He added, “Since we do not have much capacity at the moment to
include all TV channels that have shown interest, we have asked
Tam to carry out a survey and based on the popularity of a channel,
it would be allowed entry on DD Direct Plus."
DD Direct Plus is a free to DTH service offering 32 FTA TV channels,
including 13 private ones, and 12 customised radio channels. A subscriber
would have to make an one-time investment of Rs, 3,000-Rs 3,500
on the hardware and pay no monthly subscription fee, unlike the
country’s first DTH service, marketed by Zee Telefilms under Dish
TV brand name.
Sarma was optimistic that there would many takers for this service,
as about 45 million TV homes in the country don’t have any cable
service. In this regard, Prasar Bharati has distributed 10,000 set-top-boxes,
free in those states where TV coverage is below the national average.
A higher-end version of the set-top boxes, being manufactured by
private companies, do have an option for smart cards in case of
pay channels joining DD’s DTH platform in future.
The STBs being sold in the market are not branded ones, but Prasar
Bharati plans to float a tender inviting interested hardware companies
to make Prasar Bharati branded boxes after paying a minimum guarantee
on a non-exclusive basis.
DD Direct Plus, beaming through NSS 6 satellite, includes all DD
channels, apart from the likes of BBC World, Sun TV, Star Utsav,
from the Zee stable Kairali TV, Zee Music and Smile TV, Jain TV,
Aaj Tak and Headlines Today. The radio channels include All India