NEW DELHI: Public broadcaster Doordarshan’s free direct-to-home (DTH) service Freedish is set to increase its capacity to 112 channels as the equipment required for upgrading the DTH platform has been installed, Minister of State in the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore said.
The DTH platform, which was earlier providing 64 channels, has increased its capacity to 80 channels as on date. It has added 11 new channels including two Marathi channels while five slots are empty, as per the minister.
“Prasar Bharati has intimated that DD Freedish DTH service of Doordarshan provides 80 channels. Equipment for upgrade of DTH platform for telecast of 112 TV channels has been installed,” Rathore told the Lok Sabha.
The new channels are Manoranjan Movies, Movie House, Shri News, Star Gold Romance, Naaptol Blue, Khushboo, Housefull Action, RT Movies, Vision TV Shiksha, Fakt Marathi, and Chitrapat Marathi.
Rathore also said that there are no plans to provide pay channels on the platform. “At present, there is no policy for making DTH services of Doordarshan available to telecast pay channels,” he stated.
Buoyed by the availability of additional capacity, Freedish had recently reserved slots for non-Hindi regional channels for the first the time as part of the 26th e-auction, which was held on 15 February. It had also put up slots in the general category for auction.
The DTH operator had set a reserve price of Rs 2 crore (Rs 20 million) per slot for regional channels. The reserve price for general channels remained the same at Rs 4.3 crore (Rs 43 million).
“There is expansion due to which we have got additional capacity and we have some slots for regional channels to make the bouquet richer. Capacity has increased; however, I am not in a position to reveal the actual number,” Prasar Bharati deputy director general CK Jain had earlier told TelevisionPost.com.
Freedish had migrated to GSAT-15 satellite with effect from 1 February. I&B minister Arun Jaitley had earlier said that Freedish would get additional transponder capacity on GSAT-15 to enhance its capacity to 250 channels as part of the approved 12th Plan.
The Department of Space (DoS) has agreed in principle to provide additional transponders on the new GSAT-15 satellite required for upgrade to 250 TV channels, Jaitley had said.