD channels by upgrading to a HD set top box.
All the cable operators in the metro cities are required to go digital by March 2012. This will be followed by digitization of the entire country’s cable system by the end of 2014. This should give the cable operators in non metro areas to educate their subscribers and start supplying HD compatible set top boxes to them. In the metro cities though, operators will have to launch lucrative schemes and high quality DVR enabled set top boxes at cheap prices if they want to rope in subscribers, as their DTH competitors already have a good infrastructure in place for this.
Nonetheless, this is great news for subscribers. In addition to HD channels, digitization of the cable industry will also enable service providers to offer high speed broadband connections to customers. A segment which desperately needs a healthy competition in India.
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