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Doordarshan expands and renames DTH TV service

India’s public broadcaster Doordarshan (DD) is launching a new package of 120 channels for its direct-to-home (DTH) satellite TV service, previously known as DD Direct + and said to be renamed Freedish.

After launch in March 2014, the broadcaster expects to add a million viewers to the expanded free-to-air service each month, according to DD Direct + currently has 17 million active viewers for its 59 channel service – comprising 21 DD channels and 38 others.

Rapid TV News reports that set-top boxes for the expanded service are already being shipped from seven international manufacturers. Customers will need to activate their DD recommended set-top boxes to receive the newly encrypted signals. Call centres will be established to improve customer service.

Doordarshan expects to cover a substantial portion of India’s DTH market by the time the phase-IV of digitisation is completed. It also expects a large number of viewers to switch to its “Freedish” from cable and other DTH services as it offers a number of channels at no monthly charges for life.

DD Direct +, or Freedish, is the only free-to air DTH service in India, with another six being private pay-TV DTH platforms.