Users can watch programmes through dongle at nominal price; archival footage soon

There is some good news for fans of yesteryear television shows. Chennaiites will soon be able to catch all the channels of Doordarshan Podhigai on their mobile phones, smart phones and laptops. And that too, at nominal rates.

While the scheme initially will involve programmes currently playing on the twelve channels, it will soon encompass archival footage, said Doordarshan officials. Laptop users will have to buy a dongle at a nominal price to get DD Podhigai started on their laptops. “Once they buy the dongle, they can watch programmes for free, said M. Anandan, deputy director general (engineering), Doordarshan.

As part of the first stage of making content available via smart phones, talks are on with mobile service providers who will offer programmes as part of a package,” said officials. “In the long run, we are planning to work with chip set companies in embedding the technology in the system software itself,” Mr. Anandan added. The services, said officials, would need no buffering.

Two of the 12 channels to be made available to Chennai viewers will be in high definition. Until now, the telecast of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi was the only instance of an HD telecast on Doordarshan.

Two transmitters that will relay the digital content are all set to be installed in Chennai. “We should start telecasting by the end of this year. These changes are being introduced as Doordarshan goes digital from analog this year,” he said.

“While all channels of Doordarshan will be free, we may also consider providing some pay channels,” Mr. Anandan said. The facility will be initially offered to viewers in the four metros and then be extended to six more cities. Doordarshan had experimented with mobile broadcast a few years ago, but the radius was limited to New Delhi.

A special team is also working on content that will appeal to youngsters. This seems especially relevant in the light of the response of many erstwhile viewers to the channel’s plan. Viewers such as V. Sudharshan, a retired professor, welcomed the decision but wondered how the content would resonate with younger viewers. “I like Podhigai because there are many programmes on agriculture and spirituality. But, my children who use smart phones hardly watch it,” he said.

Anurag Manas, a 32-year-old banker said he was looking forward to DD on his mobile phone. “I am a big fan of old programmes of DD. At present, they are available only in the DVD format and are telecast at specific timings on DD channels. Although, they are available on Youtube, buffering takes a long time. It will be nice if the old programmes are also telecast with much clarity, as part of the new offering,” he said.

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