Direct to Home TV (DTH) Coming Closer?

satellite_aIn 90s, when PTV was the only option to watch on TV, we used to bear clutter of advertisements during dramas and cricket matches. AD breaks happened to be long enough to prolong 35 minutes episode to stretch over 90 minutes’ duration.

Later on, cable TV freed people from PTV era and offered dozens of other channels on variety of topics. However, soon ad clutters started appearing in on cable TV as well – and became most in-expensive advertising media in Pakistan that had potential of targeting local audience. Cable TV is mostly occupied with local ads that cost not more than 5 to 10 thousand rupees for a campaign. Though, at times we saw national and multinational companies using Cable TV as their advertising mediums.

Besides, Cable TV, private channels, especially the NEWS channels in Pakistan are also heavily occupied with advertisements. By the way, Geo TV airs a 30 second ad against Rs. 100,000; other channels have their own tariffs depending on viewership, by the way, PTV is most expensive channel in terms of advertisements. So now coming back to Cable TV and their operators, who claim 100 plus channels for Rs. 150 to 400 at most per month; situation is not exactly the same when you experience the service. For instance, you may find 60 percent channels with bad sound of video quality.

Many users complain excessive down time of Cable TV, due to repair works, load shedding or similar reasons.

One thing that I want to point out is the gross violation of PEMRA act – as these Cable TV operators air Indian Movies, Dramas, Songs and other channels (operated by in-house broadcasting system) with ads. Though these Cable TV operators come under PEMRA, but I bet you won’t be able to register complain, and if you succeed there won’t be anyone to take action.

SUN TV is another story, which wirelessly covers major cities of Pakistan to offer around 100 TV Channel. Services are not up to the mark, as signals do disappear for hours. With increasing trend of LCDs and Plasmas, you may find all up-mentioned TV sources as in-efficient and of ordinary quality due to analogue signals and substandard infrastructure.

In such a situation, we may expect someone coming in with Direct to Home in near future. However, DTH has to face the challenge of traditional Cable TV due to high pricing involved in it. But, with the passage of time and thanks to its superior technology and continues innovation in content, DTH is starting to make its mark.

In our neighbouring country, India is the biggest market of DTH and it is becoming more competitive with the arrival of new entrance like Reliance Big TV and Airtel Digital TV. Now the Videocon is also waiting to launch its services in India which will make 6 DHT operators in India. Dish TV and Tata Sky are the leading DHT operators with 13 million subscribers compare to 75 million cable TV households. It is not a bad figure if we consider the prices for DTH which are from 1499 to 8899 Indian Rupee. The cost depends upon the features available.

One of the biggest benefits of DTH is interactivity in the form of games, educational tools for kids, cinema tickets and travel package booking facilities, shopping; widgets, etc.

In Pakistan we have still only cable TV which hangs in the streets like snakes and costs only 200 to 500 monthly. This fee is perhaps lowest in the world for the variety of the channels we get and the standard of services we enjoy at home. There is still some time, maybe few years, to see DTH happening in Pakistan.

By the way we know that PEMRA has PEMRA has approved the grant of two DTH licences in Pakistan, but licences will be issued on fulfilment of formalities. Market rumours suggest that Jang Group is closely eyeing its chances for DTH in Pakistan. Couple of other groups including ARY and Dhabi Group are also evaluating their options.

Before DTH, one has to be contented with PTCL smart that offers handful features like Parental Control, Playback Live TV, Electronic Programme Guides and Video on Demand. But we know that PTCL Smart is available only in posh sectors and areas of the big cities. It is clear that we have a potential of DTH in Pakistan with large number of viewers enjoying 29 inch TV, who can afford up to 2000 monthly fee.


  • Safdar

    You forgot to mention IPTV service offered by PTCL by the name of “Smart TV” which is also a digital quality transmission providing upto 100 TV channels accessible by the traditional phone line.

  • SAAD ASLAM

    But my dear friend many people in Pakistan are using dishtv tatasky DTH services and most of cable operators are also using these services in Pakistan. Is that legal in Pakistan to use these services????

  • its really good. i found it better than any other websites gives me the latest and brief information about DTH in pakistan.

  • Asad

    Dear Osama,
    I must appreciate your effort.This is a good article,i would like to add that PEMRA must encourage DTH operators to launch DTH services as Indian DTH is becomming very popular in Pakistan,because of its quality and reliability.I have a very strong fear in my mind that if Indian DTH operators started carrying Pakistani news channels,it will completely wipe out our cable and advertising industry.which will be a great loss to our economy.Not only this Govt of Pak will have no tool to control the media.It WILL BE extremely dangerous for our nation.PEMRA and information ministry should seriously think over it and formulate a policy for DTH.i am sure, doing this Govt will be getting good revenues and will be able to strengthen our own media,playing a vital role in changing people’s mind and portraying an actual face of our nation.
    Pakistan Painda Baad

  • I have read the news on online that in January PTV launch its DTH service. His set box price is 7000. Any body have more detail about this.

  • asad

    No signs of HD tv channels in pakistan, why not?

  • pkfunda

    why not?
    dht is very good.
    all people like it so much.

  • Syed TIPU

    PTCL needs only steps to occupy DTH Service all over Pakistan:

    1. Extend its Channels from 100 to 150, no indian but sky sports and super sports HD are compulsory.

    2. Availibility of PTCL Smart TV for every PTCL User as presently Smart TV Service is available only for PTCL Broadband Users.

    3. 300 per month is affordable for a common man, but having included device charges of 500, it becomes almost approx 900 per montth (300+500+80 tax) which is out of range for a common. They should set monthly charges of 500 in which they should provide free devices like they are providing free modem devices to their broadband users.

  • WASIM

    DTH Service is not successful in Pakistan Due to following reasons:

    1- There is no pakistani channel which provide full source of entertainment. They always try to show bollywood content. While cable wala broadcast Bollywood Movie as it relesae.
    2- More than 60% are news channel. 10% percent Entertainment Remaining 30% are religion,religious or cooking. Except few cable operators in large cities remaining show full indian channels.
    3-Like pirated Cds and Dvds People also like to watch channel in such way. They share cable among 3 houses and share the bill of 250 rupees per month. Even cable oprators receive channel illegly. Then who will pay for 700 per month for single Tv.
    4-Initial Price of Decoder may start from 7000. While cable is almost free.
    And there are many other reasons which may become the failure of DTH in Pakistan
    Pakistan Plans to Lanuch DTH system from 2003 and now 2010 near to over. But there is DTH company in pakistan while in india there are 8 Dth companies.
    Its a very expensive and risky buisness. Investors are not ready to take this risk. Ptv Take 35 rupees Jaga Tax from each and every house. They have enough
    resources but it is corrupt organization.

  • ahmer

    i 100% agree with mr.wasim , its very true what he have described . but im “still” waiting for 1st pakistan dth service to start and i will be the 1st customer .. :) what ever resources are available our people will make it happen . so, keep on waiting

  • Jeddy

    Why is that the Pakistani authorities are the last to know? DTH is coming they choose to ignore. PEMRA is stuck with its code of conduct, when the whole world makes fun of. PEMRA and PTA live a world of their own making, imagining everyone else exactly like them. They are wrong! People have a choice, they the freedom. PEMRA and PTA mean censorship of the kind which is completely unacceptable. If Pemra and PTA are going to be intolerant, then people with react with intolerance. There is alternative sources which are beyond the reach of PTA and Pemra.

  • majid

    i m also waiting for pakistani dth service but koi btaey ga k kb ye service on ho ge

  • In india their was many DTH PROVIDERS LIKE DISH TV (HD NOW), TATA SKY (HD NOW), SUN DTH (HD NOW), BIG TV , VIDEOCON D2H (HD NOW), DD DIRECT + (INCLUDE DD HD NOW),
    Airtel Digital tv (HD NOW),
    MANY PEOPLE WHO ARE USING INDIAN DTH’S IN PAKISTAN & MANY PEOPLE IN INDIA ALSO WANT TO ADD PAKISTANI ENT. CHANNELS IN THEIR DTH SERVICES…
    Because no source in india to view pakistani paid network like Geo or Ary…
    Nepal has also launched 2 DTH SERVICES…
    We are also very hopefully and waiting for 1st pakistani DTH…

  • Asif Ali

    I agree with my friends who are wating for a DTH system in Pakistan though it is not affordable for a common man. However, the subscription rate may be reduced if our Govt. and investers have some soft corner for a common man. For the time being, Cable TV is popular due to low charges but services are totally beyond the standard. The operators have monopalized the system by adapting a policy of “one operator for one area” thereby reducing the compitition to zero. Therefor, the subscriber is too helpless to say any thing to the operator to upgrade his services. Could this helplessness of a common man be reduced/removed?

  • Well thats a very nice effort and will b appericiated and tha price is also nice thats 2000 monthly but if it falls abit then it would be in the approach of almost every man. I have a question that how many channels would it be providing in pakistan against 2000 rs. and would it be providing the HD services and the 3D services in Pakistan

  • To inform you people that DishTv is legal? Because its Indian company and we have to pay 500-800 rupees/per month.

  • Naseer Ahmad

    no one is seems to be sincere in this sector, we are bored of bad quality cable which is hanging all around our localities, it is too late for launching DTH in Pakistan, there are proposal and in the end there is said to be more patient and wait untill there is a miracle in place, India is market leader in this sector and have do a lot in this sector, Most of the pakistanis are buying Dish tv and tata sky etc for getting better picture quality that suits to their life style, but it should be also noticed that more value is required to get better quality like Dish tv. There is going to be nothing in place, there are all predictions. nothing practical but we want to get rid of local cable operators which are toooo bad in quality.

  • kab ae ga pakistan ma

  • dth

    if dth strated in pakistan the rate of pacage is about 700 -800 in mounth it is very big price and no more chanals and not indians chanels because the tronsponders of satlite is abouth millons dollers price so any dth company not instrusted in pakistan and about 70 % papolation living in villiges and no instrusted and only 30% population living in cityies

  • Akhtar

    I think, cable operators have become a powerful mafia of Pakistan, would not allow people to enjoy quality channels and black mail to Government / PEMRA to not launch the DTH system in the country.

  • DTH Still not here, WTH..