After its successful foray in the Telecom industry, Sunil Bharti Mittal-led Bharti Enterprises is now evincing interest in the set-top boxes (STBs) manufacturing business ahead of Phases III and IV digitization. It is likely to make set-top boxes in partnership with an electronics manufacturer in the country. “Bharti is planning to make set-top boxes (STBs) in Pune in partnership with an electronics manufacturing company under its commitment to support Prime Minister’s vision on Make in India,” a source said.
Bharti already has a direct-to-home (DTH) company Airtel Digital TV, which adds around a million subscribers every year. Therefore, the STB manufacturing plant will get a captive order to start with. Besides, Phases III and IV of digital addressable system (DAS) will create a huge market opportunity.
The process of cable digitisation is under way in a phased manner, which is fuelling demand for STBs. Although the Government has announced that by the year end of 2016, IIIrd and IVth phases of digitalization needs to be completed, it seems practically impossible to meet the huge demand of 120 million STBs. The foreign STB manufacturers have dominated the first two rounds of digitisation with 95 per cent market share. Unfortunately the Set-Top-boxes (STBs) designed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) over a period of two years, spending a sum of nearly Rs, 35 lakhs remains abandoned as manufacturers find Chinese products much cheaper than home-made goods.