ESPN Star Sports signs up Tata Sky, Airtel Digital TV for HD feed

MUMBAI: In what could mark a serious push for high definition technology in the country, ESPN Star Sports (ESS) has signed deals with Tata Sky and Airtel Digital TV to bring to their viewers the football World Cup and Wimbledon tennis grand slam in HD mode.

ESS had initially done a deal with Dish TV, India‘s leading direct-to-home (DTH) operator.
Earlier, Tata Sky’s move to obtain high definition feed of the soccer World Cup from ESS was turned down by the Delhi High Court. “Tata Sky is not yet ready to provide HD channels as the company lacked the infrastructure that is required," the court said. This basically forced Tata Sky to launch their HD service in a hurry. 
ESPN Software India MD RC Venkateish told the deal is just for these two events.

“Subsequently, we will decide on what to do with our other properties like the Champions Twenty20 League. If there is sufficient demand, we will offer it in high definition. It allows the operators to offer top notch sports content," he said.

DTH operators are set for a cut-throat price war on the HD front with Tata Sky offering the set-top box at Rs 2599. Now with sports broadcaster ESS widening its HD content, they will need to push their HD services more aggressively to expand the market for this premium product.

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