Star, Tatas join hands for DTH

New Delhi: Rupert Murdoch's Star Television has told the Indian government that the company has tied up with the Tatas for its direct-to-home (DTH) foray and will launch its services by mid-2004.

As per the DTH guidelines issued in 2000 that ceiling for the broadcaster's holding in a DTH venture at 20 per cent, the Tatas are expected to be offered 80 per cent of the equity in the Rs 250-crore Space Television. Star will hold the remaining 20 per cent.

"We have been told that Space Television will offer a bouquet of 100 channels using Star's B-Sky-B platform and will also have a pay-per-view system for some of its programmes," an information and broadcasting ministry official was quoted as saying. "Star intends to roll out its DTH services by March or April 2004."

DTH involves the installation of a dish antenna of 60 to 90 cm radius and a set-top box at the subscriber's end to receive television signals transmitted from a satellite. Space Television is to charge Rs 400 per month from its subscribers and is looking at ways to give subsidy on the set-top box, which is priced at Rs 5,000 per unit.