A peep into future television

Interactive television will enter Indian living rooms faster than we think.

Fast-forward five years.

Flipping through the movie channels; my eyes catch Nicole Kidman. With my remote I reach the 'electronic programme guy', (better known by its abbreviation EPG, an in-built utility appearing on the television screen) which gives me the details of the movie: the title, the star cast, the director, the story in a nutshell, the duration in minutes, the number of minutes I have missed and the upcoming movie. Glad I haven't missed much, I continue watching The Hours.

In the middle of an India-Pakistan match, one Sunday, a viewer receives an urgent call from his client in UK. Only, he is not upset at the interruption. He presses a button on his remote and the 'personal video recorder' (PVR), records the match for the duration that he takes to attend the call. He can, later, go back to the portion of the match he has missed.

Sounds like fiction TV? Maybe. But very soon it will be the new reality TV. Welcome to the world of interactive television, which is already available in US. Says Peter Mukerjea, chief executive, Star India, "Interactive TV is becoming the new order of media and should be available in India, at a reasonable price in five years."

So what is interactive TV? It is a convergence technology that will convert the one-way passive TV viewing into a two-way interactive experience. The technology would enable television viewers accessing remote servers and the internet through their television and the digital set top device.