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Will air Games in high-definition format, claims DD
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New Delhi Says technology is being upgraded

Amid much speculation regarding the airing of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in the high-definition (HD) format, Doordarshan, the host broadcaster of the Games, has claimed that it is under modernisation and will be ready before the Games to relay its signals in the upgraded format.

Talking to Newsline, DD Chief Engineer R R Prasad said: “The existing technology at Prasar Bharati is being upgraded. DD is also trying to put at least one high-definition (HD) channel on its Direct to Home service to enable screening of the Games.”

The Board of Directors of Prasar Bharati has, meanwhile, also asked its Chief Executive Office B S Lalli to assess whether the technology at DD can be revamped within the existing funds of around Rs 460 crore, allocated to it by the government for the Games.

The national broadcaster currently uses analog-based transmitters for standard-definition (SD) television broadcast. The board has now sought a report detailing the costs for transforming the SD platform to the technologically advanced HD format.

According to Prasar Bharati officials, the Broadcast Engineers Corporation India Limited has already been engaged to determine the cost of upgrading the transmission facility.

Lalli said the project of establishing HD studios in Delhi and Mumbai was under way too. Similar studios will also come up in Chennai and Kolkata before the Games.

HDTV is a digital broadcasting system that has higher resolution picture and superior sound quality, compared to that in the SD format. According to experts, however, the cost of transmission in the HDTV format is almost 30 per cent higher.

“A few channels have begun filming programmes in the HD format, but their broadcast and reception are still done in the SD format,” said a DD official. Also, while HD-enabled TV sets will be required for clear and sharp images, there is no policy yet to enable the production of such sets in India. Manufactured abroad, the cost of HD-enabled TV sets is much higher.

The Commonwealth Games are scheduled to be held from October 3 to 14 in 2010, and the rules specify that DD must produce an international feed in the HD format.

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