New Delhi: Chennai based, DTH operator Sun Direct Tv Private Ltd, is expecting to add over 45,000 subscribers to its newly launched definition television service by the March 2010. Speaking at the sidelines of the launch, Tony D’Silva, COO, Sun Direct said, “We have about 1,000 customers on our HDTV platform, which was launched on a trial basis in April this year, we hope to get in about 45,000-50,000 HDTV subscribers by the end of this fiscal."

While the set top box will be given to the subscriber without any additional charge, the cost of installation and one year subscription will cost the customer betweem 9,500 to 10,000. The average annual cost to a subscriber at present stands at around 2,500.

Sun Direct TV aims to increase is number of subscribers from 4.8 million at present to 5.5 million-6 million subscribers for the full range of its direct-to-home services by the end of the current fiscal. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.’s telecommunication systems division will manufacture the high-definition set-top boxes for Sun Direct TV. The deal has been done between Sun Direct and Samsung’s telecommunications Systems Division. “The deal has been done directly from Samsung’s Korea office and we as Samsung India Electronics Ltd will support them in promotion and marketing," Ravindra Zutshi, Deputy managing director,Samsung India Electronics Pvt. Ltd said.

Samsung currently sells 60 % full HD LCD Tvs out of the total LCD TV sales made in an year. " Next year we expect Full HD to be about 80 % of our LCD TV sales," Zutshi added. Samsung would help Sun Direct in below the line promotion of the new service. The company has about 400 Samsung exclusive stores across India where the Sundirect set-top-boxes would be promoted along with Samsung HDTVs.

Sun Direct TV said it will be offering a selection of five television channels including Hindi GEC, Tamil GEC, English Movie, Kids, Educational and Tamil/ Telugu movies on its new service. “To convert a channel into an HDTV channel costs nearly 1.5 crore, so it is too expensive all channels on air to HDTV. We had to get an additional transponder to cater to HDTV," added D’Silva. Sun Direct is controlled by the Maran family, which runs television broadcaster Sun TV Network Ltd., with an 80% stake, while Malaysia’s Astro Group holds the rest.