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Home > Business > PTI > Report

Private pay channels go off air in Chennai

September01, 2003 11:41 IST
Last Updated: September01, 2003 12:34 IST

Much to the disappointment of numerous viewers, pay channels of private television networks went off air in Chennai on Monday, as the conditional access system came into force, even as the Tamil Nadu Cable TV Owners Association said its implementation in the city was in the hands of Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.

"Everything is left in the hands of the chief minister. If she wants, it (CAS) can be implemented. If she says no, it cannot be enforced in the city," association president, Kayal Illavarasu, told PTI.

The association, he said, would also send a letter to Jayalalithaa, pleading with her to reduce the 21 per cent sales tax on set top boxes, as a result of which the cost of each box would come down by about Rs 600.

A telegram would also be sent to the information and broadcasting ministry, explaining the confusion prevailing in the minds of not only subscribers, but also the cable operators, he said.

Meanwhile, a petition filed by a subscriber, challenging the implementation of CAS in the city, is likely to be taken up by the Madras high court on Monday.

The largely viewed Sun TV, Jaya TV and Raj TV networks, all free channels, were available, while a part of the 10-channel Sun TV Network, including Sun TV and SCV, Star, Zee and Sony Network, besides the Star Sports, ESPN, Ten Sports and DD Sports channels were off air.

Multi-system operators Sumangali Cable Vision and Hathaway Cable TV distributors said they had been receiving inquiries for STBs since morning, but "the requests for STBs is far less than expected".

Some subscribers, when contacted by phone, said they were not sure about the rates that would have to be paid for individual pay channels or the bouquets offered by them.

"The only thing clear is that we will have to pay about Rs 100 as fee to the cable operators, besides costs for channels viewed".

Cable operators and MSO's squarely blamed the Centre for the confusion prevailing not only in the minds of TV viewers, but also among them.

While Hathaway is offering an STB for Rs 3,000 plus taxes, the SCV STBs cost about Rs 500 more. Hathaway is also offering STBs on a monthly rental basis.

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