TRAI Recommends Making Digital Set-Top-Boxes Interoperability: What This Means for You

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TRAI recommends “Interoperability should be supported in India. For this, the STBs given to the users must be interoperable.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended that all DTH and cable set-top box operators support interoperability. Along with this, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has also requested to make this service mandatory by introducing the required provisions. Let us tell you that through interoperable set-top boxes, users will be able to change their cable operator without changing the set-top box.

Talking about the current situation, the STBs that the operators are currently providing are non-interoperable. In such a situation, these STBs cannot be used for interoperability.TRAI TV

TRAI recommends, “Interoperability should be supported in India. For this, the STBs given to the users must be interoperable. ” In addition, TRAI also wants to form a coordination committee by the I&B ministry. It will include representatives from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, TRAI, Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) members and TV manufacturers. TRAI has stated that this committee can implement the revised STB standards for DTH and cable TV.

In addition, DTH and Multi-System Operators (MSOs) will be given 6 months to adopt the new standards. According to TRAI’s website, the new standard DVB CI Plus 2.0 is. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) may include an appropriate clause mandating set-top box interoperability service in it. TRAI states that MIB should make appropriate amendments to the standards for STBs in association with BIS.

It also stated that TV manufacturers have been asked to provide an open interface port to all-digital television sets that should be based on DVB CI Plus 2.0. It has also stated that manufacturers will also have to provide built-in tuners in TV sets that enable them to provide television content through both satellite and cable platforms.

It prescribed that a six month period may be given to DTH operators and MSOs to adopt DVB CI Plus 2.0 standards (with USB CAM) as per the ETSI TS 103 605 standards from the date of I&B Ministry notifications. “I&B Ministry may also coordinate with BIS so that suitable amendments are brought within this time frame,” it said.TRAI

As per the TRAI notification, specifications must also mandate TV manufacturers to provide all-digital television sets with minimum one open interface port based on DVB CI Plus 2.0 standards permitting simple connection of USB CAM to allow reception of television signals. They must also provide the digital television sets with built-in tuners to enable reception of television content through both satellite and cable platforms.

Presently the STBs deployed in the Cable TV networks are non-interoperable, i.e. the same STB cannot be used interchangeably across the different service providers. The recommendations have been placed on TRAI’s website www.trai.gov.in. The regulator had on November 11, 2019 sought stakeholder response on the proposal after issuing a suo-moto consultation paper on ‘Interoperability of Set-Top Box’. An open house discussion was conducted on January 29, 2020.

“TRAI has been engaging with the stakeholders for quite some time for introducing STB interoperability. Affordability of STB remains an important criterion and any suggested solution should not cause undue increase in price of STB. Ensuring proper content security, strong anti-piracy features, and flexibility while keeping the STB costs reasonable are the main challenges for achieving STB interoperability,” it added.

Lingraj Sahu
Lingraj is one of the youngest members of PhoneTalk, and a recent tech geek convert. When he's not churning out articles, you’ll find him watching sports, exploring new places, and listening to music.