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Doordarshan City-specific channels now possible in India

The Prasar Bharati last month decided to phase out analogue terrestrial television transmitters of Doordarshan and the transition to digital network would open a world of possibilities including, new city-specific DD channels.

In case of analogue transmitters one needs dedicated transmitters for each channel. With digital, one can broadcast as many channels as needed. With Doordarshan’s extensive presence across the nation and the infrastructure, the digitisation could mean it open new channels catering exclusively to cities, informing them about traffic jams, or weather reports, or events and news, all tailored for individual cities. It will also help DD to talk to its audience in their own dialects and connecting with them at a micro level. It will be similar to city-specific radio channels that are airing out of many metros. Very few private television channels have ventured down to this level.

 “With our national presence, manpower and infrastructure we are in a unique position to enable it,” Prasar Bharti CEO, Shashi Shekhar Vempati said. This is a long pending move, which, as per Prasar Bharati own deadlines, was to be completed by 2017, but the board dithered on felling the final axe on analogue transmitters. World over, broadcasters have moved from analogue to digital.

The existing 1412 analogue TV transmitters in India serve about 88% of the population. As on date, Doordarshan is operating 31 channels. There are digital transmitters only in 19 major cities and these too have come up only in last couple of years. The CEO added that “For now, no deadline has been fixed on when the analogue systems will be entirely phased out.