Isro being approached for more transponders for DD Direct

NEW DELHI: Doordarshan is expected to switch over to an Indian satellite Insat 4B by early May for its direct-to-home DD Direct service, but it is unlikely to get more than five transponders. The satellite is being launched 10 March from Kourou in French Guiana.

Prasar Bharati sources tell indiantelevision.com that though the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) had been requested to give first priority to the public broadcaster in the matter of leasing transponders, it was learnt that the Sun Group owned by Kalanithi Maran may get six transponders for its Sun Direct DTH and one for digital satellite news gathering.

The sources said Isro had been approached to clarify the air on the number of channels it could give to Doordarshan, particularly in view of the efforts by the public broadcaster to switch over to an Indian satellite and not spend money in foreign currency for the American-owned NSS-6 satellite.

The switchover is expected to result in a saving of around $5 million and Prasar Bharati chief executive officer BS Lalli confirmed that he had turned down the reminder by the American satellite for a renewal of contract.

(It is learnt that Isro agreed to the demand for Sun for transponders after the failure of the Insat-4C last year. However, Isro has given the option to Sun to take transponders on a foreign satellite with the help of the space agency, since Insat 4B was meant for DD Direct.)

Switching over to the new satellite will mean rotating the dish antennas slightly from the existing 95 degrees to 93.5 degrees. Lalli does not think any re-programming of

set-top boxes will be required but said that this could be done easily if needed.

The Insat-4B, the second satellite in the Insat-4 series, will be carrying 12 Ku band and as many C band transponders for communication and broadcasting services. Airtel is understood to have booked transponders for its services.

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