Amid the controversy over conditional access systems, Doordarshan on Tuesday announced that its direct-to-home services carrying 30 free-to-air channels would be launched by March next year.
"Doodarshan has plans to launch DTH in March next year. We will offer 30 free-to-air channels out of which 15 will be Doordarshan's own channels and we will take 15 other private free-to-air channels for which we will charge them a carriage fee to recover the cost," S Y Quershi, director general, Doordarshan said in New Delhi at a seminar on CAS.
To access the DTH, viewers would have to invest in a dish and a set top box, which will cost Rs 4,000, he said and hoped that when the demand grows, the prices of the STBs would come down.
DD will invite requests from the broadcasters in a couple of months, he added.
For the STBs, DD is trying to set technical standards to eliminate low quality of such boxes through benchmarking it by Bureau of Indian Standards.
"Doordarshan has not decided the carriage fee and we will have to negotiate with them," he said, adding DD is talking to those FTA channels, which would fit in Doordarshan's style of programmes, philosophy and techniques."The real beneficiary of our DTH would be the 10 per cent of the population still not reached by television because they are either in the North-East or very thinly populated areas where it is very uneconomical to set up transmission towers and impossible for cable operator to reach," Queshi said.