TV Content But Without A Dish: Railway Ministry's RailTel To Launch Internet Protocol Television Services for Subscribers

by Arun Kumar Das - Jan 20, 2023 10:53 AM +05:30 IST
TV Content But Without A Dish: Railway Ministry's RailTel To Launch Internet Protocol Television Services for SubscribersWith this facility, the customers will be able to enjoy high quality digital TV channels on RailTel’s IP network, along with the broadband internet services. (Image: RailTel).
Snapshot
  • The IPTV services shall eliminate the need for additional cable TV dish antenna or cable entry to subscribers' homes.

    Since it is being delivered on optical fibre, the service shall provide higher quality viewing, regardless of the cloudy weather or cable losses.

In a step towards offering significant value-added services to its customers, RailTel is launching Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) services to subscribers of its retail broadband service called “RailWire”.

The IPTV services are being launched with effect from 26 January 2023, in the eastern and north-eastern region of the country which include states of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura, Manipur, and East Uttar Pradesh.

IPTV is a service that provides television programming and other video content using the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) suite, as opposed to broadcast TV, cable TV or satellite signals.

RailTel has partnered with a Hyderabad-based company City Online Media Private Ltd — a premier IPTV service provider across India, which will provide IPTV services to RailWire customers under the 'ULKA TV' brand.

The company will provide access to the IPTV content, on its mobile app “ULKA Mini” and on Smart TV with the app “ULKA LITE”, to RailTel broadband users which can be downloaded from the Google playstore.

This IPTV service will provide the latest 4K technology with HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) to deliver the best quality video in the industry.

Talking about it, RailTail chairman and managing director, Sanjai Kumar said, “The OFC network owned by RailTel reaches over 70 per cent of the population of the country including rural areas. With its pan India high-capacity network, RailTel is working towards creating a knowledge society at various fronts."

Kumar further said, "Government of India is keen on expansion of broadband cable services across the country, especially rural areas. IPTV services under the RailWire will convert television households to internet households and open possibilities of smart services for homes."

The possibilities of extending IPTV services to RailTel customers in other regions will be explored later after assessing feedback, local demand, and technical logistics.

RailTel is committed to improve broadband access to interior and remote areas in the country, to reduce the urban-rural digital divide, spread digital literacy and accelerate digital transformation of the country, Kumar added.

With this facility, the customers will be able to enjoy high quality digital TV channels on RailTel’s IP network, along with the broadband internet services, on the same optical fibre pair.

While Free to Air (FTA) channels can be viewed without a Set Top Box (STB), others channels will require the STB. The ULKA TV STB will be a special intelligent device and work as a sort of mini computer. It will provide 600+ Live Satellite TV channels and local stations and popular OTT applications.

This STB will provide two-way communication with TV sets, to support educational applications without a laptop or computer, by adding a Bluetooth keyboard.

It can also provide video conference facility by simply attaching a USB Camera. The IPTV services can also be viewed in non-smart TVs with the help of this STB. RailWire broadband consumers will have the choice of portable Set-Top-Boxes (Sticks and Boxes), LAN and Wi-Fi Access for using ULKA TV services.

The IPTV services shall eliminate the need for additional cable TV dish antenna or cable entry to the home. Since it is being delivered on optical fibre, the service shall provide higher quality viewing, regardless of the cloudy weather or cable losses.

The multi-screen option for TV, laptops, tablets, cell phones etc. will also become available and with this option, one can watch one’s favorite shows and movies anytime and anywhere as long as one has internet access.

IPTV services are smooth streaming services, cost effective and the viewers will get facility to record their shows if they missed it by chance.

In addition, health care, education, tax collection and other public utility services can be delivered to households using IPTV. The IPTV Service will be delivered from the local Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) installed in RailTel’s Network Operations Centres (NOC).

Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist covering railways. He can be contacted at akdas2005@gmail.com.


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