London-headquartered business conglomerate Hinduja Group on Wednesday launched its digital TV distribution business, which will work on the headend-in-the sky (HITS) technology and entail a minimum investment of Rs 5,000 crore, under the brand name of Nxt Digital.
HITS is a hybrid of multiple-system operator (MSO) and direct-to-home (DTH) technology. In case of an MSO, the content is beamed through a fibre network while in case of HITS, it is beamed through a satellite.
“Keeping in line with the Prime Minister’s (Narendra Modi) initiatives of Digital India, Skill India and Make in India, the launch of HITS will connect India digitally and enable thousands of entrepreneurial cable operators to make a transition from analog to digital across an estimated 120 million homes,” said group chairman Ashok Hinduja.
“All the application development for the Nxt Digital platform has been designed and built 100 percent in India and all the set-top boxes (STBs) are also being made in India in partnership with ABS manufacturers,” he added.
The company has also has tied up with training institutes to train and equip youth in smaller towns and markets for supporting data management in its operations and create a pan-India network of trained service technicians.
The approximately-$25 billion group had applied for the licence via its investment arm Grant Investrade Ltd three years back and the project is being headed by Grant Investrade’s managing director Tony D’Silva.
According to the Hinduja Group, the new service will aid cable operators in the country to make the transition from analogue to digital (DAS), offer specialised value-added-services, and allow addition of local cable channels on the new platform. “The investment in the business might just go up by another Rs.5,000 to Rs.10,000 crore depending on the progress of the HITS technology,” Hinduja added.
The DAS is a part of the cable TV digitisation policy which was notified by the government in 2011. Under this policy, it is mandatory to access television signals via a set-top box.
Currently, India’s digital TV transition is at 40 percent with 140-150 million pay-TV households already subscribing to digital platforms on a regular basis, according to the estimates from industry analysts. Hence, the Hinduja Group has the opportunity of targetting around 80-90 million homes (60 percent)largely served by thousands of small cable systems outside the main cities.
“Our facility has been designed and purpose-built to provide a variety of services including over 500 TV channels and services in top class MPEG-4 digital quality to LMOs (Last Mile Owners) and MSOs (Multi System Operators),” said D’Silva.
Image: Arun Jaitley, Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs and Information & Broadcasting, addressing after launching the Headend In The Sky (HITS) digital platform initiative, under the brand name NXT DIGITAL, in New Delhi on September 16, 2015.