NDS reaching 20 million Indian homes

09.33 Europe/London, October 19, 2011 By Julian Clover
Dr Abe Peled

20 million Indian homes are now enjoying television services powered by NDS, executive chairman Dr Abe Peled said in a Broadband TV News interview. With estimates of five people living in the average household in India it means some 100 million viewers are experiencing pay-TV through NDS technology.

Dr Peled said the company had been fortunate to work with the country’s most successful pay-TV operators; satcasters Tata Sky and Bharti Airtel, alongside MSOs and smaller regional operators.
The introduction of the so-called CAS mandate has meant that even the man in the street knows exactly what conditional access is. “They’ve been debating this conditional access law for the last five years and now it has been announced again as part of a timetable for the digitisation of cable. 20 million is a lot in a relatively short time, but it is a small portion of the opportunity we believe is there”
Dr Peled believes the required scale that would drive the industry forward has not occurred because the government has not sufficiently pushed the mandate. “The equation of the lower ARPU and the digital technology hasn’t closed, but at this point the low cost set-top boxes from China are at $20, so even on a $4 or $5 ARPU you can start seeing how you can deploy digital.”
While SD channels come under price caps, this is not the case for HD channels, allowing operators to charge higher prices to India’s middle classes while maintaining lower tiered services. Dr Peled acknowledged that while HD and PVR were taking off, the lack of broadband meant that tablet-based services would take a little longer.
NDS has its largest software development centre in India, employing 1,700 people in Bangalore, working on projects not just for India but internationally. “I think that is an advantage for us, for example we can localise EPGs fairly quickly, so having a large local presence is clearly very helpful.”
Among the projects that the Indian team have worked on have been the middle tier PVR products as well as EPGs for customers throughout the world.