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Updated: Airtel DTH Allows Remote TV Recording Via Mobile

(by Diwaskar Chettri & Nikhil Pahwa)

Update: Bharti group company Comviva has powered this solution for Airtel, by integrating two of its products: Adagium A-Live and WebAxn

Update: we’ve updated with a screen shots of the mobile application

April 8th 2010: Airtel Digital TV, Bharti Airtel’s DTH arm, has announced the launch of its Digital Video Recorder (DVR); competitors Tata Sky and Dish TV both have DVRs, but Airtel is trying to pitch its product differently – by offering consumers the option of recording up to 100 hours of programming anywhere, anytime, using a mobile application. At 124 million customers, Airtel has the largest mobile base in India. Of a total 19.1 million (pdf) DTH customers in India by the end of December 2009, Airtel had 2 million, while competitor Dish TV had 5.3 million.

Using a JAVA based mobile application (needs GPRS), users will also be able to view the programming guide (description, length and ratings of shows), and can search for any TV show for 2 days on mobile, seven days on the DVR. Theoretically, it would work rather well if you were trying to get home in order to catch a show or a game, and were delayed in traffic; it’s not as if episodes of Indian TV shows in India are available almost immediately for download online, anyway, unlike in the US. The new Set Top Box will cost Rs 6990 to new customer and old customer going in for an upgrade will have to shell out Rs 5990. To download the mobile recording application customers will have to send an SMS with ‘mguide’ from their registered mobile number to 54325.

Now this doesn’t mean much to an IPTV user, who can access , say, seven day old TV programming without really having the need to record content, but lets face it: IPTV hasn’t really made a mark in India, and has lacked both adequate regulatory and marketing support. But what’s quite interesting is the usage of the mobile as a means to interacting with TV: DTH lacks a return path

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