After successfully deploying its IPTV service in 300 homes across Delhi last year, MTNL and Aksh Optifibre have commercially launched the next generation television broadcast system. This entails that all MTNL broadband subscribers will be able to register for India’s first IPTV service. The service comes with a monthly tariff beginning at Rs 90 per month with the option to select pay channels based on personal choice.
Some of the user-friendly features include the ease of selecting channels which are already listed on screen. All one has to do is select the channels to subscribe to on the screen and start watching them. An online television guide is available at a click of the remote with details of all programmes scheduled for the week by channels available on the system. Also, the ‘Time-shifted TV’ facility will allow subscribers to “rewind” a live broadcast channel to catch a programme that one has missed.
For advertisers, there is a unique feature named ‘A-Tube’. This allows advertisers to upload full-length campaigns, product AVs and detailed trailers without the limitation of prescribing to 10-20-30 second formats. For example, for viewers planning to purchase a mobile phone, the A-Tube portal will host detailed campaigns and AVs of every possible brand and model to base the selection on.
Already available to subscribers is the defining advantage of the “IPTV way of viewing television” – a instant Video-on-Demand facility that is not restricted by the service provider’s bandwidth (as with CAS and DTH). The MTNL-Aksh IPTV service is being launched with over 100 movie titles in Hindi and English available to viewers at the push of a button. Besides movies, the service also offers plays and soaps in Hindi, Punjabi, Marathi and Gujarati. The library will be expanded on a weekly basis with a target to double it in four weeks.
The software, hardware, service set-up and content delivery for IPTV service is being managed by Aksh Optifibre Ltd. MTNL will function as the service provider taking charge of operations and revenue collection. UTStarcom, a global leader in the manufacture, integration and support of IP-based, end-to-end networking and telecommunications solutions, is expected to add value to the partnership with Rolling Stream, a complete broadband digital TV delivery solution.