Over Rs 15 bn for digitisation of AIR & DD

NEW DELHI: The Government has set aside Rs 9.34 billion for All India Radio and Rs 6.2 billion for Doordarshan for digitisation all over the country in the 11th Plan allocation.

Schemes of Rs 9.08 billion have already been sanctioned out of the total amount for All India Radio and are under implementation. AIR is already digitising with the adoption of the DRM standard.

Digitisation of AIR would help provide better quality signals to listeners through digital terrestrial transmission; digital transmitters will be able to carry multiple channels and so new programmes can be broadcast all with the existing channel on the same transmitter; digitisation of studio and connectivity would improve the technical quality and efficiency of programme production; digitisation of archives would help preserve the content for a longer period and enable access to heritage programmes; and save power consumption on transmitters.

In the case of Doordarshan, Prasar Bharati has already begun work on forty digital terrestrial transmitters and other equipment.

The allocation for DD covers the 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 eight analogue studio centers, digitalisation of Archiving facilities, and digitalisation of news automation system and e-governance and IT Scheme.

Earlier, a senior official of the Ministry told that the Ministry had prepared a proposal for Rs 8 billion to All India Radio and Rs 6 billion to Doordarshan for completing digitisation.

It was pointed out that while private satellite television channels beaming via direct-to-home, Internet Protocol Television (IPTV), or the soon to be launched Head in the sky (HITS) were already on digital, DD and AIR which were beaming terrestrially to reach all over the country had stepped up the process of digitisation.

The official said the work will involve digitisation of existing studios, establishment of digital transmitters, replacement and augmentation of old studio, transmitter and satellite broadcast equipment and setting up of High Definition TV (HDTV) facilities.

It is expected that digitisation will free spectrum currently used for analogue transmission, allowing more channels. There is a possibility that extra spectrum could be used by Doordarshan in a partnership model for revenue generation.
Two HDTV studios are being established by DD 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.

Out of 66 studio centres, 23 have either already been digitised, or are being digitised while 39 studio centers, which are partially digitised or analogue are planned to be fully digitised in the 11th Plan (by 2012). The remaining four analogue studios are proposed to be digitised in the 12th Plan.

It is planned to take up 40 locations where analogue High Power Transmitters are operational for setting up of Digital terrestrial transmitters (DTT) in the country. 14 obsolete High Power TV transmitters (UPTs) and sixty Lower Power TV transmitters (LPTs) will be replaced.

Satellite Earth Stations will be modernised using Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG) in the 11th Plan.

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