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Video-on-demand, PVRS to head this way soon

29-September-2005
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Video-on-demand, PVRS to head this way soon

The much-talked-about Video-on-Demand (VoD) and personal video recorders (PVR) will soon be a reality in India with Zee's direct-to-home (DTH) service Dish TV rolling out plans to commercially offer the latest Bollywood selection on demand from mid-October, and to sell PVR sets from mid-November of this year.

With the Tata-STAR DTH joint venture being delayed further till at least April next year, these new initiatives from Zee are tailored to grab as many DTH subscribers before the Tata-STAR venture gets moving. Initially, the VoD service from Dish TV will be a 'near' video on demand. It will be priced at Rs 40 per movie and will offer a selection of upto five movies a day.

“It is really 'near' video on demand as subscribers initially will not have the PVR to download the movie on their set top boxes. To start with, a viewer will intimate the time he wants a particular movie through a toll-free number or SMS and his viewer card (VC) number would be activated for 24 hours for that movie,” explained Sunil Khanna, CEO of Dish TV.

The personal video recorder (PVR) too has been developed for commercial sale and will be marketed from mid-November. With a price tag of around Rs 16,000, the hardware will be a high-end product with few subscribers. The encryption technology has been developed by Conax, while the hardware will be produced by Konmedia and Hundan, both Korean firms.

“The PVR will have a 70 GB hard-disc sufficient to hold around 30 hours of programming,” Mr Khanna told ET. The PVR provides viewers with facilities to record programmes for playback later as well as to keep television programmes on pause without losing content.

The Bollywood movies which will be available on the VoD service will be recent launches, which have completed the theatrical circuit, but have not been seen so far on television.

To make the service financially viable, Dish TV has teamed up with film producers to broadcast these movies on a revenue-sharing agreement with the property continuing to vest with the film producers, the Dish TV chief disclosed.

Dish TV currently claims to have crossed the 2m mark in subscriber enrolment after it cut prices to Rs 3,990 a year for its popular package. New enrolment is increasingly from the cities rather than rural area, Mr Khanna claimed.

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