Chief Minister K Palaniswami, who distributed the STBs, also inaugurated the MPEG 4 upgraded control room for digital signal transmission.
A pet project of late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, AIADMK had promised free STBs in its manifesto in last year's Assembly elections and the launch marks implementation of a popular poll promise of the ruling party.
Approximately 70 lakh subscribers of the government-run Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation (TACTV) will now have access to 180 channels in digital quality at a monthly subscription of Rs 125.
An official release here said the STBs would be distributed to users through local cable operators. Operators are permitted to charge a one-time activation fee of Rs 200 from them.
Consumers have the option to choose from four packages, all of which includes both pay and free channels. While 180 channels are on offer for Rs 125, they get 230 channels for Rs 175, 260 for Rs 225 and 300 for Rs 275.
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