Recently PEMRA(Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority) has announced that it will be issuing 3 DTH(Direct-to-Home) Licenses to companies interested in establishing and operating DTH services and distribution in Pakistan.
Earlier, PEMRA held a pre-bidding conference on Friday, 9th October 2015, at its headquarters in Islamabad. A large number of potential investors including some local companies, mobile network operators and international players including Chinese and Russian companies attended the conference. PEMRA Acting Chairman Kamaluddin Tipu addressed the conference. The bidding/auctioning and the list of provisional winners is scheduled for 7th December, 2015.
Now, lets take a look at what DTH actually is. DTH, an acronym for Direct-to-Home. DTH is a digital satellite service that provides television viewing services directly to subscribers through satellite transmission anywhere in the country. It’s a fairly old technology now but finally it’s reaching Pakistan late just like 3G/4G but as the wise man said, ’better late than never’. In this a dish is placed outside a home which helps in receiving the signals and broadcasting the transmission onto a television. The signals are digital by nature and are received directly from the satellite. The digital signals provide optimum quality in all features and make viewing an absolute pleasure. Features like Full HD and Ultra HD 4K resolution, 16:9 Wide Aspect Ratio, 5 Times Digital Picture Quality and HD quality audio add to the incredible experience of television viewing.
The service is state-of-the-art in broadcasting and distribution technologies and has a number of advantages, including enhanced channel carrying capacity, better quality of picture and sound, value-added services such EPG (Electronic Program Guide), Parental Controls, Push, VoD(Video on Demand), PVR (Personal Video Recorder), Time Scheduling etc. It is also pertinent to mention that PEMRA had hired services of an international consultant i.e. M/s Digital Strategy Consulting & Service Switzerland after a competitive bidding process to ensure transparency in award of DTH Licenses in Pakistan.
Since we’ve described what DTH and it’s features are, let’s have a look at the current market. As we all know, the local market is currently flooded with cheap Dish TVs that are brought in through illegal channels and sources, these are available at cheap rates but the downsides are that no after sales services or support are available for these nor these come with any kind of warranty whatsoever for the hardware offered. On the upside, DTH has a lot of market potential for investors and it is expected that the service will result in a lot of investment & employment opportunities fetching speedy return on investment. It will also help with the fact that availability of legal DTH in Pakistan will also help curbing the proliferation of illegal DTH of neighboring countries in Pakistan which is causing loss of millions of rupees to the national exchequer annually. The launch of this service will be a step forward towards meeting the direction of International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for digitalization of broadcast media & distribution services. Moreover, the service will also stimulate HD/UHD content development in the country and emergence of variety of new channels. Also the latest UHD and FullHD TVs can work at their full potential and show true High-Definition content on the screens and other features of modern devices can also be used to their full potential.
PEMRA efforts in curbing the menace of illegal DTH were also highlighted. Participants were told that an advertisement informing general public and warning cable TV operators to stop using illegal DTH has been widely published in all leading newspapers today. Crackdowns against cable operators who are using illegal DTH for further distribution of channels are also initiated. Though this can take a lot of time and is difficult because of the extensive influx of cable TV in the local market. Also the service providers will have to come up with good packages in terms of pricing to make wider embracement by public possible.
What’s your say on this matter? Do you think it’s finally a good move by PEMRA to bring in a better technology to the public? Voice your opinions to us in the comments below. We personally think that it’s an excellent move and will benefit everyone including public, media and the government authorities in the long term and with competitive pricing this can really be a game changer in the media consumption market.