Doordarshan geared up for HDTV coverage of Commonwealth Games

NEW DELHI: Doordarshan has begun a major exercise in educating the multi-system operators and cable operators about high definition television which will be introduced in the country along with the Commonwealth Games in October this year.

Doordarshan director-general Aruna Sharma told that she had met representatives of multi-system operators (MSOs) and cable operators in Mumbai and Delhi to answer any queries about HDTV.

This will be the first time in Commonwealth Games history that the event is being broadcast in High Definition digital, also marking a critical milestone for Indian television.
Sharma said that introduction of HDTV will not necessarily mean buying new television sets. The plasma screen TV sets are already geared for HDTV. For the other TV sets, it may be necessary to replace the set top box.

Doordarshan is establishing two HDTV studios in Delhi and Mumbai, and field production and post production facilities in four metros. The HDTV uplink will be set up at Delhi and HDTV terrestrial transmitters will be installed in four metros.

The XIX Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010 will be held from 3 to 14 October. The competition will feature 17 sports, with around 8,500 athletes and officials from 71 Commonwealth Games Federation member countries expected to attend.

Sharma denied that Doordarshan had sought any increase over the budget allocated for the games – Rs 3.66 billion. However, she said this figure is for coverage of the games and does not include expenditure being incurred by Doordarshan as rights holder broadcaster.

Sharma said the pact with Satellite Information Services Live was working according to plan. The agreement with SIS was for a contract price of Rs 2.46 billion.

Under the terms of the agreement, SIS LIVE will provide all the production facilities and personnel to cover 17 different sports across 12 venues in Delhi, as well as the Games’ opening and closing ceremonies.

Sharma said Doordarshan is deputing 50 personnel for covering three events – wrestling (for which a new stadium is being built next to Nehru Stadium), boxing and weight-lifting. Other events will be covered by the SIS teams.

Apart from providing the technical infrastructure to cover the Games, SIS LIVE is providing over 1,000 highly skilled technical and production staff at the 12 venues.

Australia ’s Global Television with its Indian partner Shaf Broadcast are designing, installing and will operate the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) for the Games.

The IBC is the hub for all Commonwealth Games broadcasting activity, handling incoming television pictures and sound from the host broadcaster, distributing that footage to international rights holders and managing rights holders’ outgoing transmissions. 
The Delhi Commonwealth Games IBC will house studio and reporting facilities for broadcasters and journalists from around the world. Occupying 8,000 square meters, up to 1,500 broadcast professionals will be based at the IBC.

Sharma said the Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Limited (BESIL) had been contracted as a delivery partner on a turn-key basis for setting up the Main Press Centre at Pragati Maidan. An expenditure of Rs 317.5 million is to be incurred on this work, which includes carrying out media operations at the Main Press Centre and the venue Media Centres for the Games. BESIL is expected to complete its work by 30 September.

Doordarshan earlier this month received clearance of Rs 6.20 billion for digitalisation of 40 transmitters and studios in the Doordarshan network during the 11th Plan. This includes networking of DTT through satellite, augmentation of DMCs by providing equipment and facilities for maintaining the digital infrastructure, providing five sets of digital measurement equipment at zonal offices, providing 60 UPS at High Power Transmitters to ensure uninterrupted power supply, R&D and Training, digitalisation of 31 partially digitalised and 8 analogue studio centers, digitalisation of archiving facilities, and digitalisation of news automation system and e-governance and IT Scheme.

Earlier, Doordarshan had set aside an amount of Rs 12.09 billion of a total approved outlay of Rs. 13.69 billion just for digitization in the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-2012).

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