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August 25, 2011, 4:10 pm UTC
DTH in India is on an exponential growth curve and its latest acquisition railways, is a technological show of strength for the platform
The talks about Direct-To-Home (DTH) on trains has been on for over three years now. Seems like commuters in premium trains would finally be able to enjoy live television - thanks to DTH and IPTV - by next year.
In 2008 DTH operator Dish TV was in talks with the government to offer its services on trains. And it is Dish TV itself that recently completed a pilot project on the Kalka Shatabdi and is likely to bag the project. However, Reliance Big TV is also interested in providing their services.
According to railway sources, DTH would be introduced on eight Shatabdi trains bound to Delhi. The second phase would be implemented on Rajdhanis and Durontos. At least 70 channels would be available to passengers which includes general entertainment, news and sports categories.
The service is expected to be provided free of cost to the commuter with the one executing the contract will pay license fee to the railways while getting airtime for advertising on trains in return.
The DTH technology is today advanced enough for a train ride. Though niche, Live TV is already on offer on premium bus services, luxury trains, ships and even cars. The increase demand for sports utility vehicles is actually expected to increase potential of the segment in the country. Yet, this would be the first mass roll of the service on trains.
Seven-inch LCD screens would be installed in the back of each seat in all executive class and chair-car Shatabti coaches, just like the ones seen in planes. The cost for the same, including management and maintenance, content, games and internet surfing will be taken care of the service provider. In return, the provider can use 20% of the aired content to make money through advertisements.
The DTH provider would thus have ample scope to recover money. Though the basic entertainment channels would be provided free, any value added service would be charged from the user. This and advertisement should make for a good recovery of investment for the operator. Advertisers are also expected to be more keen on such an audience base considering that passengers travelling on a train, have nothing much else to do and hence would have a greater attention span and receptive ability than they have otherwise.
DTH in India is already on the rise. This latest news not only confirms this fact, but also is a kind of show of technological strength from the DTH industry considering that it is not easy to provide live TV and internet in a train moving at a very high speed. DTH, once on shaky ground, has finally found both its roots and wings to fly in the Indian TV horizon.
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