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Caught in a jam? Watch 'Live TV'

February 08, 2008 14:40 IST

Ever missed your favourite soap opera or a crucial cricket match because of traffic jams that have become the norm these days?

If yes, stop fretting. You may soon be able to sit back and watch them the next time you are caught in a jam with a leading DTH (direct to home) service announcing a new initiative, which can enable you to watch your favourite channels in the comfort of your car and also in buses.

Called the Live TV for cars, the DTH provider is in the final stages of installing the services in cars, SUVs and high-capacity buses.

Though the scheme is yet to take off, officials of Essel Group promoted Dish TV say that a customer can watch nearly 100 channels once everything becomes operational. Dish TV has launched two versions of the antenna, which would be mounted on the roof top of cars, buses or trains.

As the company officials themselves say, the new service is aimed sadly only for the niche class since the DTH antenna - Speed Ray - which would work all across the country, would cost a whooping Rs 150,000, while the other one - T5 - which would work only in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra, has been priced at Rs 70,000.

However, the users in cars would be charged same as that of a subscription at home in the range of Rs 160-300, depending upon the offer subscribed to.

"The customers would be able to watch 100 channels in the Speed Ray and 75 channels in T5. The new product is meant only for the niche segment. We expect to sell 10,000 units in the first year of launch," Dish TV officials say.

While the cost may be a major let down for many car drivers eager to lay their hands on the product, officials say that depending on the initial response, the firm would look into other options of making it a mass product.

While Dish TV which had announced in October 2007 that it would invest Rs 1,100 crore (Rs 11 billion) by 2011, to expand its market share is quite upbeat about the product. However, skeptics point out that though the scheme would work well in open areas, the same might not be so within city limits because the antenna would need unobstructed beam from the satellite, which is not possible while driving in metros amidst buildings and flyovers.

Dish TV officials however say that, India is closer to the equator where the satellite is stationed and hence there won't be much of a problem.

But for people like Atul Pandey a car designer in Karol Bagh, New Delhi, the price for the service or the small hiccups like loss of transmission is not a problem at all.

"People spend a bomb these days to redo their cars. They fit the latest TV screens and multiple DVD systems in cars. For many customers I know of, the price would hardly be a deterrent since they want the best," says Pandey.

As an official with Dish TV says, "This may change the TV viewing habits of people and increase employment in this country as people will be more inclined to hire a driver to be able to watch TV from the back seat. Also it may shift the prime time TV to the rush hours."

Snehesh Alex Philip in New Delhi
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