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How the Games brought colour to small screen

india Updated: Nov 24, 2011 00:23 IST
Sidhartha Roy

A major contribution of the 1982 Asiad, was the introduction of colour television in the country.

The ninth Asian Games were planned to be shown in black and white on television screens, but during the events' build up, it was decided that the Games would be broadcasted in colour.

There was, however, a major hitch. Doordarshan, which was the main broadcasting agency, didn't have wherewithal to telecast in colour - it didn't have any colour cameras and few of its engineers understood the technology.

Doordarshan was given 18 months to shift to colour technology. Four Outside Broadcasting (OB) vans were purchased immediately to provide live colour coverage of at least two events at any point of time. Engineers from different Doordarshan centres across the country were chosen to undergo training in India and abroad.

Two OB vans were placed outside the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and one each at Indraprastha Stadium and Talkatora Swimming Pool. Other venues had to make do with black and white coverage.

The technology was first used during the trial games, held in September, when loopholes were identified and corrected. Expert commentators from Germany and England were invited to train commentators for live sports coverage.

The live colour coverage of the Games led to a craze. As colour televisions were not manufactured in India, imports were allowed. Those who could afford it bought their first colour television sets. More than 50,000 TV sets were imported initially and the number increased to one lakh within a year.