Sunday, August 24, 2008

Reliance launches Big TV, High Definition TV by year end

Finally the news I was waiting for. Reliance Communications has just given all us hi-definition enthusiasts in India something to cheer about. Reliance Communication has just launched Big TV - their Direct To Home (DTH) service to compete with Dish TV and Tata Sky and a host of other smaller regional DTH services. In and by itself this would not have been very exciting news had it not been for the promise of launching HDTV by the end of the year!

Finally India will have its own broadcast high definition TV channels - something I have been waiting for a while! Reliance has finally done it and proven that they are indeed delivering incredible value to the customer with the latest technology - not a mean feat considering that none of the other DTH providers today have any plans for high definition broadcasts.

One of the main enablers for high definition broadcasts is the video and audio encoding format - Reliance Big TV plans to use MPEG-4. MPEG-4 is efficient across a variety of bit-rates ranging from a few kilobits per second to tens of megabits per second - making it ideally suited for high definition broadcasts. MPEG-4 supports MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 used by the x264 codec and MPEG-4 SP/ASP used by DivX and XviD.

Reliance plans to launch with about 200 channels and expand that to about 300-350 channels by Q1 2009. They also plan about 8-10 High Definition channels by year end. Big TV will also offer recording of programs to view later similar to TiVo functionality. Very exciting! Watch this space for more updates.