Television in India , Black & White to 3D Full HD with XBMC
These are my Experiences .. please feel free to add your thoughts and comments
Black and White TV
It was 1983 world cup win that saw a major interest in Telecommunication media, Television [TV] was introduced in early 1980’s but saw the ray of light in the form of Black and White TV in mid 1980’s some of the major Black and White TV Brands were Bharat TV, Binatone, Solidaire, Orson etc.. These were huge Boxes with an Option to tune into 12 channels at various frequency only 2 worked most of the time. However in South India in Bangalore we were Getting Doordarshan (DD) and DD Marathi. DD Madras. DD Kannada was introduced later.
Early Days – Doordarshan Content
My First Black and white tv set was 16 inch “Bharat TV” with a shuttur door. Early experiance was real joy , very few had TV sets in india very rich could offord. We had to go friends house or friends – friends house to watch weekend movie , and it was room full of people watching a old movie with a bag of fried pakodas .. some of the movies during this time were Rajesh khanna hits like Anand, Dev Anand Hits, and almost no Amitab movies. Some very good marathi , Tamil and kannada movies of those times were telecast ed .. and also an annoying message of ‘rukawat ke lie khed hai’ or ‘sorry for interruption’ . Days were good, real good , it was like whole family sitting and watching TV together.
Some of the best serials of those days were
- Hum log,
- Mungeri lal ke haseen sapne,
- Nukkad ,
- Barrister Vinod
- Bharat ek Khoj
- Vyomkesh Bakshi
- Sports by Dr. Narotam Puri
- World This week by Pronob Roy
- Vikram – Bhetal
- Ye Jo Hain Zindagi
- Flop Show – Jaspal Bhatti
- India – West Indies Cricket Series … remember Marshall v/s Gavaskar ? or Amarnath v/s Andy Roberts ?
- Hamara Bajaj .. Hamara Bajaj
- Only Vimal ( India West Indies Cricket )
- Vico Termeric Ayurvedic Cream ( Vikram Bhetal )
- BSA SLR Buit like a champion
- Better Buy Binatone you wont find a better deal
- Orson Black Belt
- Because we dream because we do – Daewoo
- Gudia rani badi siyani – Boro plus
- Roshni ki duniya ka sartaj – Bajaj
- Life Bouy hain jaha tandurasti hain waha
- Vico termeric Auyurvedic cream – Sangeeta Bijlani
- Vicks ki golo lo khick khick door karo
- Happy Birthday Rasna
- Titan Music – pyar ka upahar
- Surf ke kharidari main hi samajhdari hain
DD Kannada also came out with its own very good kannada programs like
- Sihi Kahi.
- Giant Robot
- Malgudi Days
- Kannada Quiz Programs etc ..
It was fun. People had very less option eighther to watch the programs shown on TV or switch off.. no channels or content of your choice. Sometimes you needed to fine tune Channel to get better picture or sound quality or move the roof top antenna around from your building to neighbours
Friday night Adult movies: Yes, India was macho during those days its only now we have grown ourselves into kids . Do you believe they showed ‘A certified’ movies on friday night after 11 pm , and parents forced their kids sleep early or send them to friends home for a night out or parents would actually close the TV shutter and lock it and keep the key with them . Its rather stupid now that Governemnt has banned those movies on TV despite having channel locking systems and so much of parental controls … quite unfortunate decision.
India saw a major economic growth and heavily invested in Telecommunication with its ISRO’s INSAT Satellites and Space program. The result was Color Television Technology into our living rooms.
Color Television in India with Ramayan and Mahabharat.
Probably people invested heavily in Buying Color Television sets when DD1 started first with Ramanand sagars Ramayan and later followed by BR Chopra’s Mahabharat. And there was probably nuclear family structure coming into picture and people migrating into other cities in search of Jobs and better living conditions. My First color TV was second hand 21 inch “BPL TV”. They indroduced DD1 and later DD2. I remember first time seeing Republic Day parade in color and it was such a pride and as if i was in Delhi watching that .. watching cricket in color TV was a treat to eye ..
Cable TV and Why it failed
It was in mid 90’s that there was a concept of cable TV , where a cable operator would download the signal from a big Dish Antenna and route it into your living rooms through a single cable wire. This is still the case in most of india , where you could watch around 45 to 50 channels , and of which most are regional channels and some run by the cable operator himself with his own set of Ads …
Cable failed due to many reasons :
- Cable operator would disconnect every time he had to take time off to connect to some other TV in your line
- People could easily tap cable signals
- Cross cable wires could lead to signal disturbance and bad picture quality,
- Most cable wires were badly joint – so there was a signal leak which resulted in bad picture quality
- Cable operators monopolized with cable charges espl. during cricket matches
- Major channels like Star and Espn were not comfortable with cable operators showing lessor number of connections when compared to actual connections
- There was a loss of revenue for major channels
- Service break down was not always tackled instantaneously
- Power failure in cable office would result in TV black out
- Cable operators started monopoly over certain areas with in the city
- There were own Cable Ads imposed on top of TV channels
- Priority to more regional channels than for floating population
- Reduced signal quality all these meant end of road for Cable Technology in India
I upgraded my TV to Sony 25 Inch and The Picture quality was at its best as best one could dream off.
When i was working in Gurgaon there were frequent power cuts and I did not trust cablewalla so decided to buy my first DTH Service for Rs 4000, Reason simple Tata and Sky were the names i Trusted so opted for Tatasky DTH connection and don’t regret it till now … . well why not Airtel or Sun or Reliance … I can have answer but they would not be happy listening to that. I had bad experience with Reliance Internet Connection in Gurgaon and decided never to buy anything from them. Pathetic customer support and Miserable Billing … Someones bill with your same first name would be your bill ( vice versa .. )
My Life in Gurgaon would have been more miserable had it not been for Tatasky … the picture and sound quality was good and what more we could get around 100 + channels .. Indian Idol 3 ( Amit paul, Prashant Tamang, Chang, Deepali etc) it was an experience to remember .. How can you ever forget the song sung by Amit paul – “Nasha hain pyaar ka nasha hain … ”
HD TVs and HD DTH
Once i returned came back home to Bangalore found out that my Sony TV has got Damaged during transportation had a crack on top and picture tube was gone . my first investment in TV was 47 inch Sony Bravia Full HD TV , Still i have this TV and love it for its picture and sound quality. It was well over an year that Sun began with HD campaign with Sun HD DTH boxes costing around Rs 10,000 . reading online reviews i decided to wait for some time
Tatasky came with HD and I invested on that , I am very happy with my decision that they have introduced 7 HD channels, and also the Quality of SD [Standard Definition] is also very good and technology to recharge and update is very good
Update 23/12/2012 : At the time of this writing 1 year later i replaced by Tatasky HD with DishTV TruHD+ .. very simple reasons
1. Tatasky did not expand their HD package .. they were stuck up with same set of HD channels.
2. There were no new channels on offer and number of channels given by DishHD was much more than what Tatasky offered
3. I was not happy with Tatasky HD Access pay.. you suddenly dont add a new Access fee
DTH Consumer Market Lessons Learnt
Lets rip some facts here and a lesson for those who are in the DTH Business and know very little about it
- Customer Support: DTH Operators need to have very good customer support , and very fast response time for customer queries else you are bound to fail and lose your customer.
- Need top class technology: – I can use my phone or internet or customer service to charge, add or remove channels, to trouble shoot or simple know more information.
- 3D TV and 3D HD DTH has failed. We are not ready for 3D HD , cause simple reason we dont have enough 3D content and I am not interested in watching Animated 3D cartoons or 2D converted 3D videos or channels. Also viewing 3D HD with Glasses day after day can screw up your eyes … so all the investment done in 3D TV and 3D DTH would go to trash … as no common sense was followed.
- No Fooling around by Upscaling , If you think someone who has invested a ton on Full HD TV, and HD Settop box and HD Subscription is a fool then you are mistaken , Consumer is not a fool and dont you every try to show an upscaled channel as HD channel and charge him for HD , It would not work and you would be labelled as a cheat and lose customer. Also most of the HD TV Sets are capable of upscaling with a button click and viewers can see a great difference between a upscaled image and real intended image … so no fooling people here
- Keep prices affordable , If someone is paying 300 Rs for a month of his DTH subscription dont expect him to spend 600 Rs from next month onwards, it would not work in India.
- Revenue Model and Extreme Advertisements: Tele-shopping and Ads between every over or every 10 mins between a movie wont work , do you expect a customer to be stupid that he pays for your DTH service and on top you want to Bomb him with Ads… ?? .. please think about some other revenue model .. Ad revenue model was something relevant during 1980’s when there was only 2 channels. Now the moment someone sees your Ad the viewer would change channel and go to somewhere else .. people dont have patience to watch 3 hour movie stretched into 6 hours … be smart and think something else
- Keep your eyes open and ears attentive: Top executives need to keep an eye on Discussion forums and Facebook pages , this is where your customers talks and you need to listen cause he pays for your service … if you dont agree very soon you would lose your customer base
- No Toilet Cleaner Ads … Shit man you guys are Stupids … do you expect people to watch your channel once you show toilet cleaner ads while they having dinner with their family .. go to hell learn basics and close your shop … if you dont understand consumer market
Bluray Players and HD Recorders – Failures ?
Bluray: Picture Quality is very good but still Bluray Technology Fails : Why ?? Here are my thoughts
- Once you rent a Blu-Ray Movie do you know its not easy to copy it ? Yes you need to Buy a Blu ray disk and own it rather than copying it.
- Technology to Write Blu Ray disks using the Recorder is very costly compared to DVD Drives
- Blu Ray disks can store upto 25 GB , Some say upto 50 GB data but the Problem is the comparative cost factor with Dvds
- Many Blu Ray Recorders dont Play the movies that they record , so you would not only be investing in the Blu Ray Disk, Blu Ray Recorder but also on Bly Ray players –– sounds bad ?? yes thats the idiotic part of this whole technology
- Many Laptops cant run a blu ray movie even though connected from an external drive . why ? cause there are specific hard ware requirements which most laptops or desktops dont meet
- Worst of all – India still has low band width and limited downloads , So to down load a 25 GB Blu Ray movie .. it would take hell lot of time .. and after that you are not sure if it would still run cause there are Keys for those movies which are not easy to crack
- Even if you download a Blu Ray movie – Writing and playing is an another misery itself
- So So … So its too Complex for a Customer … So Blu Ray Technology Fails and it would be only Games and Gaming Consoles who can help Blu Ray technology .. else its very initial stage to invest anything in this technology.
- Why would an average home make try to record a saas bahu serial ? to cry again and again ?
- Why would a cricket fan try recording every cricket match they see .. Isn’t live cricket match more attractive than watch a recorded version of the match ?
- Assume that recording a movie sounds interesting option , Do you know that number of movies that you can record and store hard disk is limited ? at some stage you would run out of hard disk space and have delete the movies to record new ones
- How about transferring recorded content to external hard disk .. well at this stage the vendors are not supporting it
- How about Buring the movies into DVD disks , well at this stage the encryption technology and copy right acts dont allow you to transfer those HD recorded content into Disks … so where are we back to square one and One more failed technology
Whats New ? , 3G Mobile and Media Players
Well now there are lot of way to watch so many AV signals now , But we really are missing the Content ,
Technically the latest is having a HD Media Player from Seagate or WD , and using a storage device such as Portable hard drive next to it , so all your media content such as AVI, DixX, Mpeg, VCD, DVD, Bluray MKV, HD Movies AVCHD , Youtube downloads FLV all can be stored on your storage device , thru USB cable connect your storage device to Media Player , Use HDMI Cable to connect to your HD LCD/LED TV set , thats the current setup i have now , its a great experience
Home theater planning
Making your Home into Theater is costly affair and needs some good planning as well. here is the Check list that you would need.
- Room size – A good Hall with proper ventilation and noise proof setup with least sound reflections (I use 15 by 30 feet room where all my hardware and softwares are placed)
- Atleast 8 to 10 input Electric points to connect various devices, each having a switch to On / Off independently.
- Full HD LCD or LED TV with 2 or more HDMI Input Cable Ports.
- HD TV Service Provider – In India you have Tatasky, Airtel, Sun and few others (I have subscribed to Tatasky HD Service provider)
- High Speed Internet Service Provider – Its preferred to have from 4 MBPS to 10 MBPS Speed and unlimited download options. If you have low speed connection there will be too much of buffering, so please be careful while choosing your service provider and plan.
- AMD or Intel CPU Based Desktop Machine (or Laptop) that can run Windows or Ubuntu Operating System
- Home Theater Sound System: There are various HT Systems available , Bose / Onkyo and few others (I use 5.1 channel Onkyo HT System with Digital Dolby sound)
- Sony HD Handy Cam Optional (Sony is what i prefer to use, please use what you like)
- Mouse and Keyboard.
architecture and hardware setup
Sony HD, Onkyo, AMD, Ubuntu on Linux, XBMC etc are my recommendations , please feel free to use alternatives and what suits your needs and budget, example you can Buy a cheaper LG LED TV or Samsung,
- Internet Service Provider : Connection from the ISP will be given to Router, I use Cisco Router with 4 network connection points, each of these points can be connected to various devices and make a network out of it. One of the connection is given an a Linux Box that would act as our Media Server, please choose the one that suits you.
- HD DTH Provider : HD Service provider allows you to view various Standard Definition and High Definition channels, Currently i am using Tatasky HD Service
- XBMC Media Server : We will be using XMBC (http://xbmc.org/) as our Media Server that will be running on top of Ubuntu Operating System on a AMD 6 Core Processor with 12 GB RAM Desktop Machine. this will help us get all the Media content through internet
- Network Computers and External Driver : Each of the Computers in the network and external Hard Drive can also be an Input to your Home theater system. I am using Seagate GoFlex 2 TB External Hard drive, this allows me to store all the downloaded media files and content, this would be my local content repository. However i can also store the downloaded media files on other systems in the network as well.
- CDs and DVDs : CDs and DVDs played in DVD RW Drives on Linux Box.
- Radio Antennas : Onkyo Home theater system comes with its own tiny wire , that acts as a Radio Signal Receiver, that auto tunes and picks up all the FM and AM Radio Stations.
- HD Handy Cam : You can also connect a Sony Handy Cam to the TV Directly, these Handy Cams have their own Hard disk and stores files in AVCHD Formats
- XMBC Media Server : Linux Box with XMBC Installed acts as our Media server connects to Internet through Router and Gets various Online Channels. that also includes Facebook, Picasa, Flickr, Youtube, and 1000s of various TV and Radio Channels through its easy to use Add Ons, We would be connecting HDMI Cable from our ASUS Mother Board CPU, this board also allows Optic fiber connection to our Home theater system. they have great add ons and very easy to use.
- HD Handy Cam : this is connected to TV directly through HDMI Cable.
- Radio Antenna : this is connected to Onkyo Home Theater as a simple single Wire
- HD DTH Provider : this is connected to TV through HDMI Port, To home theater system through co-axial cable.
- LCD or LED TV : Sony Bravia 46 inch or more, this gives you a thrilling experience, you can use its own speakers they are very good , or choose home theater system speakers
- Home theater speakers : I am using Onkyo HT System 5.1 channel Digital Dolby, now i think they are also providing 7.1 channel HT System, Bose is also good but a lil heavy on my Budget
software setup Installing ubuntu 11.10
Go to http://www.ubuntu.com/download/ubuntu/download , and download 64 Bit ISO file, Burn it on a DVD, Insert DVD into DVD Drive of your AMD Box, Boot from DVD Drive, this will install the Operating system, it takes some time to install, install the Updates, allow it to be Downloaded, install the AMD Proprietary Drivers as well , this will change the Display resolution to HD
INStalling xbmc XBMC v11 (Eden) on top of ubuntu 11.10
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:team-xbmc sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install xbmc sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get upgrade
NOTE : Suppose you have installed Gnome 3 Desktop Shell , and XBMC is Installed if you go to Activities and Search for xbmc and click on it expecting it to start you will be logged out. this happens on Fedora 16 and Ubuntu 11.10,
Solution is simple after installation logout and login with XBMC selected in the wheel icon of login panel. below picture does not show XBMC but once XBMC is installed you can see XBMC there that needs to be selected
Optional : Post Installation, You might want to add more channels these are unofficial XBMC Channels, for example 18+ Channels, Sports Channels, News Channels, Indian Movie Channels, etc for that go to
Download and Install plugin.program.repo.installer-1.0.4.zip file, this is the current version while writing this Blog , it might change later,
Installation is simple you need to go to .xbmc/addons folder , drop the above zip file and then extract it, restart XBMC that will Install the new Add Ons.
You might later want to go inside XMBC console, by clicking on XMBC shortcut, and Add various channels by clicking Install Button.
Details on Unofficial Ads
List of Official Add Ons
Bootable XBuntu : this acts as a Bootable Operating System, if you plan to have a dedicated Box for Media Center. please read the below link, i have not explored this feature
XBMC Work in Progress on Video Addons – Forum Link
XBMC also works on Windows , its your choice to choose operating system and Hardware, you can also use Intel based CPU aswell
MY HOME THeater demo – 1000+ Channels, 200+ HD channels
Does that sound exiting ? yes thats what XBMC Add ons can give more than 1000+ Channels, and more than 200+ HD Channels , IPTV and lot more stuff, Including access to social and networking sites, Education and Entertainment 200%.
XBMC Video channels that Work
This is India Specific , there are many channels that work , many dont work, here is the list that i have seen working – this should inspire you further to setup XBMC today.
I also salute to the developer of these plugins and addons who have done a great Job writing them.
BOLD indicates HD and Great Channels to watch
—-> Indicates (Sub Channels under Previous Channel in top )
- 1Channel – Fantasy, Drama, Horror, Japanese, Korean Feeds
- 4Players – PC, XBOX, Ps3, Ps4 Games
- Al Jazeera – English Live News
- Borsen TV
- Canada On Demand – Includes Fashion and Many sub channels.
- CCCP TV – 1922 to 1997
- CNet Podcasts – HD
- CNet NEWS
- College Humor
- Comic Vine
- Danish Live
- —-> TV2 Nord
- —-> TV2 FYN
- —-> Lorry
- —-> TV SYD
- —-> TV MIDT VEST
- —-> TV2 OST
- —-> Folketinget TV
- —-> Danskespil DK
- Debilizator TV
- DMI TV
- DR NU Player
- DR DK Podcast
- Earth Touch HD
- —-> Marine Channel
- —-> Lions Channel
- —-> Wild Life
- —-> Kids Channel
- Empflix (Adult Channel)
- Engadget (About Electronic Gadgets)
- ESPN Video
- Euro Gamer HD (Gaming Related)
- Fantasti.cc (Adult Channel)
- FightCasts ( Fighting / Wresting Videos)
- Filmi by Nature (Indian Channel)
- —-> Hindi HD / Bluray Movies
- —-> Hindi Movies
- —-> Telugu Movies
- —-> Tamil Movies
- —-> Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayam Music Videos
- FLW Outdoors
- Formel 1 (Formula Racing related)
- FOX NEWS (Make up, News , Events, International lots more)
- Funny or Die
- G4TV ( Gaming Related )
- Gaffa TV
- Game Reactor (Gaming Related)
- GFQ Network (includes Big Brother Series )
- Giant Bomb (Gaming Related)
- Guzei TV
- Internet Archive
- Jupitor Broadcasting HD
- Kino Live .Org (Full Length Russian Movies)
- Kino Govno
- Lube Tube (Adult)
- Massive Mag (Sports and Adventure)
- MLBMC (Sports)
- NASA HD TV
- NascarX ( car races)
- NAT Geo HD
- NAT Geo Wild
- NOS Journal
- Onion News
- Onside TV
- Oliyum Oliyum (Tamil channels / Youtube Tamil Videos)
- Pakee (Surprised to see many good Indian channels too)
- —-> Indian and Pakistani Channels
- —-> Includes South Indian, North Indian and many channels
- —-> Includes Youtube links
- Photography Podcasts (HD)
- Planeta Online TV (Russian channels likes Fresh.TV, PIK,TV etc )
- Preview TV ( HD Movie Previews)
- Prima TV
- Reddit Videos (Interesting includes Controversial contents)
- Revision TV (Engineering and Electronics)
- Russia . RU
- Screened (includes Movie Trailers)
- SF Video Portal (Sports, News)
- Spiegel Online
- SVT Play (Music)
- Swiss Podcast
- Tagesschau (German content)
- TED Talks (Talk shows)
- The Science Network
- The Trailers
- TMZ (Raw and Uncut)
- Tube8 (Adult)
- TV2 NEWS
- TV2 Video (French)
- TV2 Denmark
- Tvigle (Russian)
- Twit (Tech talk, The Tech Guy)
- UBU (Korean / Chinese ? )
- Vevo HD (Music Videos)
- Video Devil (includes multiple adult channels like xhamster)
- Willow TV (Cricket live matches / Highlights)
- Wimp.Com (Excellent HD Videos)
- World News live (includes CNN, Al Jazeera, French TV , CNN, BBC etc)
- Zapiks (Surfing)
- to be continued
HD Channels at xbmc – supertv addon in Programs
There are many HD channels and some are very good SD channels available on SuperTV , that uses rtmpGUI list and Blackoutworm’s list
- BBC HD
- TNT SD
- HBO HD UK
- UK Cinemax
- Sky Movies HD
- FILM HD (UK)
- US HD Movie Channel
- UK Movies 4 Men
- UK HD Movies
- UK Cinemax HD
- UK MGM HD
- UK Classic Movies
- MTV Live HD
- Delux Music German
- Italy TV
- Radio 105 Italy (HD)
- Italy Top 40
- Virgin Radio Italy
- Kiss TV (Music Italy)
- Euro sport HD (UK)
- SKY Sports HD
- Nasa HD
- Pentagon Channel HD
- Free speech TV
- FOX HD Italy
- True TV Brazil
- FOX Crime HD
- EU Entertainment
- US Movie channel 2 HD
- Sky Movies Horror HD
- Pushto Movies
- India TV
- News X
- NDTV Goodtimes
- this list is incomplete – great Addon
Future of XBMC
If someone from XBMC Development team is reading this blog here is my wishlist as an user. to come up with a single hardware box, that works as a small desktop computer that is of a size of a DVD player. this should include RAM, Chipsets, Operating system pre-installed, XBMC installed over the OS, DVD drive to reinstall OS incase of any software changes, inbuilt wired and wireless network connections. all put together.
Also few USB drives, Inbuilt Remote Control, Resolving 60 sec Buffering Problems, connection. Options for user to also do all that he can do with a basic laptop such as Browser, check mails , etc.
This “Future Box” will Kick out and replace every DTH Service Providers out of their Business as they are NOT able to grow with technology changes or changes to user requirements. as of today people are not able to add Free to Air channels despite paying high bills to their DTH Service Provider.
Final Thoughts and Wish List : This is greatest level Television can reach nothing Beats XBMC User Interface and ease of use as of today, especially on Open source operating sytems, having internet connected stream 100s of information, Gaming, Scientific and extertainment channels, from 1000s of sources.
With channels like HBO HD, TNT HD, MTV HD, Nat Geo HD, Discovery HD, CNET HD and 100 other such great HD channels from across the world , Entertainment is On Demand as you like. Avoid using HD DTH Provider completely XBMC is 100 times more advanced than any DTH Service providers offering especially in India and you can also save huge subscription charges.
Caution : This also includes adult channel plug ins – please be careful incase children are using these systems, not sure how the security at add on levels would work
Email : email@example.com