DEN bets on HD, 4K internet boxes as next big ARPU growth drivers
MUMBAI: Cable TV and broadband service provider DEN Networks is betting big on high (HD) and ultra high definition (HD) or 4K Android set top boxes (STBs) as the new growth drivers.
While subscription revenue in the digital addressable system (DAS) Phase 3 and 4 markets have been on an upswing, the company feels that it needs to invest in high-end technologies like HD and 4K hybrid STBs to move the average revenue per user (ARPU) up.
Another high growth area identified by the company is cable TV broadband. The company has unleashed an ambitious broadband penetration plan to bump up its broadband subscriber base.
“Investing in HD STBs remains our key focus area and along with the launch of new generation 4K android STBs. These technology initiatives are going to be the next growth driver for the company coupled with subscription rate increased already announced,” DEN Networks CEO SN Sharma told analysts during a recent earnings conference call with analysts.
Sharma further stated that the 4K hybrid STBs are priced at Rs 4000 excluding taxes. He also noted that the prices of 4K STBs have almost halved from the earlier Rs 8000.
“See the cost as of now is roughly around Rs. 4000 plus taxes, earlier it was double the cost when we tested and so the efforts have been to bring down the cost and we are successfully almost there, and these will be extended to the subscriber of broadband services and the cost has to be borne by these subscribers,” he said.
DEN’s 4K Android Internet TV box will provide unified TV entertainment across Cable and Internet. DEN is the first MSO to launch unique offering which has features like voice search for browsing through channels and other content.
The Internet TV box also provides hi-graphics games which use smartphones as a gamepad, apart from other Wi-Fi enabled joysticks. It also uses smartphones as remote controls and enables content sharing between mobile phone and TV. Using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, this will integrate with IoT devices and act as a home gateway across all devices to create smart homes.
DEN has no specific scheme or plan for the 4K internet boxes. “Depending upon the demand and depending upon the trend that we see after seeding few hundreds and thousands of boxes then we may decide on bringing out the appropriate plan,” Sharma noted.
During the call, Sharma also made a strong pitch for the cable TV technology. Citing the example of 4K service, he noted that cable doesn’t have the bandwidth unlike direct to home (DTH) players who have limited capacity due to limited transponder availability.
“The beauty of cable business is the pipes, the capacity of the pipe and the quantum of traffic it can carry, there you are talking of transponders and the limitation fixed with the transponder in terms of capacity where you are talking of the pipe, which has unlimited spectrum, unlimited capacity to carry unlimited number of channels irrespective of format be it 4K format, be it HD Ultra HD super HD you define any format in the world the cable pipe is capable of taking it,” Sharma averred.