15 Mar : After Prasar Bharati’s floating of global tenders for coverage of the 2010 Commonwealth Games fuelled protests among its employees, board of directors of the public broadcaster is assessing if Doordarshan can be upgraded to provide high definition broadcast of the event.
Prasar Bharati’s Board of Directors has asked its CEO B S Lalli to find out if the technology at Doordarshan can be revamped at a cost of Rs 463 crore, allocated to it by the Government for broadcasting and coverage of the Games.
"The Board has sought from Lalli a report detailing the costing for transforming Doordarshan’s SDTV broadcasting platform to a HDTV one," Prasar Bharati Board member Sunil Dang told the news agency.
Sources in Prasar Bharati said the mini PSU Broadcast Engineers Corporation India Limited (BECIL) has already been engaged to determine the cost of upgrading Doordarshan’s transmission facility to high definition.
However, at present there are only a few TV sets in the country, which are high definition (HD) enabled. Moreover, such sets are manufactured abroad, a senior DD official said.
"The cost of these sets are in the range of Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 each and they are not currently available in the country," the official said.
At present, the national broadcaster uses analog-based transmitters for standard television broadcast.Prasar Bharati has already floated a global expression of interest (EOI) for the Games with the CEO saying it was taken up to provide quality broadcast of the Games.
As of now, 10 foreign broadcasting companies, including Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Television, have shown preliminary interest for the coverage.
However, the floating of tender had fuelled a flurry of objections from board members and employees, who alleged that the CEO is working in collusion with private television firms.
The board members and employees had objected to involving foreign firms and had been demanding that the facilities at Doordarshan be upgraded.
The board sought the details of the revamp in its 16th February meeting, but its subsequent meetings to discuss the matter was deferred for the third time in a row as Lalli sought more time to reply to the query.
"Since the Board has given me the work to verify things and more time is required to get in place all the required details, the board meeting scheduled for 3rd March stands cancelled," Lalli had communicated to the Board members.
The Board’s meeting was rescheduled for 12th March but it too has been deferred.
Upgrading Doordarshan into a HD format will require replacing its tuners and cables.
Once done, the format will be able to transmit pictures with higher resolution and better compression than the SDTV system.