Television

Interoperability wouldn’t support VAS, interactivity: Kaushik

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NEW DELHI: With the arrival of the second pay DTH player in the market, a buzz word would be interoperability, meaning whether consumers can switch from one service to another effortlessly.

Though Indian government norms specify that all DTH systems need to be interoperable for consumer’s convenience, in reality it may not be so.

Vikram Kaushik, MD and CEO of Tata Sky, which launched its commercial service on 8 August, hinted that interoperability may be limited.

“Interoperability may not support interactive and value added services,” Kaushik admitted to a specific query on the issue today in Delhi.

Tata Sky consumer marketing head Vikram Mehra explained that for seamless interoperability of all services, including interactive services, DTH service providers must have similar software.
“In the absence of some (proprietary) software, value added services of a DTH platform may not get supported when a consumer changes the service provider. Yes, the TV channels would be available and that’s what government rules specify,” Mehra elaborated.

What does this mean?

If an existing Dish TV consumer, wants to switch over to Tata Sky service and hopes just a replacement of the smart card in the set-top box would give him all the features of Tata Sky, then he would have to think again.

Features like interactive news and sports and some value added services like movie-on-demand of Tata Sky would not be available by just inserting a Tata Sky smart card in a set-top box bought/rented from Dish TV.

For the records, Siebel will manage customer relationship management of Tata Sky, while Kenan will support the billing system, SAP will be responsible for enterprise resource planning and Sun Microsystems will provide technology infrastructure.

The boxes would be sourced from Thomson and Korean company Humax.

Both the companies will be manufacturing the set-top boxes in India, Kaushik said, which would help in keeping the price line under control.

At present country’s first pay platform, Dish TV, boasts of 1.25 million subscribers, while pubcaster Doordarshan’s subscription-free DD Direct+ has a reported consumer base of 3.5 million.

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