Want to watch that gripping TV show at 7 pm but can’t because you don't return home from work before 8 pm? Do not worry. You will be able to watch it at home at whatever time you want, without even recording the programme on your video cassette recorder.
Your television set will record it for you, thanks to a technology called triple-play technology -- the ability to access voice, data and video via a single pipe -- that's about to hit your home.
Reliance Infocomm is test-launching inter-active TV in Jamnagar, Navi Mumbai and New Delhi. Some 1,000 homes have been tapped for this in Navi Mumbai and another 1,000 in Delhi, apart from 5,000 at Jamnagar.
The Ambani company will formally launch inter-active TV under its 'Home Netway' project in 2005 (Reliance Infocomm has three components to its broadband ambitions -- it will offer Reliance WebWorld broadband services, broadband services for enterprises and services for homes (Home Netway).
Reliance Infocomm's interactive TV services will also offer over 200 channels -- and draw on the thousands of movies and songs online that have been loaded onto the company's servers. Sources claim that the company has uploaded English and Hindi movies that were launched from 1983 and is entering into fresh deals with content providers for new programmes too.
A Reliance Infocomm spokesperson declined to comment on the matter. What exactly does inter-active TV involve?
Your television set will be hooked to a digital set-top box, designed and manufactured by Reliance. This set-top box with 40 GB memory is capable of storing nearly 10 hours of programming.
This will help subscribers to set a TV programme on "pause" (`pausing live TV,' as Reliance describes it) when engaged otherwise (the programme is recorded during this period) and return to the live programme, view a TV show that you've missed because you were not at home and offer an electronic programme guide.
For inter-active TV, your remote won't be just a remote -- it will double up not only as a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone handset but also offer other functions - it will be a Karaoke microphone, plus a keypad for surfing the internet or typing e-mail.
If you don't know English and Hindi, you can get subtitles for movies and songs in 10 Indian languages.
The inter-active TV effort signals Reliance Infocomm's first serious foray into the entertainment market and is viewed as a serious threat by several cable operators and multi-system operators. The initiative's success will also hinge on the price subscribers will have to pay. Reliance Infocomm sources say that no decision on rates has been taken as yet.