Fully digital by 2015
India's Information and Broadcasting Ministry announced recently that the deadline for the shift from analogue to digital systems has been set as the 31st March 2015, according to The Times of India.
The proposal has been sent to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and will subsequently be put before the Union Cabinet for approval.
The switch over is expected to take place in phases, Phase I starting with the four metropolitan areas of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai which will shift to digital by the 31st March 2012.
Phase II will include 35 cities with populations of more than one million, such as Patna, Chandigarh, Pune and Bangalore, switching by the 31st March 2013. All urban areas are expected to digitise by the 30th November 2014 and the remaining areas, by 31 March 2015.
Broadcast regulator TRAI had previously recommended that Phase I be finalised by March this year but this latest announcement officially postpones the date by one year.
Industry insiders said digitisation would bring prices down, not just that of set-top boxes, but also carriage fees, by as much as half.
Source: Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union
Item added: 7th February 2011
DTH Satellite subscribers over 23 million
Research data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) indicates that there were 23.77 million DTH satellite subscribers in India at the end of June 2010.
The subscriber base was split between six DTH operators.
Internet subscriber numbers to the end of June were given as 16.5 million in total, 9.5 million of which had Broadband connections.
Source: TRAI document
Item added: 11th October 2010
DVB-T2 Tender in India
Prasar Bharati, the Broadcasting Corporation of India, plans to introduce DVB-T2 services at 19 Locations in India and has published a formal tender notice. There are plans for DVB-T2 HD and SD services at 19 locations, and the cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata will also have one HD-only service. The tender notices, which have just closed, can be found below and explicitly state that:
"The transmission facility will conform to DVB-T2 standards as per ETSI standards EN 302755 and TR 102831. The system shall be designed and implemented as described in DVB organizations' Documents A122 and A133." Document A133 covers the Implementation Guidelines for DVB-T2.
This tender notice and the growing interest for DVB-T2 in the region reconfirm India's 1999 decision to adopt DVB-T as its national Digital Terrestrial Television system, and could potentially create even bigger economies of scale for low DVB-T and DVB-T2 set-top box prices.
Item added: 31st August 2010
Telecom regulator recommends ASO by 2013
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said on the 5th August 2010 that all analogue signals should be phased out by 2013 to allow consumers to watch high quality digital channels of their choice on a-la-carte basis. The statement went on to say that digitisation will help companies improve signal quality and offer more interactive and value-added services.
In its recommendation, TRAI said the implementation of the digital broadcast signals should take place in a phased manner starting March 2011 in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. Cities with population over one million should be digitalised by December, 2011 while in all other urban areas, including municipal corporations, digitalisation should take place by December, 2012.
The broadcasters across the country should completely convert from an analogue-based broadcasting system to digital-based system by December, 2013, said TRAI.
The regulator also suggested incentives to service providers who set up a digital distribution network before the deadline by way of an income tax holiday from April, 2011 or the date of setting up their network, whichever comes first.
TRAI also recommended rationalisation of taxes levied on the broadcasting distribution sector.
Most of the recent TRAI comments on the analogue switch off have concerned the extensive cable networks across India and it is not known if the ASO date of 2013 also applies to Terrestrial Television.
India adopted the DVB-T standard in July 1999.
Main source: Hindustantimes
Item added: 9th August 2010
India Invests in Digital TV
India’s public broadcaster Doordarshan will receive a massive investment to enable it to convert to digital production and transmission reports Rapid TV News.
The information attributed to BBC Monitoring reports that India’s Information and Broadcasting Ministry has prepared a proposal for an Rs8 billion (US$174 million) investment for All India Radio and Rs6 billion to Doordarshan for completing digitisation. This will be shortly placed before the Cabinet, according to a senior government official.
Digitisation is targeted for completion by 2017 and Doordarshan have already allocated Rs12.09 billion out of a total approved outlay of Rs13.69 billion just for digitisation in the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-2012).
The government plans to use 40 locations where analogue High Power Transmitters are operational for setting up of digital-terrestrial transmitters in the country. Fourteen obsolete High Power TV transmitters (UPTs) and 60 Lower Power TV transmitters (LPTs) will be replaced. Satellite Earth Stations will also be modernized using Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG) in the new Plan.
India adopted the DVB-T standard for digital terrestrial broadcasting in 1999.
Source: Rapid TV News
Item added: 25th January 2010
Mobile TV Policy being decided
The Indian government is in the process of formulating a policy for mobile TV, according to a report on the website advanced-television.com.
A licensing regime on the same basis as that for private FM services is being planned for the mobile terrestrial TV service.
The Information and Broadcasting ministry (IB) is said to be considering the proposal. If it is accepted and cleared by the Cabinet an auction process is likely for the 8 MHz spectrum slots, which would be used for mobile TV services.
Source: Advanced Television .com
Item added: 9th November 2009
Doordarshan pushes DVB-H
Broadcast Engineering reports that Doordarshan, the state operated Broadcaster, will once more launch a DVB-H service. The previous 2007 pilot was stalled due to a lack of DVB-H enabled handsets.
The plan is to roll out DVB-H services in 17 cities across India and specifies a five-phase rollout, starting with the metro railways. 16 channels of programming will be on offer, 12 from private partners.
Doordarshan will be responsible for the transmission towers, power supplies and spectrum whilst the private partners will be responsible for content aggregation, marketing, operation and maintenance as well as transmitters, antennas and associated mobile TV infrastructure.
Source: Broadcast Engineering
Item added: 24th August 2009
Draft recommendations for mobile TV services issued
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) released draft recommendations on issues relating to mobile television services to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, on January 3rd 2008.
There are now two routes proposed to provide mobile TV services, one using the telecom network with spectrum already allocated and the other using a Broadcast model.
Telecom operators already having a CMTS or UASL licence will not need a further licence for mobile TV services on spectrum already allocated to them unless it utilises TV broadcast technologies.
The new recommendations suggest the creation of a new class of mobile TV licence to use broadcast delivery methods and that the technology chosen for any deployment must be digital and have been standardised by the ITU.
Subscribers should be able to change from one licensee to another using the same handset and two separate licences will be needed to cover either terrestrial or satellite delivery.
Spectrum for Broadcast services will be in UHF Band V (585-806 MHz) for terrestrial delivery, S-Band for delivery via satellite and allocated by a bidding process.
The Authority has invited all stakeholders to give their comments on the draft recommendations by 10th January 2008.
The full text of the recommendations can be found by using the following link
http://www.trai.gov.in and selecting Date: January 3, 2008 Draft recommendations on Issues Relating to Mobile Television services
Item added: 7th January 2008
India makes plans to auction mobile TV spectrum
Following its recent consultation on the issues surrounding the introduction of mobile TV, India’s Telecoms Regulatory Authority (TRAI) will propose to the government that it auctions its mobile TV spectrum to the highest bidder.
The chairman of TRAI told a conference in New Delhi that the regulator was “talking about de-linking licence from spectrum”, so new operators could bid for spectrum, rather than just existing mobile operators, reports Rapid TV News.
New operators would potentially be classed as a new type of mobile operator, regulated more along the lines of a broadcast platform such as DTH or cable rather than as a telecommunications operator. Mobile TV operators would have separate guidelines and licensing conditions.
Source: Rapid TV News
Item added: 17th December 2007
TRAI releases consultation paper on Mobile Television
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) released a consultation document, about issues relating to mobile television, on September 18th 2007.
The consultation seeks views from stakeholders on various policy issues relating to mobile television.
The main issues are: preferred technology for mobile TV; preference for satellite or terrestrial systems; spectrum requirements for analogue/Digital/Mobile TV terrestrial broadcasting; methodology for frequency allocation; eligibility conditions for a licence; net worth requirements; limits for FDI and portfolio investment; tenure of licence; licence fees and system; licences on a national/regional/city basis.
The consultation closes on September 30th 2007. Comments will be posted on TRAI’s website.
Source: TRAI website
Item added: 25th September 2007
Nokia supports DVB-H trial with Doordarshan
Nokia announced November 30th that it will be helping India’s national television broadcaster Doordashan to mount a DVB-H pilot in early 2007.
During the pilot, Doordashan will test the reception quality, broadcast coverage, interactive services and customer acceptance and expectations of DVB-H services. The outcome will help them to decide whether to go for a full DVB-H service.
India has already chosen DVB-T for its fixed Digital Terrestrial TV services and DVB-H will extend the delivery of TV to mobile handsets.
Source: Nokia Asia press release
Item added: 5th December 2006
DVB-H in India
The national broadcaster in India, Doordashan, will shortly start trials of mobile TV using DVB-H technology. On January 30th the broadcaster issued a new set of equipment tenders that specifically includes "DVB-H Equipment" and "DVB-H receivers". The tender can be viewed on their website in the Tender Notice section.
Doordashan already has DVB-T pilot broadcasts on air in four cities including Dehli, having chosen the standard for digital terrestrial television in 1999.
Source: DVB-H online
Item added: 20th February 2006
India chose the DVB-T standard for Terrestrial Digital Broadcasting in July 1999 after 18 months of study and testing.
The state broadcaster Doordarshan started a pilot trial in Delhi during 2002 which is extending to Calcutta, Mumbai and Chenai.
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Last update: 7th February 2011, Barry Tew