Television

Sony Entertainment takes HD route in the US

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MUMBAI: From now on, viewers in America can enjoy their favorite SET (Sony Entertainment Television) Asia programmes including some of the popular shows like Kaun Banega Crorepati, Sanjeev Kapoor Ke Kitchen Khiladi, Bharat Ka Veer Putra – Maharana and the World Television Premier blockbusters in high definition (HD).

Recently, the network — part of Multi Screen Media (MSM) — announced that it had made its HD feed available on direct to home platform Dish and the IPTV service Dishworld. While most Indian channels are already available as a part of several packages on Dish and DishWorld, the only ones that also have a HD version are Zee TV, Star India Plus and Willow Cricket. Amongst the GECs, the only one which is yet to get its HD channels running in the US is Colors.

Talking about the development, SVP of International Business, head of North America Jaideep Janakiram said in a press release: “Sony Entertainment Network has always embraced excellence in content and quality, going HD is another step in that direction. SET Asia will continue to keep its viewers in the entertainment forefront, and I am sure that our consumers will enjoy the enhanced viewer experience.”

Industry sources say that the HD offerings by Indian GECs have not found too many takers as yet in the US and that it is still at a very nascent stage there and it would require some time to grow. “But it would reap benefits,” says IndiaCast group COO Gaurav Gandhi, who believes that the US is probably the most lucrative amongst international markets for Indian broadcasters. “The Indian TV networks have been earning a lot from the American market, especially with popular channels like Star, Zee, Colors and Sony,” says Gandhi.

Indian channels are classified in the south Asian bouquet provided by Dish in the US. And they are available in various packages, according to its website. At the top of the heap is the Mega Pack, which offers blockbuster movies, music videos, action-packed thrillers, the biggest reality shows, sitcoms, family drama, up-to the minute news and current affairs, and lifestyle at $54.99 per month.

“Hindi Mega Pack is the No 1 choice for Hindi Television Entertainment in the US and is sure to enthrall every member of the family...with no activation fee and free standard installation," writes Dish on its website.

The two platforms have many more interesting packages on offer that clubs some of the popular channels. Interestingly, DishWorld offers an exclusive “Sony Package” at $ 14.95 per month that has on offer all the four channels — Sony HD, SET MAX, SAB and Sony Mix. Besides, the package also includes “13 great English International channels” for free including Eurochannel, Euronews, Trace Urban, Blue Ocean Network, Baby TV, Ebru TV, LUXE TV, France 24 (English), Fashion TV, Zoom, NDTV 24/7, RT and Bloomberg.

Dish too has special packages. A package that clubs Zee and Sony is available at $ 24.99 per month and includes Zee TV and Sony Entertainment Televison Asia, both HD and standard definition. The package in its programming also includes game shows, live concerts and talk shows daily news feeds, music videos and more.

Another package, available at the same price, has Sony Entertainment Television Asia and Aapka Colors and the programming includes fresh new shows, dramas and serials, news and movies from Bollywood, the biggest reality shows and a lot of other things.

Other packages in which Sony Entertainment Television Asia is available are Hindi: Premium at $44.99, Hindi: Super at $39.99 and Hindi Elite at $34.99 per month each.

Interestingly, SET Asia HD will be available on both Dish platforms at no additional cost to subscribers. Satellite customers can just tune in on HD channel 9663; subscribers who do not have an HD receiver can only access SET Asia in standard definition on channel 695.

Dish director of programming, Sruta Vootukuru said: “DISH is the leading provider of HD international content to viewers in the US, and we are pleased to add SET Asia HD to this impressive lineup. We remain committed to offering the best programming options to our nation’s South Asian communities interested in high-definition entertainment from their home countries.”

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