Dish TV takes the HD route

NEW DELHI: The largest international sporting event of the year ? FIFA 2010 ? will be available to Indian viewers on High Definition Television (HDTV), if they are subscribers of Zee Network?s Dish TV direct-to-home platform.

Dish TV today announced its foray into high definition ? Tru HD Service - around five months before Doordarshan takes to this technology at the time of the Commonwealth Games in October, and also said that it had entered into an agreement with ESPN Star Sports to provide the FIFA coverage in HD. FIFA would be provided free to subscribers of its Tru HD Service.
Dish TV Managing Director Jawahar Goel told a news conference here today that apart from ESPN Star Sports, the platform would immediately provide its flagship channels Zee TV and Zee Cinema apart from Discovery and National Geographic in HD format.

He said he was confident that the platform would be able to give around forty channels in HD format by the end of the current financial year. It was unfortunate that people had already bought TV sets that were HD compatible but had no HD empowered content, and this gap would be filled by its HD initiatives.

ESPN Software Managing Director R C Venkateish promised to get even more sporting events on HD.

Dish TV Chief Operating Officer Mr Salil Kapoor pointed out that those having HD Compatible television sets could go HD by simply buying the new set top box for HDTV ? 1080i -costing Rs 5,990. He said though the STB cost much more, this was the introductory price.

He said HD would have five times sharper picture quality as it used two million pixels per frame, three times the sound clarity, 16:9 Variable Aspect (screen) Ratio with a 33 per cent wider screen, and stereophonic digital sound with SPDIF connector.  
He said although another DTH platform had also announced use of HD, Dish TV had also bridged the gap between content and technology since its competitor did not have any channels. Thus Dish TV would provide HD from the stage of shooting to the stage of the TV set.

He said Dish TV had always been the market leader in DTH and today had 30 per cent of the cable and satellite homes ? that is more than 7.3 million. Dish TV had also forayed into mobile dish by provide Dish TV to cars, to airlines like Kingfisher, to some trains like Palace on Wheels, and to some select sea liners.

If the Asian Games in 1982 are historically connected with the intorduction of colour TV in India, FIFA and the Commonwealth Games will be recalled for the fact that they brought in HD technology into this country, he said.

Essel - distribution businesses Group Director Arun Kapoor said Zee had a library of over 5,000 films and had already converted 250 titles into HD format. He also claimed that the channel had the rights to the largest number of films ? 37 ? of megastar Amitabh Bachchan, which would be telecast shortly every Saturday.

He said Zee TV was today being received in 167 countries covering 580 million viewers.

He also said that other channels that would be brought into the HD fold shortly would include Zee Sports and Zee?s English channels

Goel said that it was expected that around 60,000 HD STBs would be sold in the current financial year and another 250,000 in the next fiscal.

Noting that superstar Shah Rukh Khan had been the brand ambassador of Dish TV for the past three years, he announced that a new commercial on HD with the star would be aired soon.

In a recorded message, Khan said his experience of working with Zee had been unique and he had found the group very creative. HD would be a huge attraction, he said.

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