Introduction to DTH Services
DTH stands for Direct-To-Home television. DTH is defined as the reception of satellite programmes with a personal dish in an individual home.
How does DTH work?
A DTH network consists of a broadcasting centre, satellites, encoders, multiplexers, modulators and DTH receivers.
A DTH service provider has to lease Ku-band transponders from the satellite. The encoder converts the audio, video and data signals into the digital format and the multiplexer mixes these signals. At the user end, there will be a small dish antenna and set-top boxes to decode and view numerous channels. On the user's end, receiving dishes can be as small as 45 cm in diameter.
DTH is an encrypted transmission that travels to the consumer directly through a satellite. DTH transmission is received directly by the consumer at his end through the small dish antenna. A set-top box, unlike the regular cable connection, decodes the encrypted transmission.
Difference between DTH & Cable TV :-
The way DTH reaches a consumer's home is different from the way cable TV does. In DTH, TV channels would be transmitted from the satellite to a small dish antenna mounted on the window or rooftop of the subscriber's home. So the broadcaster directly connects to the user. The middlemen like local cable operators are not there in the picture.
DTH can also reach the remotest of areas since it does away with the intermediate step of a cable operator and the wires (cables) that come from the cable operator to your house. As we explained above, in DTH signals directly come from the satellite to your DTH dish.
Also, with DTH, a user can scan nearly 700 channels!
DTH offers better quality picture than cable TV. This is because cable TV in India is analog. Despite digital transmission and reception, the cable transmission is still analog. DTH offers stereophonic sound effects. It can also reach remote areas where terrestrial transmission and cable TV have failed to penetrate. Apart from enhanced picture quality, DTH has also allows for interactive TV services such as movie-on-demand, Internet access, video conferencing and e-mail.
History of DTH in India :-
DTH services were first proposed in India in 1996. But they did not pass approval because there were concerns over national security and a cultural invasion. In 1997, the government even imposed a ban when the Rupert Murdoch-owned Indian Sky Broadcasting (ISkyB) was about to launch its DTH services in India.
Finally in 2000, DTH was allowed. The new policy requires all operators to set up earth stations in India within 12 months of getting a license. DTH licenses in India will cost $2.14 million and will be valid for 10 years. The companies offering DTH service will have to have an Indian chief and foreign equity has been capped at 49 per cent. There is no limit on the number of companies that can apply for the DTH license.
Growth Potential of DTH in India :-
Today, India has about 120 million television homes, out of which 75 million are cable TV homes, with the majority share on analog mode. There is a gap of approximately 45 million between these two figures alone. DTH currently caters to about 8.9 million subscribers .There would always be a lot of areas that cable still cannot reach but DTH can between MSOs (multiple system operators) and DTH.
Given the size of the Indian market there would be large volumes in both cable and DTH. In this industry, 10 years is too long; hence a five-year view would be more realistic. DTH will grab a major share and be at about 20-22 million subscribers by 2013.
CAGR (compound annual growth rate) for DTH in India is 30%.
DTH Players in India.
DTH Service Providers
DD Direct +
Tata + Star (JV)
Airtel Digital TV
Marans and Astro group (JV)
ETH Air TV
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