NEW DELHI: Doordarshan will not need to shift to another satellite for augmenting its DD Direct Plus DTH platform to 150 channels in the first phase by the end of this year.
DD sources told indiantelevision.com that efforts were on to increase the capacity of the existing transponders and, thus, DD may at the most need one more transponder on the same satellite – Insat 4A.
Early last month, Prasar Bharati approved the expansion to 250 channels, encouraged by the success of the e-auction of the slots on the free-to-air DD Direct Plus. This will be done in two stages: 150 channels by December 2011 and another 100 channels in the next calendar year. This figure includes the slots for which e-auctions were held.
Doordarshan recently e-auctioned and allotted 26 slots to private broadcasters on DD Direct Plus, bringing in Rs 630 million. This is more than three times the amount generated before migrating to the e-auction mechanism two months ago (charging Rs 8 million per slot).
Meanwhile, the sources said that the existing 54 channels including the ones that are on air and the ones for which auctions have been held will remain on MPEG 2, and the rest of the 96 channels will be on MPEG 4. Thus any subscriber wanting the channels that are on MPEG 4 will have to buy a new set-top box, which will cost around Rs 1200 and will be compatible for both MPEG 2 and MPEG 4.