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Atul Saraf’s ABS partners Videocon to enter STB manufacturing (1 Viewer)


28 Sep 2013
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MUMBAI: Atul Saraf-promoted ABS Group
has teamed up with Videocon Group to
manufacture set-top boxes (STB) for multi-
system operators (MSO), a market currently
dominated by multinational companies like
Cisco and Chinese vendors like Coship. The
STB manufacturing business will function
under a subsidiary company ABS

The company will manufacture both
standard-definition (SD) and high-definition
(HD) STBs using M-Star and Broadcom
chipsets respectively. The chipsets will
come integrated with the conditional access
systems (CAS) of all major vendors like
NDS, Conax, Irdeto, Nagravision, and

According to Saraf, the time is ripe for
indigenous STB manufacturers to make the
most of the opportunity from digital
addressable system (DAS). The STBs were
on display during the recent Convergence

As many as 110 million STBs will be required
for Phases III and IV of DAS. The deadline
for Phases III and IV is December 2015 and

“We got a very good response from national
and independent MSOs during Convergence
India. We will start taking orders from next
month to manufacture STBs. The chipsets
are already integrated with CAS,” ABS Group
CMD Atul Saraf told TelevisionPost.com.

Saraf said that ABS has worked out an
arrangement with Videocon Group to utilise
Videocon’s Aurangabad facility to
manufacture STBs. Videocon Group, which
owns direct-to-home (DTH) brand Videocon
d2h, manufactures its own STBs.

The Videocon factory in Aurangabad has a
capacity of generating 1 million STBs a
month in one shift and in multiple shifts
that number will go up significantly.

“Videocon will be like an original equipment
manufacturer [OEM] for ABS. The cost of
STBs will differ from MSO to MSO. We have
the capacity to produce a million STBs a
month,” Saraf added.

He also said that the company has been
testing the STBs on its network for the last
one year. “We have already deployed both
SD and HD STBs on our network to test
them,” revealed Saraf.

The biggest advantage of local
manufacturing of STBs is the availability of
after-sales service. ABS will utilise
Videocon’s service centres to provide after-
sales service.

“The biggest problem with foreign vendors is
that there is a language barrier particularly
with Chinese vendors. The other is that they
don’t have service centres in India. The
operators can also save on 10 per cent
import duty. We will be able to prevent
foreign exchange from going out of the
country,” he affirmed.

Another advantage of sourcing STBs locally
is the tax benefit that will accrue to the
MSOs. “The MSOs will not just save on STB
cost, but also on taxes. The overall savings
for MSOs will work out to 10–15 per cent,”
Saraf revealed.

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting
(MIB) has been harping on indigenous STBs
as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s
‘Make in India’ scheme.

The indigenous STB manufacturing industry
is expected to provide employment to about
50,000 people and would attract an
investment of about Rs 500 crore. It would
generate local support facility for repair of
STBs and would also help in smooth
implementation of the digitisation initiative
in the country.

The Ministry of Finance had last year
extended the facility of Form ‘C’ under
section 8(3) (b) of Central Sales Tax Act
1956 to STBs, thus fulfilling the major
demand of the domestic STB manufacturers.
Domestic STB manufacturers would charge
CST @ 2 per cent against VAT of 12–14 per
cent being paid earlier.

Atul Saraf's ABS partners Videocon to enter STB manufacturing | TelevisionPost.com

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