India's public broadcaster Doordarshan (DD) is launching a new package of 120 channels for its direct-to-home (DTH) satellite TV service, previously known as DD Direct + and reportedly to be renamed Freedish.
After launch in March 2014, the broadcaster expects to add a million viewers to the expanded INSAT 4B-based free-to-air service each month, according Indiantelevision.com. DD Direct + currently has a reported 17 million active viewers for its 59 channel service – comprising 21 DD channels and 38 others.
It costs INR1,200 to purchase a set-top box for the existing DD Direct + service, while the 120 channel enabled STBs are expected to be priced at INR1,400. The purchase of the set-top box is a one-off purchase, with no subsequent monthly subscription.
Set-top boxes for the expanded service are already being shipped from seven international manufacturers. Unlike before, customers will need to activate their DD recommended set-top boxes to receive the newly encrypted signals. Call centres will also reportedly be established to improve customer service.
In addition to DD Direct +, there are six private pay-TV DTH platforms in India: Dish TV, Tata Sky, Airtel Digital, Sun Direct, Videocon d2h, and Reliance Digital.