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Customers gain as DTH war heats up with interactive services

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Sep 17 (UNI) Controlling live broadcasts with options like changing camera angles, switching the language of match commentary, programming the idiot box to remind about favourite shows, accessing a news story as it breaks simultaneously on different channels, playing games without missing out on other favourite programmes and catching up the latest movies at one's own convenience at just a click of a button.

With direct to home (DTH) entertainment slowly making its way into Indian drawing rooms, watching television is no more a passive act.

Watching television has become active as DTH operators are offering a wide range of interactive services to viewers enabling them to exercise their franchise in terms of what they want to watch and listen and the manner in which they want to do it.

While newly launched Tata Sky, a joint venture between Tata Group and Star, was the first to announce such services, Essel Group's Dish TV picked up the trend with its news and sports 'Active'.

Both operators provide active news, sports active, movie on demand, active gaming and search and scan banner services in order to capture a major portion of Rs 200-crore DTH market.

''Active games and active Star News are perfect examples of how television today has transformed into an interactive medium, allowing viewers the opportunity to do more than just watch television,'' Tata Sky Ltd CEO Vikram Kaushik says.

Tata Sky teamed up with UK-based NDS Group Plc, a majority-owned subsidiary of News Corporation and leading provider of technology solutions for digital pay television, to deploy range of digital and interactive TV services.

The operator offers 'Activ Wizkids' edutainment service, which seeks to enhance a child's classroom learning through entertaining, yet educational games.

''It is a set of games for kids in the age group of 3-6 years, which deal with subjects like English, Mathematics and General knowledge, and aim to supplement the child's classroom learning,'' Mr Kaushik says.

Tata Sky's another service called 'Parental Control' gives options of either blocking a particluar channel or a specific movie.

Dish TV, on the other hand, signed a Rs 500-crore deal with US-based interactive technology provider Open TV, to deliver a variety of advanced interactive television services including PVRs (Personal Video Recorders) and EPGs (Electronic Programme Guides) to widen its 1.4 million subscriber base.

It has also planned the launch of music, games and business on an interactive platform.

''We will launch the music and business interactive services in about three months time,'' Dish TV Business Head Jawahar Goel says adding, initially, the services will be available on Zee Business, Zee Music and ETC.

The group is also in talks with other news and sports channels like ESPN, Sony and Setmax, to seek co-operation for offering the active services.

Having so many choices without being required to pay any extra rupee, the viewers are the real beneficiaries. And, with Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group also planning to launch its DTH service 'Blue Magic', in collaboration with Sun TV, they can only look forward to get entertained with choice, control and convenience.


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