MTNL, Aksh launch interactive set top box

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | June 17, 2008
icontrol will allow subscribers to watch IPTV without the need for a computer or broadband connection

Aksh & #BANNER1 & # Optifibre has launched a new service in association with MTNL in Delhi and Mumbai. Called icontrol, the service will provide IPTV (Internet protocol television) programming directly to TV sets, without the need for a personal computer (PC) or broadband connection.

icontrol will deliver IPTV to its subscribers through interactive set top boxes installed on their TV sets. The service is not just limited to TV channels - it has other interactive services as well. Apart from the 100 TV channels available on icontrol, there are 200 movies available on video on demand (VOD), which allows viewers to rewind, fast forward and pause while watching them.

icontrol also introduces the concept of time shifted TV in India, through which subscribers can choose from the past seven days telecast of programmes and view them again. This feature also allows subscribers to watch replays of live cricket matches.

On A-Tube video classifieds, subscribers have access to listings of restaurants, schools, parlours and other services in their area.

The service is available to Delhi subscribers at Rs 199 per month, and to Mumbai subscribers at Rs 100 per month.

Speaking about the launch, Dr Choudhari, managing director, Aksh Optifibre, said in a statement, "The launch of icontrol comes at a time when subscribers neither have time nor patience to wait and wish for service delivery. Through icontrol, we aim to clear all misconceptions that broadband and PCs are necessary for viewing IPTV. This would also help in achieving a wider reach within the nation. The potential of icontrol is such that it will do to India what the PC did to the US."

The company is also launching a promotional mass media campaign to promote icontrol, including press and radio ads, Internet advertising and OOH. The theme of the campaign is 'TV is Your Servant'.

Aksh Optifibre has an exclusive contract with MTNL for the promotion of IPTV in India and already provides the service in 20 cities. The company expects to add five lakh subscribers in Delhi and Mumbai in the next three years, and has invested about $37 million in IPTV and VoIP (voice over Internet protocol).