New Delhi: Just a month after the Union Cabinet allowed broadcasters to share content with Internet Protocol Television or IPTV providers, at least two upcoming channels with this technology have already been announced. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness or ISKON is planning a devotional channel while the Indira Gandhi National Open University or IGNOU is looking to launch an educational channel. Both have signed deals with IPTV service provider TIME Broadband Services.
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The exclusive new channels will be in addition to the conventional bouquet available on cable or direct-to-home.
IPTV is a system where an interactive digital television service is delivered over an Internet connection instead of being transmitted through a cable network.
Says Sujata Dev, MD & CEO at TIME Broadband Services, “It wont be like a broadcast channel. This would be available on demand. Like if you want to see it at 8 O’ clock you could see certain part of it. Suppose you want to see a particular experiment in chemistry then it could play that out.”
Service providers hope to charge a monthly fee of Rs 200-250 for the basic service for which content will be similar to that on cable and DTH. But for exclusive channels, IPTV customers will have to pay extra according to usage. TIME Broadband is targeting a million consumers in one year.
“On traditional broadcast TV you can imagine programs running back to back, what you see and what time you see you are limited by that. Here when you come to ISKON TV if you have a question in your mind and you say I want to know about spirituality in children and how to inculcate that. So probably when you do a search you will be taken to that content,” says Irfan Khan, the chief creative officer at TIME Broadband Services.
Users will also get new services such as video on demand which would enable them to watch their favorite movies for a fee. They can also pause, fast forward and rewind live and recorded content stored on a remotely located server by the service provider. Since IPTV delivers TV channels in digital form, the quality of TV viewing is expected to be superior compared with analog transmission. It also gives opportunities of TV commerce wherein subscribers can buy products even as they are watching a TV programme.
IPTV service providers insist they are not in competition with DTH and cable operators and are hoping to make a mark by offering exclusive content – something DTH has been unable to do so far. Yet, given the limited penetration of broadband in India, how far this technology succeeds would depend on the response of consumers who may be happy subscribing to one DTH service provider or another.