With the permission granted for the Direct to Home (DTH) Service from the Ministry of Information and Communication, many companies are having their bird’s eye view on the Nepalese Television market for the high def (HD) content. This is DTH (Direct To Home) service of receiving high definition satellite imagery (not only limited to motion pictures, or television signal) direct to the consumer’s home television set.
Here in TechSansar.com, we have tried to answer the frequently asked questions (FAQs) about DTH service soon to be started in the country. All the replies are from authenticated sources ( communication engineers, professors of the field and the international references), while the same may not comply specific to content providers of DTH operators in Nepal. Many of the questions have been asked by our visitors and users. The questions/answers are presented randomly, there is no sequence of it. If you have one, don’t forget to comment.
Q1. What is DTH?
A: DTH (Direct-To-Home) is a service in which customers receive the satellite data or programs (in our reference the Television Programs) directly on their device (usually a set top box (STB) and/or a television set) with the help of a personal dish. DTH is same as DBS (see Q).
Though the customers can receive the data directly thru the satellite signals, the operators still can distribute those signals to individuals after receiving by themselves. The later is the pattern to be observed in Nepal.
Q2. What makes DTH work? How is the internal work going on inside the DTH thing for me to receive the satellite images?
A: Though individual customer do not need how DTH works on the transmission part, it is better to learn of the receiving process. The DTH network consists of the earth station (ES), satellite, encoders/decoders, multiplexers, modulators/demodulators, DTH receivers, set top boxes, television sets.
Earth Station transmits TV signals (our concern) in Ku band (12-GHz, this is the band for which license is granted by the Ministry in Nepal) to the satellite transponders (again this in most of the cases is Geostationary Satellites). All signals (pertaining to audio/video/data) are digitized or encoded and then multiplexed. The transmission and reception both is usually encrypted by the operator to prevent the unauthorized signal reception.
Individual users install a small dish antenna and a set top box on their premises and receive the signals. The best thing is that one can choose the number of channels to view or the data limit to use and this is totally wireless (at least to your home).
Q3. Why do I need DTH? What makes DTH superior to traditional antenna reception or Cable TV?
A: The world is getting high def. From Smart Phones to Camcorders to Television sets, everything are high definition enabled. We usually call them like HD TV, HD Cam (HD appendaged to the device).
The DTH offers better quality picture than traditional cable TV reception whilst we in Nepal using traditional cable TV is analog. DTH offers better quality motion pictures, stereophonic sound, remote access irrespective of geographical terrain.
Q4. Which is the best DTH service provider in Nepal?
A: Well, we can not answer this question exactly. The best DTH service is to be determined by the services of the operating company which fulfills the demand of its customers. Presently Home TV and My CG are the service providers.
Q5. How much does it cost to subscribe to DTH?
A: Refer to your individual DTH service provider. (We have no data or information about this, since the service providers are still working on it.) However, DTH must be cheaper as compared to traditional Cable Television in long run.
You need to pay only for the channels that you subscribe to. This lowers your burden unlike in cable television reception.
Q6. Do I need a special device and/or a television set to get the DTH served?
A: On a customers’ side, you only need a small dish antenna and a set top box (STB). You can purchase dish antenna and STB from venders (New Road side in Kathmandu or contact your operator).
A good Television set. Yes, a good one. Since the service is in High Definition mode (HD), if you have a HD TV (LCD or Plasma TV) that’s best. However, you can cope up with your traditional CRT TV set.
Q7. Is DTH a new service? Why is DTH just appearing in Nepal while we have been hearing the same for years in abroad?
A: Not at all. DTH is not a new service. The history of US Domsat ages to 1990 for providing direct-to-home television service. In Nepal, DTH service is the influence of Indian DTH broadcasting. Since there are growing operators of DTH and the subscribers in India, Nepalese operators eye the potential in Nepal.
We believe DTH operators will end monopoly of cable operators in Nepal.
Q8. I heard about Video on Demand (VoD). What is VoD?
A: Video on Demand, usually called VoD, is an interactive multimedia system provided as a data part of the DTH service. This service is determined by the DTH operator.
VoD is UIS (User Interactive Service) gaining popularity because a subscriber can interact with the service application (software installed on the operator’s part), VoD is a misnomer (read Q/A below).
Q.9 What more can I do with DTH digital signals besides watching HD video contents?
A: VoD is a misnomer. There are many more on demand related applications that can be used with the DTH service. We are still to see if DTH operators in Nepal will provide these on demand services.
a. Video Programs on Demand (strictly called as VoD)
b. Online banking
c. Ticketing (booking movie/air/concert tickets)
d. Home Shopping
f. Music interaction
g. Local News and Weather Forecasting (most common feature)
h. Educative interactive system
i. Remote learning facility
Q10. Can DTH operators do monopoly with consumers like those cable operators are doing in Nepal now?
A: What happens is directly dependent of the operators. This question was asked from Pokhara. Our user says in Pokhara, there is a monopoly in cable operator. There is only one cable television providers (every new cable providers exist only to merge into the same) and the huge monopoly goes on.
We at TechSansar.com believe that DTH service will change the way Nepalese watch television. Only the channels which we watch need to be paid, so there is greater flexibility. However, there must be open competitive market for the satellite communication field in Nepal for DTH operators to be more customer servicing.
We leave the answer to you, and the time to come. Hope DTH will vary in large from Cable Operators.
Q 11. Do you think DTH is a feasible service in Nepal?
A: The scope of DTH technology can be accounted over several factors. The demand and the need factors. Due to extreme geographical terrain in Nepal, DTH operators can serve their customers ranging from the base camp of the Mount Everest to the extreme west Mahendranagar, to the remote village in Humla/Joomla, or penetrating customers in wired web of New Road.
To be sure, there is a great scope of DTH service in Nepal leaving the policy of the operators – whether they want to make money fast (by heavy charging and so so…) or want to serve more customers (making money larger each year).
Q 12. I am fade up of my DTH service provider. How can I change my DTH service operator?
A: There is possibility to change the DTH service provider. And this costs you nothing at all. You do not need to invest for the set up again. The same set top box (STB) and the dish antenna is going to work for all operators.
Since DTH is a national service (or international service), subscribers can change the service provider without changing the STB. You can take you STB and dish antenna to any city or any remote place to receive the same service signals or even other countries to use with other service providers of that country. This means if you are using a dish antenna and a set top box in India, you can ask your friends to bring it to you in Kathmandu.
Q 13. How many channels can I receive?
A: The end user subscriber of DTH service can opt the number of channels which s/he likes. This is to say that if you are a cricket fan, then you can subscribe to your favorite sport channels. According to the rule, free channels are free of cost.
Q 14. I have 2 TV sets in my home. Can I use the DTH service on multiple TV or devices?
A: This depends on operator’s policy to restrict DTH reception only in a single TV set. For multiple connections in the same premise, the customer can use the same connection. However, this requires that every TV set need an individual set top box (STB).
Q 15. Do they transmit some free television channels as well?
A: Government owned and Community channels are usually free of cost and the DTH operators should not charge for this. The operators also might give access to some channels for trial or other advertising purposes. We are yet to see if DTH service providers in Nepal are generous.
Q 16. Can I get internet access from DTH service?
A: DTH is primarily a television transmission and reception service. It is true that DTH uses the same signal frequency as does the service for internet/data access. So, again it depends on operators.
But we don’t see DTH service providers giving the internet access to customers. And probably the same in Nepal.
Q 17. Am I going to purchase a new cable for this? Is the traditional cable which I used for cable television reception going to work? Is the DTH service totally wireless?
A: The DTH service is totally wireless, at least up to your home. Signals at your premises are received wirelessly. While you need device like dish antenna and set top box to transmit the signal to your TV set.
Obviously, there is no trace of the traditional cable used for cable television reception.
Q 18. What is fixed satellite, DBS and DTH service?
A: The fixed satellite service provides links for existing telephone networks as well as for transmitting television signals to the cable companies (operators) for distribution over the cable system or wirelessly. Broadcasting satellite services (BSS) are intended mainly for direct broadcast to the home. This is called DBS – Direct Broadcast Satellite service or DTH – Direct-To-Home service. DBS is the word used in America while DTH is the word used in Europe.
Q 19. Can you provide more information regarding transponder capacity and the channel bandwidth in DTH?
A. The 24-MHz bandwidth of a transponder is capable of carrying one analog television channel. To be commercially viable, DBS/DTH television requires many more channels, and this requires a move from analog to digital television. Digitizing the audio and video components of a television program allows signal compression to be applied, which greatly reduces the bandwidth required.
The signal compression used in DTH is a highly complex process, the bit rate conversion are estimated with reference to a aforementioned 24-MHz transponder. Satellite digital television uses QPSK modulation. The bit rate that can be carried out in a 24-MHz channel using QPSK is 40Mbps ie the bit rate of DTH signals.
Q 20. Which is the first DTH service provider of Nepal?
At the same time “MY CG” says My CGs DTH likely first in Nepali sky
We leave the answer for the time to come.
Q 21. Can there be regional DTH service provider? Can I open my own DTH operator in another city?
A: Since DTH is a national service (or international service), subscribers can change the service provider without changing the STB ( see Q 12).
You can open DTH service in any city or town if you have the feasibility report for yourself. Please, refer to the ministry for the same.
Q 22. What is the signal bit rate in DTH broadcast?
A: Okay, this is another technical question asked by our use. The compressed bit rate and the number of channels carried out depends on the type of program material. Talk shows where there is little movement requires the lowest bit rate, while sports channels with lost of movement require comparatively large bit rates in DTH. Typical values are in the range for MPEG compression standard.
One Movie channel: 4Mbps
One Variety channel: 5Mbps
One Sport channel: 6Mbps
Q 23. What are the modes of payment to pay for the channels that I watch via DTH?
A: We already explained that payment are to be done only for the channels that you watch or subscribe to. You can pay or recharge your DTH access via internet, mobile phone, scratch cards, bank deposits, direct retailers or agents, or as specified by the operator. In other countries, credit cards plug-ins for Set Top Box (STB) are also available. While we don’t see credit card paying for DTH service in Nepal.
Q 24. What is a Promoter Group?
A: Well, though this is not directly related to DTH. The promoter group of the company is very renowned business group in Nepal. They hold major stake in remittance business as well as banking and financial sectors presently holding more than 2000 own network through out Nepal. The credit worthy and wide area agent holding promoter group will definitely support for growth and successful implementation of the Company. (from: hometvnepal.com )
Q 25. Official websites and contact of DTH providers in Nepal?
A: 1. Home TV Nepal- DTH nepal,Nepal DTH,channels,movies on demand,games,first dth service provider in Nepal,full time infotainment,
2. My CG – mero manoranjanko direct connect, Chaudhary Groups’ DTH service.
More FAQs on DTH TVs Nepal coverage by dthnepal.com; listed below with comparative reference to Indian DTH Services
Does one need to put two dish antennae and pay double subscription per month if one has two TVs?
For multiple connections in the same premises, one can use the same connection. However, every television set will need to have an individual STB.
Also, DTH is a national service and the STBs enable a viewer to change service providers without changing the STB, even if one moves from one city to another.
Can a CAS set-top box be used for DTH?
No, these are different set-top boxes.
Why is DTH is being discussed now?
Doordarshan plans to launch its DTH telecast from April 1. The government has said it will provide 10,000 dishes free across eight states for increased community viewing of the DTH service. The government is estimated to be investing over Rs 300 crore (Rs 3 billion) in this DTH venture.
There are four serious contenders for DTH services in Nepal: Doordarshan, Star, Zee, and Data Access.
Is DTH superior to cable TV?
Yes. DTH offers better quality picture than cable TV. This is because cable TV in Nepal is analog. Despite digital transmission and reception, the cable transmission is still analog. DTH offers stereophonic sound effects. It can also reach remote areas where terrestrial transmission and cable TV have failed to penetrate. Apart from enhanced picture quality, DTH has also allows for interactive TV services such as movie-on-demand, Internet access, video conferencing and e-mail. But the thing that DTH has going for it is that the powerful broadcasting companies like Star, Zee, etc are pushing for it.
So why are broadcasters pushing for DTH?
In DTH, the payments will be made directly by the subscriber to the satellite company offering the service.
A big problem that broadcasters face in Nepal is the issue of under-reporting of subscribers by cable operators.
Consider the cable operators pyramid. Right at the top is the broadcaster. Next comes the Multi Service Cable Operator (MSOs) like Siticable, InCable, etc. Below them are the Access Cable Operators (ACOs) or your local cable guy who actually lays the wires to your house.
The local cable operators or the ACOs then allegedly under-report the number of subscribers they have bagged because they have to pay the MSOs something like Rs 30-45 per household. Showing a lesser number of households benefits ACOs.
With no way to actually cross check, the MSOs and the broadcasters lose a lot. Broadcasters do not earn much in subscription fees and are mostly dependent on advertisement revenue to cover their costs, which is not sustainable and does not offer high growth in revenues for broadcasters.
The way out of this is to use a set-top box so that it will be clear how many households are actually using cable or going for DTH where broadcasters directly connect to consumers and can actually grow revenues with a growth in the subscriber base.
Why do Doordarshan, Zee, Star think DTH will work in Nepal?
Today, broadcasters believe that the market is ripe for DTH. The prices of the dish and the set-top box have come down significantly. Overall investments required in putting up a DTH infrastructure has dropped and customers are also reaping the benefits of more attractive tariffs.
The major thing that DTH operators are betting on is that the service is coming at a time when the government is pushing for CAS (conditional access system), which will make cable television more expensive, narrowing the tariff gap between DTH and cable.
Will DTH be cheaper than cable or more expensive?
DTH will be definitely more expensive than cable as it exists today.
A set-top box is a must for DTH. Earlier, when CAS made set-top box mandatory for households, the costs between DTH and cable would not have been too wide.
But CAS on the backburner now — which means no set-top box (a must for DTH), the price gap between DTH and cable will be wide.
In Oct 2002, Siticable, which is owned by Zee, said that the cost of the installation equipment, which includes the receiver dish and the set-top box, would be priced at around Rs 3,900. Siticable is looking to rope in 1 million subscribers in 15 months.
Other estimates say that digital cable set-top box may cost Rs 4,000, a DTH decoder dish is unlikely to cost less than Rs 7,000.
DTH’s minimum subscription could be priced around Rs 500 per month.
Some reports say that an entry level DTH STB will cost about Rs 7,000 (including taxes and installation cost at consumers end). A more advanced STB with value added features like PVR (Personal Video Recorder), PSTN connectivity, Gamming console, channel management system, etc. may cost as much as Rs 15,000.
What is the history of DTH in Nepal?
DTH services were first proposed in Nepal in 2008. But they did not pass approval because there were concerns over national security and a cultural invasion. In 1997, the government even imposed a ban when the Rupert Murdoch-owned nepali was about to launch its DTH services in Nepal.
Finally in 2009, DTH was legally being allowed. The new policy requires all operators to set up earth stations in Nepal within 12 months of getting a license. DTH licenses in Nepal will cost large investment. The companies offering DTH service will have to have an nepali chief.
So, what’s the buzz? Will DTH finally be the one that rules?
The cable system is well entrenched in Nepal and is showing quite rapid growth. If DTH had come to Nepal in 2009 then it could have made a significant breakthrough.
Europe is an example of this. DTH developed there before cable and now controls nearly 80 per cent of the total satellite television subscriber base. But in US, cable rules because it came before DTH.
DTH will definitely cut into the existing cable user base. It will make the local cable operator less important and take business away from him. It will give consumers greater choice.
But it is likely to be an up market premium product and most middle class households will stick to cable.
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