Engineering the next-generation of Indian television and Beyond

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Over the past 20 years, the Indian television market has evolved dramatically in terms of quality and variety of content, as well as the services and features now available. Gone are the days of black-and-white ‘community’ TV sets playing content from a handful of channels; today’s home subscribers in India regularly tune in to broadcasts on an a flat-screen TV. Clearly, the television market in India is rapidly evolving and as a result, consumer viewing habits are changing, too.

It’s all part of an ongoing shift that began with the Indian government’s mandate to digitize analog broadcast programming. The move has not only helped to organize and regulate broadcasts in India, but also allows operators in India to deploy new set-top box (STB) solutions to subscribers across the country and introduce advanced features.

Operators in India currently offer standard definition (SD) and are expanding high definition (HD) and interactive services, to offer consumers more advanced features and to provide operators with a competitive advantage in a crowded playing field.

According to analysts with Digital TV Research, there will be 158 million Pay TV households in India by 2018, making the region the second biggest global growth market for Pay TV. As new subscribers increasingly expect more sophisticated features such as HD channels, digital video recording and video-on-demand, operators will widely deploy the latest set-top boxes to consumers and in turn, help Indian consumers to re-thin how and what they watch on TV.

And as India’s pay TV market continues to expand, other areas of technology are already at-pace with more established markets. For example, smartphones and tablets are being launched in India at the same time as the global market. Similarly, satellite TV, driven by providers like Dish TV India and Tata Sky, is gaining in popularity. Satellite operators are working to retain customers with features based around HD channels and interactive services with STB technology to help bring these features to life at a cost-effective price.

As India’s television industry inevitably moves forward, the market is likely to see even more advanced technologies such as transcoding and high-efficiency video compression, which helps transmit high-definition video and other data and more efficient rates for better quality pictures or faster data rates Transcoding significantly enhances consumer experience by allowing users to tune into a live TV channel and watch it on a mobile screen in the same room, and at the same time that the main TV is playing another program. HEVC (H.265) is a new industry-wide compression standard that improves video quality and double coding efficiency, while delivering the bandwidth necessary to support multiscreen viewing. Ultimately, HEVC will enable the delivery of Ultra HD for all markets: a technology that delivers 4x the resolution of today’s HD TVs, enabling display resolutions of around 4,000 x 2,000 pixels on TV screens spanning up to 84 inches.

All of this bodes well for the Indian market, which is exploring new content and services. Global innovators have done their part by working to lower the cost of HD TV sets and delivering a technology to compress and deliver the high-bandwidth content consumers demand. It’s innovation like this which are sure to bring multiscreen viewing and HD one step closer to reality in the Indian marketplace.