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DD sets in motion rollout of MPEG 4 STBs for expansion of Freedish

MUMBAI: Doordarshan has set in motion the process of rolling out encrypted MPEG 4 set-top boxes (STB) for its free DTH service Freedish.

The plan is to roll out MPEG 4 STBs within four months. It will start with 24 channels and then add capacity in phases. DD Freedish will also get additional transponders to expand the service.

The pubcaster has floated tender for appointing authorised STB original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

AK_jha“We have issued tender for rolling out MPEG 4 STBs. We hope to roll out MPEG 4 STBs in 3–4 months. The MPEG 4 STBs will have 24 channels to be with. We will add capacity in phases,” Doordarshan deputy director general (DTH) AK Jha told TelevisionPost.com.

The authorised OEMs will sell Doordarshan-approved CAS and firmware/middleware-enabled STBs. The e-application, which was issued on 20 September, will open on 25 October.

Successful vendors will have to deliver the STBs in three months. A pre-bid conference for the tender will be held in Doordarshan Bhawan on 3 October.

The target is to provide 250 channels through the MPEG 4 STBs. Freedish will also get additional transponders for expanding its service. “We will get additional transponders for providing 250 channels. Currently, we have six transponders,” Jha added.

Freedish currently provides 80 TV channels and 30 radio channels through MPEG 2 STBs. This is likely to be enhanced to 104 SDTV channels and 40 radio channels in the near future with the introduction of new MPEG-4, DVB-S2 stream.

At present, Doordarshan has not authorised any entity to sell the received equipment, which is available in the open market and can be purchased from any TV dealer.

Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore had earlier informed the Lok Sabha that the equipment for upgrade of Freedish for telecast of 112 TV channels had been installed.

Former I&B minister Arun Jaitley had said that Freedish would get additional transponder capacity on GSAT-15 to enhance its capacity to 250 channels as part of the approved 12th Plan. The Department of Space (DoS) had agreed in principle to provide additional transponders on the new GSAT-15 satellite required for upgrade to 250 TV channels, Jaitley had said.

The conditional access system (CAS) in the STBs will be based on iCAS. Developed by the Department of Electronics & Information Technology, iCAS will initially be introduced only in MPEG-4 DVB-52 channels to count the total number of active subscribers.

DD will set up a customer care service through call centre for implementation of CAS. The CAS-enabled STBs purchased from DD-authorised dealers/distributors will be registered by customers on DD DTH network through the call centre, and Doordarshan will have the database of all its active customers and STBs.

A customer can log his/her complaint with the call centre of Doordarshan. The call centre of the authorised STB OEMs will finally redress the complaint of the customer related to the STB.

As per the tender document, the STB OEM should be an Indian entity registered/recognised/incorporated under the respective applicable laws and in existence for at least one year. It will have to submit documents of the proof of its existence and activity issued by any central or state government.

The STB OEM should have manufactured at least 50,000 STBs in the preceding financial year (2015–16) in its own manufacturing unit/units located in India or at any electronic manufacturing services (EMS) facility located in India.

Documents substantiating the claim in this regard such as certificate from the manufacturing unit of the STB OEM regarding manufacture of the requisite number of STBs, along with other relevant documents, should be submitted with the application.

The STB OEM’s annual turnover from sale of DVB-S/S-2/ DVB-C/ DVB T/ T2 STBs should be at least Rs 5 crore (Rs 50 million) in FY15–16.

Documents substantiating the claim in this regard should be submitted with the application. The turnover should be of the STB OEM interested to get authorisation to sell alone and not include the turnover of any subsidiary/sister concern. The STB OEM should also provide the copy of Income Tax return filed for the preceding financial year.

DD free dishThe STB OEM should be registered with the Excise/Sales Tax /Service Tax departments. A copy of the Excise/VAT/ST/CST/service registration from the departments concerned and a copy of PAN should also be submitted along with the application.

The maximum retail price (MRP) of the DTH receiver set has been fixed at Rs 2,000 per STB, which cannot be exceeded by any OEM.

The STB will have to be BIS compliant. Every STB must have BIS certification marking along with the Freedish logo. The STB OEM will have to provide after sales maintenance support in the form of direct service centres or franchisees or OEM service centres.

A list of such maintenance support centres should be submitted along with the application. Escalation matrix for providing sales and support function should also be provided.

The STB OEM must provide after-sales support to the subscriber during the contract period of five years or for at least three years from the date of sale of the STB, whichever is later, failing which the performance bank guarantee (PBG) will be encashed.

The PBG will be 5% of the total value of iCAS and DD-approved firmware/middleware-enabled STBs in the Indian market. The PBG will be valid for five years and 60 days from the date of authorising the STB OEM by signing the agreement.

The STB OEM will have to provide a list of service centres along with the contact number and address to Doordarshan for DD iCAS and firmware/middleware-enabled STBs.

Doordarshan will authorise the STB OEM, initially for a period of five years, which can be further extended, subject to satisfactory quality of service. It will authorise the Indian STB OEMs to sell iCAS and DD-approved STBs for a minimum of 25,000 units and multiples thereof. No proposal will be considered for DD authorisation below this quantity.

The STBs of the STB OEM should not have a quarterly failure rate of more than 0.1% of the total deployed/registered STBs. Doordarshan will levy a penalty to the extent indicated below, if the quarterly failure rate exceeds 0.1%.

The penalty will be 2% of the PBG if the failure rate is above 0.1%. For failure rate of 1–5%, the penalty will be 5%. For failure rate of 5–10%, the penalty will be 10%. If the failure rate of STBs exceeds 10%, DD will encash 90% of the PBG.

If the quarterly failure rate increases beyond 10% for three quarters, then Doordarshan may terminate the authorisation to sell and in such case Doordarshan will have the right to encash the entire PBG amount of the STB OEM.

The OEM can terminate the MoU after three years from the date of commencement of the agreement by giving a one month’s notice. DD can terminate the agreement without assigning any reason with one month’s notice.

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