Prasar Bharati to bring prime TV to your mobile
Prasar Bharati has decided to go for bigger and better free mobile television services by offering eight to 10 channels in one go initially at 40 locations including the metros and state capitals. Chetan Chauhan reports.gadgets Updated: Jun 02, 2013 00:04 IST
The next big thing on smartphones would be your favourite television channels.
India's public broadcaster Prasar Bharati has decided to go for bigger and better free mobile television services by offering eight to 10 channels in one go initially at 40 locations including the metros and state capitals.
Over the next three years depending on response, the services would be expanded to an additional 630 locations.
Mobile television has become possible with the success of the second version of digital video broadcast-terrestrial (DVB-T) technology, which allows streaming of a number of high-definition (HD) channels without compromising viewing quality.
The technology is already in use in 63 countries including the US and the UK.
Prasar Bharati chief executive officer Jawhar Sircar said the new, tested technology provides unique business opportunity to broadcasters as India has huge mobile penetration.
With around 113 million users out of 650 million mobile users in India already having video-enabled smartphones, television on mobile is the new market Doordarshan (DD) wants to tap.
Watching TV on mobiles will not be difficult. Those having a smartphone can buy an antenna, costing between Rs. 100 and Rs. 150 in Delhi, to watch television channels. One can also watch TV on their laptops through a dongle costing about Rs. 500.
"A chip in new smartphones can make mobiles television-enabled like FM radio is available on phones," said a DD engineer working on mobile television since 2007 when the public broadcaster launched its first pilot in Pitampura, north Delhi.
It got a tepid response because of low smartphone penetration and availability of only two DD channels.
"The viewing was good only during Commonwealth Games 2010 whose exclusive broadcast rights were with DD," the official said.
Taking cue from past experience, DD has now opted for course correction.
"We are working on whether private broadcasters such as Star, Sony or Colors would be interested in sharing content on our digital terrestrial platform," Sircar said.
"We are interested," a private television channel official, who was not willing to be quoted because negotiations were in initial stages, said.
"DVB T-2 provides host of opportunities as the future of television would be mobile. We will see how it works."
A senior DD official was hopeful of sealing an agreement with private television channels on content-sharing in the next few months and said the rollout of the first tranche of mobile TV in 40 locations would start within the next six months.
In European countries like The UK, where the technology was implemented in 2010, around 40% of television watched by youngsters is on mobiles.
"It is something for the generation on the move," Sircar added.