TRAI working to make Interoperability of DTH Set top Boxes a reality

After Number Portability, looks like TRAI is working towards to bring Interoperability to  DTH Set top Boxes.If this happens then people will be able to switch easily and will bring lot of competition to the market.

There are currently 6 DTH services in India and all have different standards, For example Dish TV uses DVB-S as Transmission standard where as Airtel uses DVB-S2. Moreover there is alaos a difference in compression standard MPEG-2 and some MPEG-4. See chart below :


As of now there is a detailed report on technical issues which you can see here and TRAI has asked for comments on this by Sep 7 2010 from different stakeholders.

New Delhi, 20th August, 2010 – The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) today issued a Consultation Paper on Technical Interoperability of DTH Set Top Boxes.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has requested TRAI to review its recommendations – “Interoperability and Other Issues relating to DTH” dated 30th  January, 2008. The Consultation paper discusses the architecture of Set Top Box, relevant standards and the various issues on technical interoperability. Stakeholders are requested to offer their valuable comments by 7th Sept. 2010 and counter-comments by 12th Sept.2010.

TRAI DTH Comments sep0710

The technical standards of their networks are as tabulated below:
Sr.No. DTH Operator (year
of starting
Conditional Access Services
1 Dish TV (2003) DVB-S MPEG-2 Conax
2 Doordarshan
(DD Direct Plus)
DVB-S MPEG-2 No encryption is done.
3 Tata Sky (2006) DVB-S MPEG-2 NDS
4 Sun Direct TV
DVB-S MPEG-4 Irdeto
5 Reliance BIG TV
DVB-S MPEG-4 Nagravision
6 Bharti Telemedia
(Airtel Digital TV)
7 Bharat Business
(Videocon d2h)
DVB-S2 MPEG-4 Irdeto


  1. Hi Anand,
    I agree with you. And thanks for this enlightening. Its amazing how TRAI wants to be politically correct and in the background wants to keep it under wrap.
    There is one genuine concern though. The DTH operators are working in thin margins (or may be after reading your comments, they too are just keeping the real-facts hidden.)

    Thanks keep it up.


  2. Hi Anand,
    I agree with you. And thanks for this enlightening. Its amazing how TRAI wants to be politically correct and in the background wants to keep it under wrap.
    There is one genuine concern though. The DTH operators are working in thin margins (or may be after reading your comments, they too are just keeping the real-facts hidden.)

    Thanks keep it up.


  3. Let us get this right first, Trai is not using this consultation to promote interoperability at all, THe published paper is all about why there should not be interoperability.

    It is a well known fact that DTH licence regulation in India mandated the use of open architecture STBs , every operator who applied for those licences knew that very well, TRAI does not even bother to explain or ask, why they were not followed in the first place.

    Does TRAI ask for opinion of Competition Commission of India, which according to reports have already found the DTH operators of Voilating the competition rules

    Now the question is not if those STBs are interoperable or not, THe question is are they open or not, If they are open then they will be interoperable in due time,

    Every STB in the market today is very well capable of tuning broadcast from DD-Direct+, IT can be seen that these boxes are deliberately locked and customers are blocked from watching the DD-Direct+ channels, SO since there is no interoperability issue with DD-Direct+, why is trai not asking the DTH operators to unblock those STBs ? Especially when there is clear provision in the 2007 regulation that the boxes shall not be blocked

    Most channels we watch everyday are FTA channels from C-BAND transponders of various satellites, All boxes can tune these channels, But then every DTH operator has blocked the entire tuning facility of the STBs, Why is trai silent about that?

    Why should TRAI worry about the cost of STBs and CAMs , The dth operators must be forced to sell their CAMs and Cards compatible with any receiver, which has a CI slot of prescribed standard, If someone prefers to use his own STB, let him pay for it and it is for him to decide what he wants to watch, IF he want to watch MPEG-4 or Mpeg-2 let him decide, If TRAI has any sincerity and good faith in this matter it should mandate all DTH operators to offer CAMs and Cards for consumers who want it, Otherwise as usual we can safely consider this as another EYEWASH to cheat Indian public and steal their hard earned money and pay the DTH operators, It is high time consumer organisations started some compaign to BYCOT THOSE DTH OPERATORS who insist on their own STB to provide service.

    The DTH operators are on their part cheating both the Govt and Public, On one hand they keep crying that they loose money on providing STB to public, ON the other hand they will not allow the consumer to buy his own box, It can be clearly seen that they are only trying to cheat and tie up the consumer to them and force the public to stay with their dismal service.

    I really find it interesting that TRAI has shed a lot of crocodile tears and spend a lot of energy to prove that the so-called “value added services” of DTH operators will not be compatible to each other, Well so what, What if a consumer does not need any Value-added service and like me , just wants to watch TV channels, Why is the service which I do not want forced on me? All I say is let me buy an STB of my choice from open market, I will buy one with a CI slot as per the prescribed standard, and I want the dth opertor to sell or hire me a CAM and card for his service, So if I do not want the service, I can simply return the CAM and card and finish the matter for ever, That is the way it should be for me,

    Some customers would like the active services etc… of course, they can take the STB from the DTH operator and use it,

    THe other problem which is discussed is the EPG for those who want it, Trai should have set some standard for those too, THey can stull do it, like the ETSI standard for Europe EPGs

    Once such a standard is fixed, any receiver which complies with that format can easily display the EPG, If some dth operator wants to add his picture or ads and some consumer likes it, He can actually take the STB from the service provider,

    It is useless discussion and I feel it is a ploy to finally find that interoperability is not possible, The whole thing is a scam and this consultation will not be of any use to the public, Finally TRAI will find it is not possible to have interoperability and that condition will be removed, This exercise is nothing more than a staged act to do it as per DTH operators wish.

    IF YOU HAVE MONEY AND INFLUENCE You can get away doing whatever you want in this country. IT is the average working man like you and me who will have to suffer.
    THe Govt has no intention whatsoever to protect the interest of Indian PUblic at large. I will be closely watching the results of this to see if that theory is right or wrong.


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