Notwithstanding satellite television channels' operation in Bangladesh for nearly three decades, its local transmission medium is yet to be modernised. The age-old traditional cable network connection at the customer level is still in operation, keeping the real digital system at bay. Meanwhile, there have been major changes in network and TV-set technology. Television viewers are being deprived of the modern TV-watching experience as the network services could not keep pace with the technological improvement.
We are on the verge of entering the digital Bangladesh era but a few things still hold us back - one of which is our cable TV. In the nineties, cell phones first came to Bangladesh. So did cable connection - something we called "Dish". We were exposed to a whole new world of entertainment. The antenna attached brick-size mobile sets have evolved into smart phones but our cable connections still remain at the same position as it was almost 30 years back.
According to Dr. Shahjahan Mahmood, Chairman of Bangladesh Communication Satellite Company Limited (BCSCL), customers are not getting quality services and can't get real experience of smart TV as the satellite TV connection is not modernised. Moreover, the cable network can't reach remote and isolated areas. As a result, a large segment of our population can't watch satellite television channels. Bangabandhu Satellite-1 is the ultimate solution to overcome these problems.
A 30-year old technology is now obsolete in the digital era as it has many technological limitations. It cannot provide the ultimate viewing experience even though we seek HD in every sphere of our life nowadays. Even if a TV channel is full HD, one will perhaps never get to know what it feels like watching a true HD channel only because the cable connection is backdated and incapable of transmitting the feed. To provide true HD quality viewing, Set Top Box is required and as analogue cable technology is not Set Top Box-dependent, it is impossible to get full 1080p view through copper cables.
Local cable dominates more than 95 per cent of the Pay TV market in Bangladesh. Mostly they operate monopolistically in their territories. As there's no competition they don't care about better customer service.
Bangladesh, the 57th country in the world to have its own satellite, a country with over 162 million population with 38 million households, has a 63 per cent TV penetration which aggregates to 23.4 million TV households. In many TV households, there are more than one TV sets requiring multiple connections. This is also a reflection that TV is still at the centre of family entertainment. Yet the TV viewers are forced to be at the receiving end of an obsolete technology which is depriving them of quality TV viewing experience they deserve.
According to BTRC Chairman Md. Jahurul Haque "There is no alternative to DTH (Direct to Home) technology to enjoy the full benefits of satellite television channel. The wireless cable technology, DTH, will be the ultimate solution. We already issued licence to ensure DTH service."
India found itself in a similar situation in the era of analogue cable-dominated Pay TV Market. But the situation started to change almost 16 years back there with the launching of DTH technology.
DTH users get signal directly from satellite through a small dish installed within their precincts. The small dish is connected with a Set Top Box, which is directly connected with the TV set. As DTH technology is satellite-dependent, there's no technological limitation to area coverage. DTH also is technologically capable of providing true 1080p HD channels and 5.1 Dolby surround sound, a far better quality viewing experience with true colour schemes, zero picture distortion or blurry view. Research has it that the picture and sound quality offered by DTH technology is up to five times better than what analogue cable can provide. DTH also can provide far more channels than cable as DTH is not tied to a fixed bandwidth limitation.
The launching ceremony of Akash DTH held on Thursday is obviously a welcome step in this regard.
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