DTH

DD Freedish confirms MPEG-4 next month, NDTV says no decision on going FTA on any of its channels

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New Delhi: Even as two pay channels - Aajtak and Big Magic - have come on Doordarshan Freedish as free-to-air channel, possibilities have opened up for more channels coming on the platform even as it prepares to complete its migratiom to MPEG-4 next month. A Prasar Bharati source confirmed that the switch-over to MPEG-4 will be in two phases and the aim was to take the total capacity to 112.

Claiming that the Broadcast Audience Ratings Council (BARC) ratings had shown the importance of Freedish in reaching out to rural India, the source said that Aajtak and Big Magic which are pay channels are being run as FTA and have been accommodated in the current MPEG-2.

Meanwhile, NDTV denied any decision on turning FTA and coming on Freedish next month. An NDTV source said that any such decision, if taken, would be communicated through the media. A senior official who did not want to be named also confirmed that no decision had been taken yet on any of the NDTV bouquet channels going free to air, since this kind of decision could only be taken at the management and board levels.

Doordarshan sources also said that as all the 64 slots under MPEG-2 had been filled, there was no question of any other channel coming on. In any case, he said any channel which decided to come on the platform had to bid in the auctions that are held from time to time. All the slots under MPEG-2 were filled, the next auction date had not been finalized, the sources confirmed.

Freedish is adopting the conditional access system designed by the Bangalore-based ByDesign India Pvt Ltd.

The ByDesign model is totally indigenous and built for DVB-C setup. This CAS solution will enable broadcasters and network operators to control access to their services by viewers, and thereby enabling them to extend their business models to subscription based schemes.

This will mean that the Freedish will become encrypted but will remain free to air. In addition to helping increase the number of channels on the platform, this will enable Freedish to gauge the exact number of households relying on Freedish as encrypted set top boxes will only be available with authorized dealers.

The ByDesign CAS is provided by making access possible to content, depending on subscriber credentials, which are generated by this CAS and sent through the broadcast system to receivers in the field. 

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