A window on television

THINGS ARE changing on television. It is not interactive TV yet, but a new channel that is a window on every other channel piped to your home, has come to the city. It is simply called Channel Guide.

Cable operators are offering an array of channels, almost all of which telecast programmes throughout the day, and it involves quite a bit of surfing to select what you want to see, separating the original and repeats.

Since publications have their limitations to incorporate last minute changes in the listings, there is space on air for a channel that samples everything else, continuously.

Channel Guide provides not only the listings, but also information on the programme.

It also promotes a new concept in television advertising.

Explains Mr. Rajesh Jain, Managing Director, Channel Guide India, ``Ours is the first and only digital satellite television information channel in the country. It is a unique promotion platform for television, films, music and events.''

The idea is to change the concept of television from that of an idiot box to an information and technology box.

The free-to-air channel telecast from the Thaicom 3 satellite platform, will be on air from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The listings are divided into categories such as soaps during day and during prime time, sports, cinema, faith/astrology, health, mythological, finance, thrillers and horror, infotainment, sitcoms, game shows.

Special promotions and intra-day repeats tell the viewer what the latest is. During the day, there is a visual window with snatches of the programme, while in the evening, it shifts to text-based information.

Channel Guide, which is in talks with the regional channels in South and with the cable operators, brings the schedule of all the eighty-plus channels currently available to Indian viewers along with highlights/synopsis of the programmes and films.

Even those channels which are kept out of the bouquet by the local operators, such as Hallmark in Chennai, will be featured.

This would give the viewers a chance to ask for a particular channel based on its popularity.

The promoters also intend providing their latest and updated programme listings to publications, which are usually considered too small to be on the mailing list of the channels themselves.

By N. Ravi Kumar