Working Group on the I&B sector for the 10th Five-Year
Plan has recommended 100 per cent digitization of
production facilities and automation of studio operations
at major Doordarshan Kendras in the next five years.
The report, which suggests 100 per cent coverage of
the potential TV population in the country with multi
channel television services, also advocates efforts
to ensure that major TV services of Prasar Bharati
are available to people elsewhere in the world through
various modes of distribution including webcasting,
Direct To Home (DTH) and cable. The extension of coverage,
however, should be achieved by deploying a technology
that is most cost effective after evaluating all options,
the report cautions. Currently, DD1 the main channel
of Doordarshan is available to nearly 89.1 per cent
of the population, according to the report.
minister Sushma Swaraj
- In favour of fully digitized, automated DD Kendras
in five years
working group has provided a green signal to Doordarshan
to start IT enabled multimedia services like interactive
TV, webcasting and data casting on a pilot basis and
has advised DD to take up small High Definition Television
(HDTV) schemes on an experimental basis.
The report is clearly inclined favourably towards
DTH and Digial Terrestrial Television (DTT), and stresses
on the conversion of last mile connectivity in the
digital mode. "This would require appropriate policy
to encourage and promote use of digital set top boxes
at the viewers' premises, which is essential to enable
them to receive digital signals, at least in the initial
stages," the report notes.
The report criticizes the government for treating
policies relating to digital television services as
a source of revenue, saying these will eventually
be counter productive. Maintaining that digital set
top boxes be given the same treatment in their promotion
and taxation as that given to computer hardware, the
report censures the present policy on DTH that has
'not encouraged any player to come so far and promote
the growth of digital set top boxes.'
Will DTH in India become a
reality in the next five years?
its suggestions, the group has noted that digital
production facilities at DD Kendras would ensure good
quality convergent ready content while automation
at the centers would cut down on operational and maintenance
costs. The Group has however allowed leeway for other
Kendras, allowing them 50 per cent upgradation of
current facilities in the 10th Five Year Plan.
The report advises caution on investment in DTT, maintainintg
that a commercially viable business model should first
be established before the government takes a plunge
in these uncharted waters. The report is also keen
on improving the technical quality of content and
making it easily available to multimedia treatment.
Almost half the production facilities at DD's Kendras
have been currently upgraded from analog to digital;
the report however, stresses 100 per cent digitization
of facilities in major kendras to enable content distribution
in an interactive mode on any platform including the
Internet. A shift from manual operations to automated
operations both in production and transmission has
also been recommended to economise on these costs.
Doordarshan, the report notes, should keep itself
abreast with the latest know how in the realm of HDTV
to enable its promotion as and when affordable to
viewers. The emerging arena of HDTV enables delivery
of film quality pictures to viewers' homes but is
prohibitively priced even in developed countries.
The report suggests that DD could take up small projects
on HDTV on an experimental basis, as recent market
trends in the US show that alternative modes of distribution
are catching on very fast.