TV Transmission in India: Journey from 15.09.1959 till date

Broadcast Engineering Society (India) organized a function to mark the beginning of TV experimental transmission in India on 15th September 2006 at the Auditorium, YMCA tourist hostel, New Delhi. A Seminar was organized on the topic. The function was attended by around 150 BES (I) members, senior officers from Electronic Media and invited dignitaries.

While welcoming the audience, Shri A.S. Guin, President, BES (I) recalled the contributions made by dynamic engineers Mr. T. Rajamanickam, Mr. P.R. Desikachar and others of research department of All India Radio, those who could make the beginning of TV transmission in India possible on experimental basis on 15th September 1959. He narrated the journey of TV transmission in India, which started with Low Power Transmitter and makeshift studio at Akashvani Bhawan in 1959 and witnessed big expansion in late ‘70s. Mr. R.R. Prasad, Chairman, Seminars and Lecture Committee, BES (I), in his introductory address, talked in brief about the function and thanked the speakers and the audience for sparing their valuable time to attend the function.

The function was Chaired by Shri B.K. De, former Engineer-in-Chief, Doordarshan, during whose tenure of about 5 years, Doordarshan witnessed major modernization and revamping. Mr. De, a former President of BES (I) is recognized as one of the most outstanding broadcasting engineers and was awarded the first Asian Pacific Broadcasting Union Engineering Award in the year 2003. Mr. De made a very informative speech before opening the session.

The first invited speaker of the session was Mr. N.N. Mohanty. Shri Mohanty had started his career in 1950 from AIR, Patna and finally had retired as Director, Staff Training Institute (Technical) in November 1985. Shri Mohanty recalled the days of the beginning of experimental TV service in India and talked in detail about the then available equipments, their interfacing and the typical problems encountered during the initial days.

The second invited speaker was Shri M.M. Asthana. Shri Asthana is one of the founder members of BES (I), who has worked at various key positions in All India Radio and Doordarshan and finally retired as Chief Engineer, STI(T), AIR & DD. Shri Asthana gave a detailed account of development of Television in India from 1970 to mid 90s. Shri Asthana talked about peculiar problems of antenna mismatch and serious effects on the reception of TV during the early days and that how these problems were solved. He also talked about the tedious methods of recordings and manual editing during those old days.

The last invited speaker of the session was Shri Lok Veer Sharma. Shri Sharma is a 1972 batch IB(E)S officer who passed his engineering degree from Delhi College of Engineering in 1970. Shri Sharma has worked at various responsible positions in AIR and Doordarshan network and has extensive international exposure. Shri L. V. Sharma is currently working as Chief Engineer in Doordarshan Directorate in Delhi. In his speech, Mr. Sharma gave an account of the massive Doordarshan infrastructure and glimpses of future planning of DD Directorate. He said that in spite of the availability of various cable channels, more than 50 per cent of Indian homes still depend on terrestrial TV transmission. While stressing the importance and utility of terrestrial transmission, Mr. Sharma spoke about the vital role of Doordarshan as the only public service broadcaster of India. He said that migration to digital domain is a universal phenomena and Doordarshan is preparing itself for the cut off by 2015. He informed that Doordarshan would be providing DVB-H, the television on hand held devices in all metro cities. Similarly, terrestrial digital video broadcasting having DVB-T standard will also be provided.

Shri Ashish Bhatnagar, Hon. Secy BES (I), thanked the speakers for presenting an account of the journey of TV transmissions in India in a very interesting manner. While thanking the elders for building the massive infrastructure of Doordarshan, he called upon the young officers to come forward and take the flag to newer heights.