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Zee News goes interactive on Dish TV, sports to follow

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NEW DELHI: Dish TV, India's first DTH platform, announced that Zee News channel has gone interactive and Zee Sports is to follow suit from mid-September.

Talking to indiantelevision.com on the issue, Dish TV business head Jawahar Goel added that apart from interactivity, Dish TV subscribers can also enjoy all Star channels at no extra cost till 30 September.

"Interactivity is something that we had promised our subscribers as part of value-added services and over a period of time we have readied ourselves with the right technology," Goel said.
Dish TV interactive services also consists of a gaming channel and electronic programming guide.

An interactive Zee News will enable a viewer to watch a live programming, while simultaneously giving him or her option to access information on a variety of other topics via eight windows.

Information can be had in the areas of business, entertainment, crime, sports, top 10 news stories and weather report of 100 Indian cities, apart from the live news bulletin or programme being aired at the moment.

How does this work? A subscriber of Dish TV wants to see whether Indian tennis sensation Sania Mirza has won her latest match in the on going US Opens or not and cannot wait for the sports segments to come in the news bulletin.

So, while a news bulletin is on on Zee News, a few presses of the buttons can take the viewer straight to the sports section for the Sania news story even as the main news bulletin continues.

To facilitate interactivity on the Dish TV platform, the company has tied up with the US-based Open TV, a company specializing in such activities and features.

Apart from news, Dish TV is also planning to go interactive with sports, starting with Zee Sports. Sports interactivity will involve freezing of shots from a particular angle, getting player details immediately without having to wait for the sports channel providing it and statistics about the game in progress and sports in general.

The interactive Zee Sports will start on Dish TV with the tri-nation cricket series involving India, Australia and another country at a neutral ground from mid-September for which Zee has the telecast rights.

India began commercial DTH operations in October 2003 and by December 2004 reported over three million subscribers.

Hong Kong-based market research firm Media Partners Asia (MPA) has said India is poised to become Asia's leading cable market by 2010, the largest satellite market by 2008 and the most lucrative pay TV market by 2015.

Presently, apart from Dish TV (over 1.25 million subscribers), other DTH players active in India are Tata Sky and pubcaster Doordarshan, which provides a subscription-free service of free to air channels through DD Direct+ that has over 1.1 million subscribers.

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