Relying on signals transmitted from a satellite to a receiving dish and from there to a set-top signal-decoding box, rather than through cables, digital TV can transmit anywhere, delivering more channels and better picture quality.
“Digital TV is going to change the dynamics of the Indian TV marketplace,” says Vivek Couto of Media Partners Asia, a consultancy in Hong Kong, who sees a looming commercial battle between digital and cable companies.
Mr. Couto expects India to have 12 million paying subscribers to digital TV by 2015 — a huge jump from just 400,000 currently — generating 45 billion rupees, or about $1 billion, in annual revenue. Cable connections are expected to exceed 70 million by then, he says.
There is pent-up demand for such service. India is the world’s third-largest television market with 108 million TV-equipped households, a number that is growing by about nine million a year. But that still leaves half of all Indian households without a television set. Moreover, many existing TVs are old 14-inch (35-centimeter) black-and-white models that can’t receive some satellite channels via cable, even if cable operators were willing to hook up remote areas for new subscribers.