television
Writer: Pallavi Goorha - Monday, Jun 25,2007 10:06 AM
DD Direct Plus blanks out of TV screens all over the country

There has been no service of DD Direct Plus, Doordarshan’s DTH service with about 70 lakh subscribers, as the DTH operator migrates from one transponder to another. DD Direct Plus, which was earlier beamed from foreign satellite NSS-6, has migrated to Insat-4B from this June.

For a DD Direct viewer this change of satellite would have to be followed by a rotation of the dish antenna and change of transponder frequencies in the set top boxes (STBs).

The change in transponders has led every subscriber of DD Direct Plus to reinstall their STBs, which is being done through outsourced dealers. However, several areas are unattended leading to thousands of people not having access to the service.

Baljit Singh Lalli, CEO, Prasar Bharati, said, "The changeover was done with a lot of advanced planning, which entailed advertising across platforms coupled with distribution of pamphlets educating the viewer on the necessary steps required to be executed. We also held meetings with dealers across the country and briefed them about the process and urged them to extend help to subscribers to enable a smooth transition."

Lalli said, “We were losing $5 million per year in foreign exchange as we were using a foreign satellite earlier. We are using now Insat 4B, which is an Indian satellite.”

Roop Sharma, President, Cable Operators Federation of India (COFI), said, “Since there are thousands of subscribers attached to a particular dealer, the process of rotating every dish antenna and changing the parameters of every single STB is slow. It is also delayed because no real incentive is being offered to the dealers to undertake the change. In the interim this will cause inconvenience to the subscribers."

He added, “The cost of each STB is Rs 300 for the dealer. The subscriber is getting a replacement. The initiative has been started in the metros and then will move to cities and towns gradually.”

The change of transponders is for technological upgrade as Prasar Bharati opens up for digitisation. DD, which was being operated on analog signals, will now be changed to digital, offering better picture and sound quality.

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