DD Direct to shift to Insat-4B in June

NEW DELHI: DD Direct, Doordarshan‘s direct-to-home (DTH) service, plans to shift to the Indian satellite Insat-4B between 1-15 June.

Though DD’s contract with the five transponders on NSS 6 closes on 31 May, it has requested the Netherlands-based company to use the space on one transponder till 15 June. The broadcaster will have to pay Rs 37 million for the extended 15-day period.

"Prasar Bharati has indicated to us that DD Direct would move to Insat-4B in the period 1-15 June," says Indian Space Research Organisation contract management and legal services director SB Iyer.Prasar Bharati pays NSS around Rs 225 million annually. The shift from the Netherlands-based NSS 6 will not only mean savings in foreign exchange but also clarity in picture since Insat-4B is better placed than the European satellite, Prasar Bharati CEO B S Lalli tells Insat-4B is located in a geostationary orbit of 93.5 degrees East, which is closer to Indian than NSS 6 which is located at 95 degrees East.ISRO has assured Prasar Bharati that it will not face any shortage of transponders. DD will initially be using five transponders but can ask for more whenever it needs them, says Lalli.

 DD will be able to beam up to 10 channels from each transponder. It presently beams around 32 channels of which 26 are its own. But this number is expected to go up to 50 with private FTA channels becoming available. Sun Direct, Kalanithi Maran‘s DTH service, has also booked Ku-band transponders on Insat-4B. The satellite has 12 Ku-band and as many C-band transponders for broadcasting and communication services."There is no requirement for more transponders from DD now. If they need more, we will make the necessary arrangement for them in a neighbouring location," says Iyer. According to a DD engineer, further compression is possible using the MPEG 4 technology but DD prefers to use MPEG 2 and beam fewer channels from each transponder “for ensuring better quality.”

DD officials have held meetings with cable operators, hardware manufacturers and multi-system operators (MSOs) to familiarize them with the changes that will have to be made to reach out to 4.8 million viewers of DD Direct.Doordarshan has circulated a four-page brochure to educate viewers and service providers about the changes to be made to their dish antennae and in the set top boxes. Though the service providers will make these changes, the engineer said this can be done even by the subscriber on his own. DD’s DTH would be available across five transponders in the KU Band on Insat-4B, on the frequencies 10990, 11070, 11150, 11490 and 11570 MHz on vertical polarisation and a uniform symbol rate of 27500 ksps.The engineer said each antenna has to be rotated (with the person standing behind the dish antenna) clockwise by 1.5 degrees to the right and tilted up by 1.5 degrees. The brochure gives details of how subscribers can adjust the STB on their own, in case the services of a service provider are not available.


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