Digital Transmission for TV – UPSC GS3

The broadcast regulator TRAI has recommended introduction of digital terrestrial transmission for broadcast services in a phased manner and complete shutdown of Analog transmission by end of 2023.
At present, terrestrial TV broadcasting in India is under the exclusive domain of Doordarshan (Prasar Bharati), the Public Service Broadcaster and it is predominantly Analog.
While a large number of TV channels are available to the consumers through various delivery platforms such as DTH, Cable TV, IPTV, HITS etc., the existing terrestrial TV platform provides only a few channels which do not offer a value proposition to the viewers.
 Recommendations made by TRAI:
  • Private players should be permitted to provide DTT services along with the public service broadcaster.
  • Public broadcaster may be permitted to operate maximum three transmitters at a given location out of which one may be exclusively used for provision of mobile TV services.
  • Private broadcasters may be permitted to operate maximum four transmitters (with spectrum capacity of 8 MHz each) at a given location subject to availability of spectrum.
  • Maximum number of DTT providers may be capped at five (one public broadcaster and four private broadcasters) as per availability of spectrum.
  • Trai has recommended that DTT should be deployed in metros by December 2019 in phase 1, cities having more than 10 lakh population as per Census 2011 should be covered by December 2021 and rest of India by December 2023.
Advantages of DTT:
  • There are a number of advantages of digital terrestrial television.
  • The platform is content agnostic and can be adapted to handle new forms of content.
  • Frequency use is much more efficient, allowing for the transmission of 20 to 30 SD channels in the spectrum occupied by a single television channel in an analog signal.
  • DTT offers better quality of images and sound as compared to analog signals.
  • A combination of DTT transmitters at a single location can provide consumers with a range of content options, including radio and video feeds of various qualities.
  • The DTT transmitters have lower power requirements than traditional analog transmitters. The signals can be received easily by moving vehicles and mobile phones.
  • DTT transmitters can facilitate mobile data offload services, for better use of available resources.
Practice worldwide:
Luxembourg was the first country to shift from analog TV in 2006. Countries in the Americas and Europe followed suite. China is expected to shift by 2018, and Brazil has plans to shut off analog TV towers by 2023.

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