KATHMANDU, April 30: Although the government has made it compulsory for television operators to digitalize their cable, many Kathmandu denizens have not yet converted their televisions to digital.
The underlying reason behind this is the fact that they are either opting to use the internet for entertainment and information, or are not willing to go through the hassle of purchasing necessary equipment to digitalize their televisions. Moreover, the cable service cannot be shared once it is made digital. This makes it dearer for a family to afford in addition to higher installation fee.
“It has been at least four months since I watched TV at home. The installation charge and the monthly dues to digitalize our TV is something I cannot afford to pay,” said Tek Bahadur Tamang, a local taxi driver in Kathmandu.
“When the TV was analog, we could share the same network between many families and the networking cost would also be shared, which would cost me just around Rs 100. However, now I will have to bear the entire cost of the service, which will be at least three times higher. So I have not digitalized my television,” he added.
According to Tamang, rather than spending for television service in four figures and pay hundreds every month for subscription, it is wiser to save this sum to buy a 20 kg sack of rice for Rs 1,200.
Tamang claimed that the government has pushed thousands of TV viewers’ years behind making digitalization a compulsion. “If a person like me who often makes above Rs 1,000 a day finds it hard to afford television, how can someone in rural parts of the country with minimal earning be able to pay for television?”
While there are those who do not watch TV simply because they cannot afford it, there are some others who prefer using online audiovisual sites such as YouTube over watching television.
“For me, YouTube has just been an alternative to television. Even though I have digitalized my television via Mero TV, I keep myself updated with the current happenings and entertain myself over the internet,” said Pranav Khanal, an undergraduate student of Nepal Engineering College. He added that the digitalized television network requires the hassle maintenance time and again due to technical issues, and thus analog television was much more convenient for him, despite the improved video quality in the digital television.
Seconding to Khanal’s claim, Sameer Rai, 35, who runs Jamghat Fast Food Restaurant at Sundhara in Kathmandu, told Republica that although he had connected his television set with Dish Home cable, he seldom has the opportunity to make use of this. “I am mostly at work. So connecting my TV to digital network is just for name’s sake. I do not get the opportunity to watch television at home, and the internet has been a key source of entertainment and information for me.” Rai, however, stated that although one might say television was not worth paying for due to easy availability of internet service, cable TV is still an important part of our lives.
“Although the youth population is well acquainted with internet service and they can use internet as an alternative to television, the same does not apply to the elderly people. Television is an integral part of the lives of senior citizens who live in the city areas. It is a means to pass their day,” stated.
While the views of Kathmandu denizens towards television suggest that people have been opting for other sources of information over television, cable operators also claim that there has been a fall in demand and sales of digital TV packages in 2018 than before. Officials of Sim TV suggested that the sales of TV service packages have plunged this year.