Why Sun Direct DTH services suffered a setback
By Parabjeet Singh | Published: July 30 2010
Following the technology malfunction with INSAT 4B, affecting Sun Direct, DTH (Direct to Home) service and telecast earlier this month. Mybangalore went behind the scenes to find out the reasons of the glitch and the ripples it caused.
During the early hours of 7th July - INSAT 4b faced some technical problems affecting 6 Ku-Band used by SUN Direct Direct to Home and most of the channels the subscribers were using,and 6 C-Band transponders on board.The three-tonne Insat-4B was launched March 12, 2007 from Kourou in French Guiana on board the Ariane-5 rocket of the European ArianeSpace agency to meet the growing communications requirements of India.
SUN Direct has 7 out of 12 Ku-Band transponders on INSAT4B and all 6 were out of 7 used by SUN Direct. This left subscribers with no services except for ones available on only one of the transponders. After about 48-72 hours, SUN managed to shift all their prime south channels besides a few Hindi entertainment & News channels (Total 24) on one of the working transponders with help from ISRO to cater to their South Indian customers. Some of their contribution channel from SUN TV using C-Band on same satellite were also affected which were later shifted to other transponders with help from ISRO.
Their HD services on a different Satellite (Measat-3) also stopped working for some reason which were restored early this week only.
Apparently, subscribers were informed on their registered mobile phones using a SMS that services are affected due to fault on ISRO satellite but there was no official communication either thru Newspaper, Press or Media informing their subscribers on the reason for no services or by when can they expect the situation to normalize. There was no contact available on their call centres, no replies on mails or any communication on their website in this regard leaving subscribers in middle of nowhere.
Mybangalore approached ISRO on what they had to say about the crisis, Says Director of ISRO, Mr. S.Satish 'A power supply glitch in one of the two solar panels late Thursday switched off services from 12 of the 24 transponders in Ku-band and C-band on board the satellite’ Our scientists and technical experts are taking contingency measures to shift the affected services from Insat-4B to other Insat series of satellites, which are operating in Ku band.’
How it has affected subscribers?’ About 70 percent of major DTH customer base has been affected with television channels going off air due to the satellite failure,' Atria Convergence Technologies (ACT) Television managing director Sunder Raju said here in a statement.
Earlier in the day, state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) admitted a power glitch in one of the satellite's two solar panels had hit its operational services, switching off the broadcasting service from 12 of its 24 transponders.
As a communication component, a transponder receives a signal from the earth and sends it back at a different frequency, allowing near-instantaneous transmission between distant points on the earth's surface. Customers of digital cable and IPTV (internet protocol television), however, continue to receive uninterrupted service as their operators do not depend on external satellites.
The sudden snag has affected the broadcasting services of major DTH operators such as Sun TV and state-run Doordarshan and data services of Tata VSNL.
ISRO scientists are working overtime to restore the DTH services of the operators at the earliest, by shifting them to transponders on its other satellites.
Problem for Sun Direct customers:
1. No updates on the website about the problem and the timeline to solve it
2. The customer care call centre was flooded with calls and had to stop operations for some time
Channels being missed by Sun Direct subscribers:
1. No English & Bollywood music channels
2. No English movie channels
3. Many kids channels are missing
4. Many news channels are missing
Channels not available on SUN Direct:
1. English & Bollywood music channels
2. Ten sports