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Videocon To Launch DDB Enabled LED TVs; Why Keep Things Under Cover?

Consumer electronics company, Videocon,  has partnered with Digital Direct Broadcast (DDB) Foundation, a digital entertainment platform, which was announced in June, to launch of DDB enabled LED TVs. What this essentially means is that these TV sets will come with integrated DDB chips eliminating the use of a digital set top box for direct digital transmissions. The company representatives state that these TV sets are available for purchase in the market. We have requested the price at which these TV sets are available and we will update the article once we get a response.

Note that we’re not sure if the built-in digital capability is only compatible with Videocon’s D2H service or with all other cable/dth services. It’s more likely that it might be compatible only with Videocon’s own service as Videocon d2h is one of the seven companies, part of the DDB Foundation. The others include semiconductor company STMicroelectronics, application maker Irdeto, cloud computing focused Nivio, audio-video technology company Faroudja, Sound technology company Strata, and electronics company Phillips.

Videocon’s family connection: Note that Nivio, the cloud computing focused company, which is also part of DDB, had raised $21 million from Videocon & Group companies and US based PE firm, AEC Partners, earlier this year. Also, there’s a family connection, since Saurabh P Dhoot, one of the co-founders of Nivio is Videocon chairman Venugopal Dhoot’s nephew. There were reports that post funding, the company would get access to Videocon’s reseller network to sell its desktop virtualization suite. Perhaps DDB is related to the same deal.

DDB Technology : Although the exact details are still not known, the DDB platform appears to be a combination of hardware and software. The TVs come with a fully integrated dual-core 450 MHz processor, 14-bit video processor, Motion Enhancement and Motion Correction (MEMC), and an integrated DDB enabled chip. They also offer a Cloud TV service which allows users to share files, pictures or songs over the air; Over The Air (OTA) software updates; improved audio-visual experience, 10-band graphic equalizer, and HDMI support.

Will this eliminate Set-top Boxes? Why Keep Things Under Cover?

The government had mandated digitization of cable ecosystem in India by November 2012 in Metro cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Chennai and by 2015 for rest of India. The launch of DDB LED TVs, eliminating the need to buy an additional set top box device for receiving signal and transmitting it to the TV, might support the cause but if they’re not compatible with all service providers, which is unlikely, and only a push to market Videocon’s own dth service, we don’t think they will have any affect on the tv/dth hardware market as such.

Also, millions of people have already shifted to Set-top boxes, at least in Metro cities. We don’t think that anyone would make an investment in a new TV just to eliminate the set top box.  Besides this, different DTH providers offer different interactive and video on demand services using their own proprietary platforms. People might buy the TVs for their smart capability, and internet enabled features but again DDB has not made anything clear about how it will offer connectivity. Note that Videocon had earlier introduced conventional TVs with a built-in set top box that supported only its own DTH service.

The DDB Foundation managed to generate a lot of curiosity, but it failed to communicate to the consumer what the service actually offers, in layman terms. The foundation had earlier promised the launch of new devices on 1st July 2012, but then the digitization deadline was extended. What is stopping the foundation from clearly communicating what the service actually offers?

Apurva Chaudhary also contributed to this post

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