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.

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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


  • Umair Khalid

    at last HD channels

  • Bilal Iqbal

    channels to boht hon gy.. par (This Channel is Not included in your subscription) will be most irritating… :p

  • And what are the said standards. It’s surprising that the post is omitting them when the headline leads us to believe you might have an inside scoop :/

  • AbdulB1

    However, an additional Set top box — that will cost around Rs. 5,000…. while in India it is just 1000 INR according to amazon.

    • Amanullah Rana

      Area Cable operator is offering the set top box for Rs 3000 at the startup, now comparing with India 1000InR it should be around 1500 to 2000 this is a small difference as when it’s demand get wide and large prices will fall,

      • AbdulB1

        I am more concerned what happens after power outage. Dish receiver costs nearly 1.5 k and dish costs 1000. That combo is more cheaper than came in my opinion.

      • AbdulB1

        First cable will stop working after power cut. Even it is on generator or UPS there will be a disconnection each time for few seconds.

    • yoyokhan

      It will cose 4000 rs and you have to pay monthly rent for it too which is around 400 rs . so cable 500 + 400 = 900 monthly

      • AbdulB1

        Depends on cable company. But one thing is for sure they have planned to make huge money on set top boxes in Pakistan. I even said to my cable line man why he is charging so much if cable box (dvb-c) set top box is just not more than 25 dollars including air delivery to Pakistan via aliexpress . He had no logical reason but said we import from China and do our software on it.

        • yoyokhan

          can we use our own set top box and not pay the monthly fee?

          • AbdulB1

            no that is the reason govt went ahead with this non sense. only to increase revenue from taxes. As u have to buy set top box for each tv and pay for each tv, I have heard they also encrypt channels so u cant just buy a box from aliexpress and use it.

            • yoyokhan

              That sucks..

      • haseeb

        Ap ne lgwya ha digital box kesa ha or kitne channels aty hn

        • yoyokhan

          nahin lagwaya abhi tak aur soch raha hon lagaon bhi nahin

  • Muhammad Yasir

    how many channels are they offering ?

    • Amanullah Rana

      At startup around 280 channels are offered

      • Muhammad Yasir

        nice … how many of them are sports channel , esp those dedicated entirely to football ?!

        • Ahsan

          It sucks for football lovers, not a single premier league match comes on it not even highlights or news, i hate it :@

  • Engr Mustafa Mansoor

    Can anyone list down digital cable service providers in Karachi

  • AbdulB1

    Pemra should better shut down analog ptv first!!! as the 800MHz band is especially well-suited for rural areas.The 800MHz band’s signal propagation requires less infrastructure than high-frequency bands to provide wide mobile coverage, so mobile broadband can be provided in rural areas at lower cost.The U.S. and Germany have also auctioned off spectrum that was previously used for analog terrestrial TV.

  • SSyar

    so customers ko itna sab kuch karcha kerne k baad,.,. kya ptv aur ten sports pr telenor ufone k cards he hongey hongey ya match bhe dekhne ko milay ??

  • Habibullah Khan Mazari

    Will it be a hybrid system or complete digital.. Will Set Top Box be necessary?

    • Amanullah Rana

      When existing system completely shuts down which is not seem to happen within a year, set top box will be a must until then enjoy

  • Khurram Aziz Shah

    What hapened to the DTH episode?

  • Shakeel Zahoor

    Most of the Led Tvs now a days have analogue/digital tv tuners. What about the people who own LED Tvs with built in digital Tv tuner ? Will they need to purchase additional digital set top box and why if they already have it in their Tvs ?

    • umer

      no they dont need separate boxes as far as i know

    • Adnan

      Those LEDs which already have digital tuners in them won’t work. Because Cable operators opted for a band which is not available in LEDs and we need to buy set-top box which will run after we insert a key card (subscription on monthly basis). Now NO MORE FREE TV

      • Shakeel Zahoor

        I have digital signal on my standard cable but i have not installed a set top box but my LED tv has digital tuner as well but it was not working. Now i know they have separate band and keycard thanks for the information.

    • Amanullah Rana

      So much of technical. Each set top box has its digital code or signature which is recognized by the specific cable operator in case of built-in decoder which cable operator will bother to get it recognized by a his setup instead of selling his preprogramed decoder.

  • ysk

    So dropping DTH and asking people to buy new cable boxes…hmmmm

    • Amanullah Rana

      DTH is also on its way, but will be delayed so much that each one of us will forcefully buy that decoder from respective cable operator

  • Fayez Najeeb

    From what I’ve heard, the local cable operator is providing set top boxes for 4500rs with monthly 500rupees charges for the TV Cable service in Karachi

    • Amanullah Rana

      Rates would be different from operator to operator and area to area

  • Mubashir Mahmood

    Ghar main 3 TV hain tu kitny Set top box laynay hun gain?

    • Fayez Najeeb

      3 boxes..

      • AbdulB1

        damn 5k for everyone……….. and similarly paying for cable on each tv.

        • Fayez Najeeb

          Yes. 600 for the first connection and then 300 each additional tv..

          • AbdulB1

            depends on ur cable wala///

    • Irfanshehzad

      3??

    • Amanullah Rana

      One for each, hahaha

  • Osama Khalid

    The local cable operator in Sialkot Cantt is providing set top boxes for 5000 PKR with monthly 500 PKR charges for the TV Cable and it is worth it. Full HD channels and minimum 180 Channels. been using it for a year now and you get your moneys worth for sure.

    • AbdulB1

      acha theek per yeh batao what happens when there is power outage? cable still works?

      • Irfanshehzad

        No agr cable opreater na backup rakha tu thek nhi same analage cable ki trha bnd huga

        • AbdulB1

          Koi Faida Nahee. Pay per tv and it won’t work after power outage. This Nora will suck all blood from Pakistanis

          • Osama Khalid

            It depends on your cable Operator buddy. Mine still works during Power outage.

            • AbdulB1

              My cable operator was also like this then suddenly stopped offering this service.

    • Danish

      can we share one set top box on multiple TVs? or should we buy separate box for Each TV and separate monthly fees for each TV?

      • Osama Khalid

        Separate box for each tv. Well thats what i am doing. My family members who were using PTCL Smart also gave a try to Smart Box and are Satisfied and opted out of PTCL Smart Tv.

        • Danish

          are you paying monthly charges for each additional TV?

          • Osama Khalid

            Yup. But its worth it. Now i am getting 250 Plus Channels. 90 HD Channels.

            • AbdulB1

              set top box is not cheap sadly. 5k for one and charging for each tv does not make sense if you have many kids in the house. A HD satellite receiver even costs less than 1500 which has capacity to have 2000 channels.

              • nadeem

                Can you tell me the deatils about this HD satellite receiver that cost 1500 as you mentioned.THANKS A LOT

                • AbdulB1

                  go to any dish shop and ask them.

                  • nadeem

                    Thanks a lot mate.

            • Danish

              500 per month per tv?

  • Haxxan Raja

    Gud step

  • Waqar Ahmed

    I would make three points :
    As important it is for us to move to digital systems, it is also important for Pakistani channels to start broadcasting in pure HD. Right now we have only one HD Pakistani channel, SEE TV. Rest of the channels are stretched in our LEDs, resulting in streched unnatural videos.

    Currently cable providers also provide digital boxes. But my experience with them have been quite bad. Poor signals, screen freezes, almost same channel list. Not worth 5k. Ptcl smart TV is a better solution.

    Lastly if they are going to provide the same channels then people will not be happy as they will not see the worth in upgrading.

    • Akhtar Khan

      If they provide good service like full HD channels and uninterrupted streaming otherwise it will flop and free dish TV is good option.

      • salim

        Can you provide some details of free dish TV which you mentioned is a good option.THANKS A TON

        • Akhtar Khan

          Dear there are various free dish TV complete package like HD sim receivers and and other equipment s available in local market which cost almost once approximate Rs 6000. Every month u ve to get HD line from local market at the cost of Rs 200 and about 100 rupees easy load in receiver Sim total 300 rupees. In this way u can watch all HD channels. Par yeah pakistanion Ka jugad hair Jo taqreeban 1 saal sent ziada chal raha hai., baqi maloomat apko local market sent mil sakti hair.

  • Danish

    one Set Top Box will be used for single TV. What about sharing on multiple TVs with freedom to change channels on all Tv (not watching same channels on all at same time)?

    • yoyokhan

      each tv will needs its own set top box plus you have to pay monthly rent for it too which is around 400 for set top box..

      • AbdulB1

        Actually it is all done to make money in the name of digitalization. Pemra couldn’t stop analog tv airwaves of ptv and took direct swipe at cable companies.

  • Qasim

    i have hd set top box for almost 3 months. audio and video quality is just superb. got device for 5k while monthly paying 550 with 1 Led running Hd and the other is normal cable. i am very much satisfied. Go for it.

    • Faizan Latif

      can you take screen shot of channel list