DD to introduce DTT service in the four main metros

In a move aimed at demonstrating the government's commitment to make all pay channels mandatorily routed through a conditional access system, national broadcaster Doordarshan is all set to launch its Digital Terrestrial Transmission (DTT) service in Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata from June.

To access the service a subscriber needs a decoder (set-top-box) which costs about Rs 3,500 and an antenna for Rs 150, according to a report in a leading national daily. The report states that there will be no monthly subscription charge for the service. 

DTT will beam 12 channels, five of which will be DD National, DD Metro, DD Bharati, DD Sports and DD India (earlier known as DD World but a name change has taken place effective 13 April). DD plans to generate revenue by leasing the remaining transmitters to private broadcasters to beam the remaining seven channels. 

The report quotes DD officials as saying that private broadcasters will be roped in before the year is through. They said that the national broadcaster is in negotiations with niche and city-centric broadcasters. 

DD director-general SY Quraishi has been quoted as saying that the aim was to provide a full-fledged bouquet that covers DD's role as a public broadcaster and a complete entertainment-cum-educational network. 

Quaraishi says he expects the price of the set-top-box to come down to as low as Rs 1,000 once its penetration increases in the market. Senior DD officials said that Consumer Electronic and Television Manufacturer's Association (Cetma) officials have expressed interest in bundling the decoder with new television sets that are to be manufactured in the coming months.

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