It is a system of T.V. broadcasting services where T.V. signal are transmitted directly to the viewer side stepping the cable operators.
In DTH system, the service provider branches together signals of bouquet of channels in a codified or scrambled form to be received by Ku- band transponder present in Geostationary satellite, from where these signals can be easily down linked by the viewers-by using 15-30 cm dish antenna.
These signals can be made compatible to T.V. viewing by using a smart card and decoder, the combination which helps in unscrambling the codified signals. In general, DTH service is one in which a large number of channels are digitally compressed, encrypted and beamed from very high power satellites. The programmes can be directly received at homes. However, a digital receiver is needed to receive the multiplexed signals and view them on a TV.
The technology of DTH ensures highest quality of voice, video as it uses digital form of communication system. The DTH service also provides various value added services such as internet services, telemedicine, video conferencing etc. Since in DTH technology, all the encoded transmission signals are digital.
Thus, it provides higher resolution picture quality and better audio than traditional analog signals. In recent years DTH has become the buzzword in the satellite broadcasting industry because of immense opportunities it offers to broadcasters and viewers. However, the main advantages of DTH transmission are:
i. It facilitates use of small dish antennas which could be easily installed in individual homes and provides a large number of services within the same transponder.
ii. The broadcaster would be able to introduce a number of new interactive applications such as internet access, email, VoD. It can be also used for public service messages.
iii. Another benefit of the DTH transmission is that it keeps out intermediaries like cable operators who could distort the subscription income.
iv. For public broadcaster like Prasar Bharati, free to air DTH broadcasting has emerged as viable alternative for universal coverage of population with Television programmes.
The government permitted DTH broadcasting in India on November 2000. The primary reason for the government to have permitted DTH seems to be its proven capability of serving rural areas as well as population scattered over vast distances in remote and hilly areas. The DTH policy is also in place to regulate the broadcasters and keeping interests of consumer in mind.
The TRAI under unified license Regime has recommended that DTH can serve as alternative platform for broadband services. Considering this view, DTH services of Doordarshan has been launched in 2004.
Its bouquet consists of 33 TV channels besides 12 AIR channels. The DTH signals are presently available in the entire country except Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
But the Indian situation, where the cables system is well developed, the success of DTH will ultimately depend upon pricing andantino that is package of channels offered. Currently, cable operators are providing more than 70 channels for about Rs. 20 a month for subscriber and unless DTH service is comparable to the existing cable service, it may be confined to few cash rich urban markets.
However, it has been estimated that the cost of system may fall with increase in its penetration over a period of time but its initially high cost limiting its entry in rural area.
Apart from India DTH service is operational in US, Europe, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and other countries. It is also estimated that, soon the number of households receiving DTH will cross 100 million subscriber worldwide. Europe has got the distinction of having world’s most developed DTH market. In the Asian region its penetration is not to the extent of US and Europe.