Prasar Bharati to include non-DD channels and data transmission in DTT package

It's looking beyond its own living room. The Prasar Bharati, the holding company of DD and AIR, is looking at having non-Doordarshan channels and also the facility to transmit data in its package of digital terrestrial transmission (DTT) which will be experimented as a pilot project in Bangalore later this year.

The five-channel DTT project has been successfully tested in other metros like Delhi and Mumbai with the formal service likely to be launched in the Capital in about a couple of months time.

"In Bangalore, where we will be experimenting the DTT project with a 10-channel package we may look at including non-DD channels too as part of the package," DD director-general S.Y. Quraishi told yesterday.

Though Quraishi was quick to point out that the non-DD channels may not necessarily mean the direct competitors of DD (like Star, Zee and Sony), he admitted, "We may have some other channels as part of the Bangalore DTT project."

He also added the Bangalore project will also test whether data can be transmitted over the DTT network as value-added services which have the potential of generating additional revenue for the Prasar Bharati.

At the moment, the Prasar Bharati is negotiating with companies like the Mahendra Nahata-promoted HFCL for manufacturing of set-top boxes which will be necessary to access DD's digital transmission.

"Once when the set-top boxes are started to be manufactured in large numbers in the country, then their prices too will fall (to as low as Rs 1,200-1,500) which will enable viewers to go in for digital terrestrialial services," the DG said.

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