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Dish TV to sell 60,000 HD set top boxes this fiscal

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Direct-to-home (DTH) operator today said it aims to sell 60,000 high-definition (HD) set top boxes this fiscal, riding on anticipated success of and Commonwealth Games this year.

The company today launched its High Definition (HD) service, with set top boxes (STBs) priced at Rs 5,990.

"The year has a lot of sporting events lined up like football World Cup, CWG and cricket World Cup next year, all of which will have a HD feed. This presents a great opportunity for us and we are looking at selling 60,000 units this fiscal and a quarter of a million in the next fiscal," Dish TV Managing Director Jawahar Goel told reporters here.

HD transmissions offer better picture and sound quality compared to standard definition (SD) transmission. HD set-top boxes, which offer wide-angle viewing, are considered particularly suitable for watching sporting events and action movies.

For DTH firms, HD set-top boxes promise a lucrative revenue stream as they will be priced higher than traditional devices and carry higher monthly charges.

While a normal box is priced at about Rs 4,000 and the total subscription cost hovers around Rs 150-200, Dish TV will offer HD STB at Rs 5,990 and the HD pack (with four channels) alone at Rs 150 per month.

"We will not subsidise the HD boxes as we believe this will be the value driver for us," Dish TV COO Salil Kapoor said.

Dish TV will ofer Zee TV HD, Zee Cinema HD, Discovery HD, National Geographic HD and FIFA World Cup broadcast by ESPN on HD, he added.

"The HD telecast will immensely enrich the experience of soccer fans as they get ready for the most eagerly anticipated sporting event this year," RC Venkateish, Managing Director, ESPN Software India said.

Currently, Sun Direct and Reliance BIG TV are the only other DTH operators offering HD service. Tata Sky has also announced its plans of offering the service this year.

"There is immense potential for HD in India, which will get biggest impetus this year with the Commonwealth games to be telecast in HD format. With more DTH platforms launching HD services, it will get a dramatic push this year," Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific Senior Vice president & General Manager, India said.

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