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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tata Sky to beam more regional channels

Tata Sky to beam more regional channels
Direct-to-home (DTH) service provider Tata Sky got a boost along with the successful launch of India’s advanced communication satellite GSAT-10 from the European spaceport in French Guiana.

With design life of 15 years, the satellite is expected to augment telecommunication, DTH and radio navigation services. It is fitted with 30 transponders —12 Ku-band (used for DTH services), 12 C-band and six extended C-band.

Constrained for bandwidth, Tata Sky hopes to secure “quite a few transponders” on the GSAT-10, said Harit Nagpal, Managing Director of the company. Once operational from November 2012, this would enable it to carry 150-200 channels additionally.

Currently, with 12 Ku-band transponders on INSAT- 4A, it offers over 200 standard and high definition channels across genres and languages.

Besides, since the new satellite beam will be in the same direction (83 degree east) as its INSAT-4A feed, Tata Sky will not have to spend time realigning its existing customers’ dish antennae to a new signal direction.

“As we are planning to accommodate a spate of Tamil and Malayalam channels, besides various other language channels, this would enable us to plug the demand-supply gap in Tamil Nadu and Kerala markets in a big way,” said Nagpal.

At present, a majority of DTH players have anywhere between 12 and 15 transponders on different satellites (except Dish TV, which acquired six transponders roughly two years ago to take its total to 18).

Even the best of compression technology (MPEG 4) can squeeze in 25 standard definition (SD) channels to a transponder, and hence can offer only 200-350 channels. And each high definition (HD) channel will consume bandwidth capacity of almost three standard definition channels.

While there are over 800 satellite channels available in India, and many SD channels are getting converted into HD channels, DTH players have to juggle with regional and national channels to retain their subscriber base. Also these players cannot have capacities in two different satellites in different directions, as dish alignment would be a problem.

With the new satellite on, Tata Sky has to invest in setting up an uplinking facility on ground. “But, that’s not a big deal,” says Nagpal. It currently has two such facilities in New Delhi and Chennai to uplink channels to INSAT-4A, to avoid monsoon interruptions.

Source:- thehindubusinessline

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