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Dishtv in Cars: dishtv's direct to car
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Dish TV, the direct-to-home (DTH) venture of the Essel Group, has introduced its latest offering, their direct-to-car (DTC) satellite television system. The unit comes in two models with a price tag of Rs 79,000 and Rs 1,49,000 and can be fitted on a car, bus or any sports utility vehicle.

Salil Kapoor, chief operating officer, Dish TV, says that the new service is for all those who need to stay connected with the world — they could be people with interest in stock markets, sports, politicians, celebrities and businessmen.

He says, "Demand and enquiries for our mobile DTH units have been overwhelming from states such as Delhi, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, among others. We are pushing our mobile DTH units very aggressively."

The DTC is similar to the standard Dish TV setup one can install at home, and it provides all the same television channels that we have become hooked on to, all in the comfort of your car. The only notable difference between what one gets in their car and their home is an antenna specially designed to work in moving vehicles.

At the heart of the system is a specialized antenna which is mounted on the vehicle's roof that is designed to automatically track the Dish TV satellite regardless of the vehicle's orientation and speed of travel.

The company currently has two types of unique antennas, the Speed Ray and the T5, which differ vastly in their capabilities. The T5 is the entry-level antenna which is an aerodynamically designed 'tub' that magnetically latches on to the roof. Inside the tub, the antenna apparatus can change direction and angle using electric motors to maintain 'line-of-sight' to the satellite.

This 8 kg antenna can only be used in the Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh region and it has the ability to receive 70 channels. The larger and heavier (25 kg) Speed Ray antenna is more high-tech than the T5 and looks flat and sleek like a wide surfboard mounted on roof rails. It is also more potent in its abilities, being able to work all over India receiving almost 100 channels.

Whichever antenna one chooses, it plugs in to a standard Dish TV set-top box inside the car through an RF cable, which is connected to a LCD screen for the video and the car's audio system for the sound.

Dish TV also provides a separate IR receiver for the remote control which can conveniently be placed anywhere in the car. The LCD screen setup however, is not provided by the company and it's up to the customers' discretion to choose what make and size is best suitable.

Apart from a Rs 300 monthly subscription, the estimated cost of T5 system is around Rs 79,000 while that of the Speed Ray is Rs 1.5 lakh, both of which include the cost of the set-top box. For a clear reception of the signal, there should not be something too close to the car blocking the antenna in the south-east direction.

This means that in the tight confines of tall buildings or tall trees, the reception is intermittent at best, but when the road opens up even slightly, signal reception is not an issue - be it through rain or shine, whether stationary or moving at highway speeds.

It's not difficult to imagine that such a system gaining popularity with people who spend a lot of time on highways in chauffeur driven cars, or even with tour operators for that matter. This system ensures that one will never have to miss another cricket match, or even any important business news while on the road.
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