Monday, April 26, 2010

DTH players gear up to join high-definition bandwagon

With the government promising to telecast the Commonwealth Games in high-definition (HD) format, Direct-to-Home (DTH) service providers like Dish TV, Reliance BIG and Airtel Digital are now gearing up to join the bandwagon over the next couple of months. High-definition television (HDTV) refers to videos with higher resolution than traditional TV, resulting in sharper pictures and richer colours. Though the market for HD services is restricted to niche segments at present (with Sun Direct being the only operator in the sector), industry experts are seeing increasing potential for such services in the coming year.

Dish TV plans to introduce HD services in June this year, while Reliance is evaluating market conditions to launch the service in a couple of weeks. Bharti Airtel executives inform work has reached an advanced stage in upgrading the infrastructure for HD services. An Airtel spokesperson said: “We initially launched our service in standard definition but we will soon make our content available on the HD platform. We believe the Commonwealth Games will trigger the HD revolution in India, just as the Asian Games drove in the colour TV revolution in 1982. We expect HD technology to lead the DTH industry growth story in the country.”

Salil Kapoor, chief operating officer, Dish TV, concurs: “HD services are particularly preferred for sports and movie content. With this year being choc-a-bloc with sporting events, such as the IPL, T20 World Cup, FIFA World Cup and CWG, we hope to see an increasing number of subscribers tuning into the HD segment.” Reliance, for instance, expects 10-15 per cent of the 1.5 million subscribers it hopes to add this year in the HD segment. In order to hook consumers into the segment, Reliance is coming out with an in-built Digital Video Recorder (DVR) with its HD set-top boxes.

Umesh Rao, chief marketing officer, Reliance BIG TV, while declining to specify the pricing point for the product, said: “What is unique about our HD set-top box is that it will enable the subscriber to receive HD feed and record content from a single set-top box. The pricing will not be off the line with what other players are currently offering.”

Courtesy - Business Standard

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