PEMRA Finalizes Minimum Standards for Digital Cable TV Set-Top-Boxes

PEMRA has finalized the minimum standards / specifications for Digital Cable TV set-top-boxes in pursuance of its endeavor to meet the cable TV Digitalization deadline of September 30, 2016.

It is said that maximum facilitation along with protection of subscribers’ rights were kept in mind while deciding the minimum standards for the set-top boxes.

Furthermore international best practices were also considered to safeguard the ultimate objective such as quality of service, un-interrupted operation of the equipment, safety and competitiveness.

PEMRA in its customized standards has made it compulsory for all cable operators and equipment providers to meet certain performance and audio/video decoding requirements, equipment conformity, electronic program guide and logical channel numbering etc.

Once the draft standards are approved by the Authority (in its upcoming meeting on March 30th) the same shall be available on PEMRA website for easy access of stakeholders including the public and subscribers.

Moreover, PEMRA is already pursuing Federal Government, FBR and provincial governments to facilitate cable TV digitalization by offering Tax Holidays and exemptions on import of Digitalization equipment (such as set-top-boxes) thus facilitating cable operators in meeting Digitalization deadline of September 30, 2016.

The Chairman PEMRA also held a meeting with the Chief Minister Punjab last week, whereas, a meeting with the Federal Finance Minister is scheduled next week to fetch maximum support for the cable operators converting to digitalization.

It is worth mentioning that Cable Operators Association of Pakistan (COAP) will replace analogue cable system to digital cable TV system by September 2016 across the country, starting with 12 major cities, at estimated cost of Rs 90 billion.

With Digital Cable TV, consumers will be able to enjoy high-definition streams on their TVs. However, an additional Set top box — that will cost around Rs. 5,000 — will be needed to get digital cable TV.

Here are the cities that will get digital cable transmission within a year:

  • Karachi
  • Lahore
  • Islamabad
  • Rawalpindi
  • Peshawar
  • Multan
  • Hyderabad
  • Quetta
  • Sukkur
  • Faislabad
  • Hassan Abdal
  • Gujranwala