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Efforts afoot to have built-in satellite tuners in TV sets
Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur on Monday said efforts are afoot to have a built-in satellite tuner in television sets to offer access to over 200 channels, a move that would allow viewers to watch programmes without Doordarshan’s ‘Free Dish’. He said there has been a humongous expansion of general entertainment channels on Free Dish, which has helped attract crores of viewers.
“I have made a new beginning in my department. If your television has a built-in satellite tuner, then there will be no need to have a separate set-top box. One can have access to more than 200 channels at the click of the remote,” he told reporters.
The minister, however, made it clear that the decision in this matter is yet to be taken. In December last year, Thakur had written to Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw to issue directions to television manufacturers to adopt the standards issued by the Bureau of Industrial Standards for built-in satellite tuners.
Television sets with built-in satellite tuners would enable reception of free-to-air television and radio channels by mounting a small antenna at a suitable place such as at the rooftop or side wall of a building. At present, television viewers need to purchase a set-top box for viewing various paid and free channels.
The viewer is required to use a set-top box even for the reception of free-to-air channels (non-encrypted) transmitted by Doordarshan.
Doordarshan is in the process of phasing out analog transmission and free-to-air channels will continue to be broadcast using digital satellite transmission.
The number of households having Doordarshan Free Dish have more than doubled since 2015.
A KPMG report had pegged Doordarshan Free Dish users at 20 million in 2015. The number had increased to 43 million in 2021.
Thakur said as per the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, SWAYAM Prabha channels were started for classes 1 to 12 in record time during the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure that the poor and those staying in rural areas had access to education.
“Today there are about 55 such channels and state governments are starting their own channels separately. Apart from news channels, there has been tremendous expansion of general entertainment channels on Free Dish,” he added. PTI