Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Doordarshan to start VSAT nodes in 70 locations

April 9, 2007

Not VSAT network for Doordarsan

Doordarsan is introducing its own VSAT network for news gathering. It will connect 70 locations.

Apart from this Doordarshan is planning to start  a pilot project in high definition telecition[HDTV] and digital transmission technology. Reports Hindu Businessline


Changes in Video format

April 9, 2007

See a writeup about the changes happended in the Video format. It says, Faced with an obvious resource crunch because of rising costs of filmmaking and rampant video piracy cutting into profits, more and more filmmakers are now opting to make their film on digital technology and video.

Sharp LCD TV sales cross 10 m

June 28, 2006

The $25-billion Sharp Corporation of Japan has crossed the 10-million mark in worldwide sales of its Aquos LCD Televisions, claims a press release from the company. Introduced in 2001, the LCD television brand of Sharp reached the landmark this month. Sharp Corporation, through its subsidiary Sharp India Ltd, has launched the Aquos range of LCD televisions in India too, says a press release from the company, quoting Mr Prasun Banerjee, Vice-President, Marketing, Sharp India Ltd.

Sharp’s LCD panels are manufactured at the company’s facility in Kameyama, Japan. The company is scheduled open a second plant by autumn of this year in Kameyama. According to the press release, this second plant will allow Sharp to meet the growing worldwide demand, especially for big-screen LCD televisions. Sharp is targeting the Indian market with its new line-up.

Its product line in India includes LCD TVs, CTVs, refrigerators, air-conditioners and microwave ovens. On the anvil in the next few months are DVDs, washing machines and home theatre systems. The company previously was a joint venture with the Kalyani Group and in April 2005 became a listed company with the Japanese parent buying back 80 per cent stake in the company.

Source: businessline

Digital broadcasting set to transform communication landscape by 2015: RRC-06

June 28, 2006

MUMBAI: The conclusion of ITU’s Regional Radiocommunication Conference (RRC-06) in Geneva saw the signing of a treaty agreement that is a major step in implementing World Summit on the Information Society objectives. The digitalization of broadcasting in Europe, Africa, Middle East and the Islamic Republic of Iran by 2015 represents a major landmark towards establishing a more equitable, just and people-centred Information Society.

The agreement will herald the development of ‘all-digital’ terrestrial broadcast services for sound and television. The digital switchover will leapfrog existing technologies to connect the unconnected in underserved and remote communities and close the digital divide.

“The most important achievement of the Conference,” remarked ITU Secretary-General Yoshio Utsumi, “is that the new digital Plan provides not only new possibilities for structured development of digital terrestrial broadcasting but also sufficient flexibilities for adaptation to the changing telecommunication environment.”

The Regional Radiocommunication Conference was chaired and brought to a conclusion by Kavouss Arasteh of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The agreement reached at RRC-06 paves the way for utilizing the full potential of information and communication technologies to achieve the internationally recognized development goals. The date of transition to digital terrestrial broadcasting in the year 2015 is intended to coincide with the targets set by the Millennium Development Goals.

The regional agreement for digital services has been reached in the frequency bands 174 – 230 MHz and 470 – 862 MHz. It marks the beginning of the end of analogue broadcasting.

The Conference agreed that the transition period from analogue to digital broadcasting, which begins at 0001 UTC 17 June 2006, should end on 17 June 2015, but some countries preferred an additional five-year extension for the VHF band (174-230 MHz).

The digital dividend

The switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting will create new distribution networks and expand the potential for wireless innovation and services. The digital dividend accruing from efficiencies in spectrum usage will allow more channels to be carried across fewer airwaves and lead to greater convergence of services.

The inherent flexibility offered by digital terrestrial broadcasting will support mobile reception of video, internet and multimedia data, making applications, services and information accessible and usable anywhere and at any time. It opens the door to new innovations such as Handheld TV Broadcast (DVB-H) along with High-Definition Television (HDTV) while providing greater bandwidth to existing mobile, fixed and radionavigation services. Services ancillary to broadcasting (wireless microphones, talk back links) are also planned on a national basis and need to be extended.

The World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-07), which will meet in the autumn of 2007, will deal with the regulatory aspects of the usage of the spectrum for these services.

Terrestrial digital broadcasting carries many advantages over the analogue system:

Expanded services

Higher quality video and audio

Greater variety and faster rates of data transmission

Consistency of data flows over long distances

More spectrum efficiency means more channels

This agreement, which paves the way for a new paradigm of wireless digital communication technologies, is expected to be extrapolated by other regions and countries and influence a global shift away from the analogue system that has been in place for the past 45 years.

During the five weeks of deliberations which began on 15 May, RRC-06 took decisions to allow iteration of the complex software tools used by the ITU secretariat as a basis to generate the draft plan that will facilitate the coordinated and timely introduction of digital broadcasting. The Plan assures that an outstanding 70’500 digital broadcasting requirements, including stations, will become a reality within the planned area. It succeeded in creating a level playing field as a new basis for competition.

The first session of this Conference (RRC-04) took place in May 2004 and established a solid, comprehensive and technical basis for the agreement, including the framework for the intersessional studies. It has already resulted in the accelerated introduction of digital terrestrial broadcasting in many countries. “Digital technologies are now transmitting high-resolution images of the Soccer World Cup from Germany to fans around the world who are watching the matches with excitement,” said Utsumi. “Digital terrestrial broadcasting is now a reality with a bright future.”

A complex process

Conference chairman Arasteh said that RRC-06 was a technically complex process comprising voluminous computational calculations and data processing tasks, electronic document handling and the use of five working languages. He added that ITU, although facing these challenges for the first time, could provide the Conference with adequate technical and regulatory expertise and support for the full satisfaction of the participating delegations.

More than 1000 delegates representing 104 countries met in Geneva to adopt the treaty agreement that will replace the analogue broadcasting plans existing since 1961 for Europe and since 1989 for Africa. The new digital Plan, based on broadcasting standards known as T-DAB (for sound) and DVB-T (for TV), covers a wide area of the world including Europe, countries of the CIS, Africa, Middle East and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

A major challenge faced by the conference was to find ways for digital and analogue broadcasting to co-exist on the radio-frequency spectrum during the transition period without causing interference.

Cooperation with EBU and CERN

A key ingredient for the success of the Conference was the unprecedented level of cooperation between ITU, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).

The complex planning activities conducted at this conference and during the intersessional period were based on the software developed by EBU, which includes hundreds of thousands of programme lines. In preparing the Plan for digital terrestrial broadcasting, ITU experts performed meticulous calculations within a limited timeframe using two independent infrastructures: the ITU distributed system with 100 PCs and the CERN Grid infrastructure that is based on a few hundred dedicated CPUs from several European institutions.


Hathway ready for the digital big fight

June 28, 2006

Chief executive K Jayaraman is setting the tone for Hathway Cable & Datacom’s duel in the digital era. Part of his aggressive ploy is to expand the network in newer markets through alliances with cable operators. His proposal to them: Hathway will invest and build the digital and broadband side of the business while allowing cable operators to retain earnings from their analogue operations and carriage fees.

Jayaraman believes this will carry appeal to cable operators who do not have the financial resources to fight off competition from digital delivery platforms like direct-to-home (DTH). He is setting up a team to map out the growth potential in non Hathway areas.

Jayaraman is also taking the acquisition route to widen Hathway’s footprint. Local cable networks in Chandigarh, Mohali and Kanpur were gobbled up early this year to gain foothold in new territories, all northern prosperous markets where digital cable and broadband have potential to take off.

Such buyouts, though, will be selective and limited. But coming after years of inaction, Hathway sees an opportunity in growing along with the digital market. “Competition from DTH is good as it will change the way cable TV has been functioning and open up the digital market. If cable TV can respond positively, it will increase our ARPU’s (average revenue per user) and correct our business models,” says Jayaraman.

Competition also means that Hathway will have to protect its own turf as DTH gets aggressive with full content and more service providers. With Tata Sky preparing for launch soon and Subhash Chandra’s Dish TV recently sewing a deal with SET-Discovery for a whole host of channels including Sony TV, Max, Discovery and Ten Sports, the writing is on the wall: cable will have to move in fast to migrate its customers from analogue to digital.

Jayaraman’s initial task is to defend Hathway’s direct points and the creamy customers of the local cable operators. “We will have to persuade our direct customers and the top-end subscribers of our local cable operators to opt for digital cable as they will form the main target for DTH service providers,” he says.

So far, that has been an agonisingly slow process. Hathway has managed to deploy just under 50,000 digital set-top boxes (STBs), mainly in its direct points. The distribution chain has not been supportive and, as Jayaraman says, only one-fifth of the last mile operators (LMOs) have been co-operative.

For energising the chain, Hathway is giving operators Rs 400 per digital STB. And on niche content, the multi-system operator (MSO) parts with a 50 per cent share on margins. Besides, operators who buy STBs on bulk are given discounts. “At the retail level, the LMOs will have to figure out what they want. It is in their interest to protect their networks,” says Jayaraman.

But how does Hathway woo customers and make them switch from analogue to digital? One way is to offer bundled packages along with the cable internet services. The idea is to lock in customers with ARPUs over a longer period while driving sales of digital STBs.

There are various schemes launched over a month-long period. Internet subscribers who have been sitting with Hathway for two years will be given the digital box free to use for a year. They will also have the option to buy the box for Rs 500 (box costs Rs 3375) but have to remain as Hathway’s internet customer for the whole year.

Boxes are available at Rs 1,000 for one-year-old customers. And for an existing internet subscriber who has not completed a year, the box is sold at Rs 2750 while Globus (retail store) coupon of Rs 500 is given along with a 20 per cent discount on Onkyo Home Theatres. New internet customers who subscribe to a minimum period of six months will have the option to buy the box for Rs 1000.

“We have started all these initiatives for the last one month. We are rewarding our customers for their loyalty while locking them for a longer period. We feel bundling will help as DTH can’t ptovide such services. We are in a unique position compared to the other MSOs as we have a substantial broadband subscriber base,” says Jayaraman.

Hathway is backing up the price incentives with a dose of marketing, unprecedented in the Indian cable TV industry. Discount coupons, roadshows, FM radio stations, hoardings, interactive contests – all these media vehicles are being used to promote digital cable. And it has a staff of 70 people on sales and customer support for the digital services. “Our monthly ad spend is Rs 800000-100000. We are now selling 5,000 boxes a month which is still low, but there has been an improvement in offtake,” says Jayaraman.

Tieing up with companies for discounts and co-branding is another exercise Hathway has started. “We are going to tie up with Citibank for a co-branded credit card which we will offer to our internet customers. For our digital cable, we are in talks with Onida for discount offers,” says Jayaraman.

Lining up premium content is not a focus area. Hathway, though, has launched an ad-free dial-up interactive music channel I-TV through its digital services. The channel, which is currently available in Mumbai and Pune, will also be taken to other cities. Hathway has also introduced gaming on its digital services last month, for which it has selected NDS technology.

Expanding the digital services to new cities is also part of Jayaraman’s plans. After launching in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune, Punjab will be the next stop.

Hathway is creating another arsenal for its fight against DTH. Plans are on to launch VoIP (voice over internet protocol) services by the end of the fiscal. Having built a two-way infrastructure for broadband, this is a natural progression for the MSO. “We had tested for analogue telephony with Bharti but feel VoIP is a better route for us. VoIP test is going on in Mumbai. We plan to launch at least in two cities this fiscal. We can bundle cable TV, broadband and VoIP services to customers which will add to our revenue streams,” says Jayaraman.

As the digital platforms gather force, nobody knows who will win the big fight. But, as Jayaraman says, cable will have to develop a well-rounded revenue stream if it has to survive the race.


Do you know alternative use of DTH ?

June 28, 2006

The Andhra Pradesh government has selected Nizamabad district to implement education through EDUSAT by setting up Direct To Home (DTH) television equipment at identified schools.

Project in-charge J.V. Ramana Reddy said that Sarva Siksha Abhiyan officials had identified 338 primary and upper primary schools spread over 36 mandals in the district to implement this project, as the government wants to use the booming entertainment and media technology.

The schools selected should have classrooms with wide spaces, uninterrupted power supply, etc. The main aim of this project is to support distance education for students through satellite. Educational programmes will be telecast through the State government’s educational channel, Mana TV, for which educational experts prepared the timetable in the year.

“The programmes will be relayed through DTH, which will be clearly visible to students in the classrooms. Teaching through satellite makes it possible to bring in the most qualified instructors to students living in the remotest corners of the country. We are planning to complete the project within two months.” Reddy said.