Digital Technology – The future of Cable TV
The cable TV was introduced in America almost half a century ago. At that time, there were only a few channels that were broadcast on Cable TV Network. With time, the Analog Technology improved and the number rose to around 80 to 90 channels. When the cable TV first came to Pakistan, the cable operators usually used to air about 10 to 12 channels and the wire they made use of was either R- 6 or some other wire of a lower quality. Gradually, the number of channels increased. Starting from 250MHZ, then 350MHZ and later the equipment were upgraded to 550MHZ to 850MGHZ. In this way, cable networks also developed over the years and the RG-11 replaced the R-6 wires, followed by Hard Cable and then the cable networks were eventually connected into Fiber Optic. At present, in big cities, around 80 to 90 channels are aired through Analog Cable Network. However, via the Analogue System, not more than 80 to 90 channels could be aired. On the other hand, Pakistani viewers also want to watch more channels along the likes of their counterparts across the world. An interesting thing that must be mentioned here is that approximately 91 satellite TV licenses and 26 landing right permissions have been issued by Pakistan Electronic Media Regularity Authority (PEMRA). In several metropolitan cities of our neighbouring country India, the Analog System has been banned and channels can only be aired through Digital System/ Headend. Some cable operators in Pakistan have started the broadcasting of Digital System and quite a few cable operators are airing over 100-200 channels. The picture and the sound quality enhances manifold with the usage of Digital network. In fact, after watching channels broadcast through Digital System, viewers never enjoy channels aired through the Analog Network. We believe that it would take some time for Digital Cable Network to strengthen its roots in Pakistan. However, for the development of the electronic media in Pakistan, it is necessary to adopt the Digital Technology. In order to promote the said technology, the Government of Pakistan should provide the cable operators with more and more facilities. Also, the Digital headend equipment should be made tax free, and in order to acquire this technology the operators should be provided guidelines as well as the required training by the government. In fact, we request the higher authorities to introduce a three-year diploma in order to improve cable engineering in Pakistan, followed by a bachelor’s degree in the same field. The future is that of infotainment. Nowadays, people want to stay updated all the time, they want quality entertainment and want to see outstanding information programmes. They also want to view all the sports channels under the sun and what not. For all these things to become accessible, it is imperative to have Digital System. Only through that system it is possible to view hundreds of channels. We hope that the future of the cable industry in Pakistan is bright. Long live Geo TV…Long live Cable TV Operators!