Interactive TV Service Comes to India

by CXOtoday Staff    Feb 26, 2009

ACT Television, a multi-service operator, has rolled out its first interactive TV services (IPTV) in Bangalore. The service will be later extended to cities across Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.

The Bangalore-based company has used advanced R&D expertise and technology for its IPTV services. Interactive TV is also known as triple play serves which allows television broadcasting, high-speed Internet connection and telephony.

Initially, the company is offering services like Internet videos, true movies on demand, pause and play live television facilities.

Sunder Raju, managing director of ACT Television said, "India is one of the largest cable markets in the world and has tremendous potential. Following our intensive R&D with the help of the technology providers, we are excited to be the first company to launch IPTV services in India and will provide reliable interactive TV services."

The company has tied up with various vendors like MRO-TEK, Scopus, IBM, Sun Microsystems, Oracle, among others, for their servers, hardware and networking applications.

India Value Fund Advisors (IVFA), a venture capitalist company, has invested a sum of $100 million in this new venture.

"The company has tied up with YouTube, wherein you can watch over 50,000 videos in the next three months. Besides video-on-demand offers movies of your choice across various categories," said Kirti Simha, chief consultant technology at ACT Televisions.

At present, the company has installed a Subscriber Management System, which permits customers to choose and create programme packages of their choice.

"The set-top boxes were designed by Varismo and has outsourced the manufacturing to a Taiwan-based company and the choice of hard disk is left to the customers," said Ruchira Puri, chief marketing officer at ACT Television.  The company is pricing the set-top box at Rs 4,999, besides Rs 300 as cable charges and Rs 350 per months for unlimited Internet access.

The company is targeting 100,000 homes in Bangalore to start with and as part of the second phase plans to add more features like VoIP, Messaging, Gaming, videoconferencing, e-Shopping, send email, voice mails, chatting and online interactive education. "A lot more of testing needs to be done before rolling out these kinds of services," said Simha.

In fact, the company claims they have laid extensive fibre optical and coaxial cables to reach homes in Bangalore city and the last mile is on CAT 5. The company is likely to expand to other cities in Karnataka, AP, and MP in the next 12-18 months.

What is unique is that the service operator provides the customers with a hard disk (at extra cost) that enables you to download movies and videos and view it later.

ACT Television has been a cable operator for the last 8-10 years, offering analog and broadband services across various cities.