DD to meet TV manufacturers on DTH-ready sets

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: Buoyed by the success of its free Ku-band direct-to-home TV service, Indian pubcaster now plans to hold parleys next week with television manufacturers urging them to make DTH-ready sets like LG has done.

"We have lined up a meeting with TV manufacturers under the aegis of CETMA (an apex body of electronics goods manufacturers) where we would urge them to make DTH ready TV sets to tap the rural market more effectively in association with Doordarshan," Prasar Bharati CEO KS Sarma told

LG Electronics India Ltd, which unveiled a DTH ready yesterday in Delhi, has tied up with Doordarshan for the purpose. The Digi Direct TV, which comes with a built-in DTH decoder, will be able to receive about 33 free-to-air channels, including 17 DD and 12 radio channels, on DD's DTH platform.

According to Sarma, though LG has not got into the black and white segment, Prasar Bharati, which manages DD and All India Radio, would urge other TV manufacturers to make comparatively B/w DTH-enabled TV sets that could be sold easily in the markets being targeted by DD Direct Plus, the brand name for the pubcaster's DTH service.

"I am optimistic that such DTH ready TV sets would not only sell, but would also make the work of competition that much more difficult," Sarma said, adding that till date about 20 (TWENTY) lakhs boxes for DD's DTH service have been sold.

At the moment in the country, apart from DD Direct Plus, the other DTH player is Dish TV, which is 20 per cent owned by Zee Telefilms. An application from Space TV, a joint venture between the Tatas and Rupert Murdoch's Star Group, is pending at the information and broadcasting ministry. Minster concerned, Jaipal Reddy, today said Space TV's application is in an "advanced" stage of clearance, but did not indicate a time frame for the final green signal.

Meanwhile, LG India expects that its Digi Direct flat TV range to contribute 10 per cent of its total colour TV (CTVs) sales in 2005. LG is targeting to sell 3.5 million sets this year. Pointing out that India has over 40 million non cable & satellite households (NRS round 2, 2002), LG India executives said this untapped segment was the main driver for the company's strategic decision to introduce LG Digi Direct TV into the Indian market.

With over 150 area offices, LG expects to reach all the upcountry markets of India for the distribution of this product.

At present, LG Digi Direct TV comes in two models of 21" and 29" flat. One model each in 20" and 21" in the conventional category will be introduced in March 2005. Introducing this new technology, K R Kim, president, South West Asia, LGE and MD LG India said in a statement, "Digi Direct is yet another innovation from LG Electronics that is aimed specifically towards millions of consumers in India who do not have access to cable and satellite network, particularly in the non-metro areas."

He added that LG Electronics has invested close to Rs.1 million towards R&D for the development of Digi Direct that will bring option of many more channels to the millions of viewers in India.

The in-house R & D team at LG's Greater Noida plant, on the outskirts of Delhi, developed the new hardware to integrate DTH decoder with television hardware and developed a common software which can control it.

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