Television

13 private FTA channels to join DD's DTH service

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MUMBAI: National broadcaster Doordarshan has roped in 13 private satellite channels to come onto its free-to-air (FTA) direct-to-home (DTH) service.



"A total of 30 channels will be available on our DTH service called DD Direct Plus," said Prasar Bharati chairman MV Kamath while addressing a press conference today in Mumbai. This will include Doordarshan's family of 17 channels.

The private channels are Aaj Tak, Headlines Today, BBC World, Zee News, Zee Music, STAR Utsav, ETC Punjabi, Kairali (Malayalam), Sun TV (Tamil), Jain TV, Aakaash Bangla and CMM Music. While Jain TV has signed the agreement, the other channels have lent their confirmation through fax, e-mail, letter or by telephone.

 

Consumers will have to invest Rs 3,000-3,500 on a dish and set-top box (STB), said Kamath. But there is no hidden or monthly bill for the service. "We are trying to give the people the best of programmes at no cost. In many countries, DTH is a pay system," Kamath stressed.



The date of launch, however, is yet to be fixed. "The test signals are on. A formal launch is expected to be announced after the (state) elections," said DD Kendra Mumbai director Mukesh Sharma.



DD's DTH service has channels from the news, music and vernacular language genres. "Personally I feel a movie channel will add strength to our platform," said Sharma.



AIR DTH service will be operating through the Prasar Bharati DTH platform with uplinking facilities at Todapur, Delhi. Though there is a provision for 20 radio channels, in the first phase 10 AIR channels are being launched. These are AIR Hindi, Begali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Punjabi, Gujarati, Kannada, Vividh Bharti and north-east services.



AIR currently produces news and programme content in 66 different languages and dialects and broadcasts through its terrestrial network of 215 stations. But terrestrial networks have the limitation of the programmes being available only within the coverage areas of the transmitters. The DTH service of AIR will make available to listeners across the country the multi-lingual broadcasts originating from different stations.



The TV and radio programmes can be received anywhere in the footprint area of the satellite with a 60-90 cm dish, converter and STB. The output of the STB is connected to a TV set. With a selection, the TV can be used for either watching TV programme or listening to radio programmes. During the radio programme, the screen is either blank or gives a fixed picture display. The DTH service will operate through satellite NSS-6, located at 95-degree east in the geo-stationary orbit.



DD is distributing 10,000 DTH receiver systems in public institutions like schools, panchayats and youth clubs across the country, said Sharma. Out of these, about 1,100 systems are to be installed in the north-east region.

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