Centre exploring direct-to-mobile live TV broadcasting sans internet

Imagine watching live TV channels on your smartphone without using any internet data. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, this could soon become a reality as the Indian Government is examining the potential of D2M (direct-to-mobile) technology, which would enable mobile users to watch live TV channels on their smartphones without an internet connection.

D2M technology is a form of digital terrestrial television (DTT) that uses radio waves to transmit TV signals to mobile devices. Unlike DTH (direct-to-home) or cable TV, D2M does not require any dish antenna, set-top box, or cable connection. All you need is a D2M-enabled smartphone and a pair of earphones to receive the TV signals.

The government aims to utilize this technology for content delivery, especially educational and emergency alerts, to reach a wider audience. With over 800 million mobile users in the country, the government sees a huge opportunity to leverage D2M technology for public service broadcasting.

However, not everyone is happy with this proposal. Telecom operators, who earn a major chunk of their revenue from data consumption, are opposed to the idea of D2M technology as it could impact their business plans and 5G strategies. They argue that D2M technology would reduce the demand for data services and hamper the growth of 5G applications.

The government, on the other hand, believes that content delivery should converge through broadcast and broadband, particularly with the upcoming launch of 5G. The government thinks that D2M technology would complement 5G services and offer a better user experience.

A meeting to discuss this issue will be held next week, with representatives from various sectors attending, including DoT, MIB, IIT-Kanpur, and telecom and broadcast industry.

Benefits of D2M technology

D2M technology could offer several benefits to consumers, content providers, and the government. Some of these benefits are:

  • Cost-effective: D2M technology would allow consumers to watch live TV channels on their smartphones without using any internet data. This would save them money and also avoid network congestion and buffering issues.
  • Accessible: D2M technology would enable consumers to access live TV channels even in remote areas where internet connectivity is poor or absent. This would also help in bridging the digital divide and reaching out to the rural population.
  • Quality: D2M technology would provide high-quality video and audio transmission with minimal interference and distortion. This would enhance the viewing experience and satisfaction of the consumers.
  • Variety: D2M technology would offer a wide range of TV channels across genres and languages to cater to the diverse tastes and preferences of the consumers. This would also increase the choice and competition in the market.
  • Educational: D2M technology would facilitate the delivery of educational content to students and teachers across the country. This would improve the quality of education and learning outcomes.
  • Emergency: D2M technology would enable the government to send emergency alerts and information to the public in times of crisis or disaster. This would improve the safety and security of the people.

Challenges of D2M technology

D2M technology also faces some challenges and limitations that need to be addressed before it can be implemented successfully. Some of these challenges are:

  • Spectrum: D2M technology requires a dedicated spectrum band for broadcasting TV signals to mobile devices. However, spectrum is a scarce and valuable resource that is already in high demand by various stakeholders. The allocation of spectrum for D2M technology could create conflicts and disputes among them.
  • Infrastructure: D2M technology requires a robust and reliable infrastructure for transmitting TV signals to mobile devices. This includes setting up towers, transmitters, receivers, etc. The cost and feasibility of building such infrastructure could be a challenge for the government and content providers.
  • Regulation: D2M technology involves multiple players such as broadcasters, telecom operators, content providers, device manufacturers, etc. The regulation of such players could be a complex and challenging task for the government. The government would have to ensure fair competition, consumer protection, quality standards, etc.
  • Adoption: D2M technology requires consumers to have D2M-enabled smartphones that can receive TV signals without internet. However, not all smartphones have this feature and consumers may not be willing to switch or upgrade their devices for this purpose. The awareness and acceptance of D2M technology among consumers could be a challenge for its adoption.

Conclusion

D2M technology is an innovative and promising technology that could revolutionize the way we watch live TV on our smartphones. It could offer several benefits such as cost-effectiveness, accessibility, quality, variety, education, and emergency. However, it also faces some challenges such as spectrum, infrastructure, regulation, and adoption that need to be resolved before it can be implemented successfully. The government is exploring the potential of D2M technology and is holding a meeting next week to discuss the issue with various stakeholders. The outcome of this meeting could decide the future of D2M technology in India.