Telecom Regulatory Authority of India or TRAI has announced that customers will have to move to pay per channel system by the end of this month. While the new regulation was expected to come into effect early this month, the plan got pushed back by a month and TRAI has asked all operators and customers to select their channels and channel packs by the end of January 31, 2019. Now, in an effort to make the process smoother and easier for consumers, TRAI has introduced a new Channel Selector Application on its portal. The portal will streamline the process of selecting channels for DTH and cable users.
In order to use this application, DTH and cable users can head over to https://channel.trai.gov.in/ and it has been designed to make it easier for consumers to pick channels based on their preference. The application starts by clicking on the Get Started button at the bottom of the page and it then asks for your name (which is optional) and then lets you select the state in which you will be using the cable or DTH subscription. Once you select the state, it asks you to choose between Hindi, English, Marathi, Gujarati and Urdu as preferred language, which is again optional. The fourth step is to select the genres of your interest and it lists news, music, sports, lifestyle, miscellaneous, devotional, infotainment, movies, kids and general entertainment (GEC) to choose from.
At this step, you may select some or all or none of the genres listed and there is also an option to modify this selection later. The final step involves choosing whether you would like to opt for SD, HD or both as the medium of video playback. Once you go through all of these options, TRAI lists all the channels with sub-categories such as genre, language and the price. You can always change the language, genre, broadcaster and HD/SD playback at this last step.
TRAI says it has set filters based on the information collected from the users and lets you select specific channels, both “Free to Air” as well as “Pay Channels”. There is also an option to select bouquets of channels offered by the broadcasters. Once you are done selecting these channels, TRAI will calculate the monthly rental based on your selection. You can then look at your rental amount by clicking on the ‘View Selection’ button.
This shows the number of free channels and number of pay channels selected by you and offers a breakdown of price. There is also an optimize button at the top which offers an optimized solution for your selected channels and bouquets. The price shown on this page is inclusive of GST, which is calculated at 18 percent and network capacity fees. One can either download the channel list and pricing or print them for future reference.
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Apart from the channel selection and corresponding price on this application, consumers now also have an option to look for information on this new system on channel #999 and TRAI has also opened separate contact numbers to get information on this new plan. The move comes amidst ongoing case with Tata Sky and others. Those who have been waiting on the switch should select their free-to-air channels and paid channels by the end of this month. To recall, all cable and DTH users have to select the base pack which costs Rs 130 (or Rs 153.40 including GST) and add paid channels depending on their selection.