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India: Sun Direct, Samsung Team Up on HD

Color television was not introduced to most of India until about 30 years ago, but today the world’s second most-populated (and considerably wealthier) nation is not about to play catch-up with HD technology in the digital era.

As the Commonwealth Games approach in 2010, Indian DBS firm Sun Direct HD is now in the process of ramping up a half-dozen HD channels to complement its SD channel tier, with new HD venues rolling out gradually in the next couple of years.

At a recent press briefing, Sun Direct said it now has a transponder dedicated to HD channels available on the same satellite that currently beams its SD fare. While, technically, one transponder can handle up to seven HD content streams, cost-saving initiatives at the DBS company will limit its initial HD throughput to Educational Channel, English Movies, Hindi GEC, Kids, Tamil GEC, and Tamil/Telugu movies.

Meanwhile, in a number of deals to make the new HD tier possible, Sun Direct said it will “tie up” with Cartoon Network (for Kids channel), UTV World Movies (for English films), and Samsung to promote the HD content. Samsung India also will manufacture Sun Direct HD set-top boxes, and therefore, will also be promoting itself in the tie-up.