DD to launch eight channels on mobile on 23 May

NEW DELHI: For the first time in India, a pilot project for providing television on mobile phones is being launched by Doordarshan, although trial runs have been going on since February.

Information and broadcasting minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi will push the key to start the project tomorrow morning in the presence of Prasar Bharati CEO B S Lalli and other dignitaries.

Lalli told that the pilot project is only aimed at reaching mobile phones within a radius of ten kilometer of the Doordarshan television tower on Parliament Street in New Delhi. After the launch of this service in Delhi, the system will be replicated in Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai.

The service will initially be free to air and the channels available on the Digital Video Broadcasting Handheld (DVB-H) mode will be: DD National (DD 1), DD News, DD Bharati, DD Sports, DD Urdu, DD Bangla and DD Podhigai.

While admitting that Nokia had been the first to demonstrate the capability of showing television signals on mobiles, he said the scheme was ?vendor neutral? and any mobile provider could download the signals and telecast them. He denied reports of a commercial tie-up with any company.

Lalli claimed that the test runs for DVB-H had been successful, and expressed the hope that the number of channels would be raised to ten to 15 in the next few months.

According to him, the cost of the TV compatible handset had been brought down to Rs 18,000 from the initial Rs 32,000 and may come down further to around Rs 6,000.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that Bharti Telesoft is offering its proprietary technology to GSM mobile service providers and expects to have half-a-million subscribers watch TV on mobiles within six months of starting the service in May. The technology involves compressing an audio file to four to five times smaller than MP3 (audio format) and delivers a video format up to 10 times more efficient than MPEG-4 (video format), the company claimed.

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