Hindi TV channels to introduce HD soaps

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India’s leading Hindi entertainment channels will begin broadcasting some daily soaps in High Definition from February.

According to a report on��LiveMint, Star Plus, ZEE TV, Sony Entertainment Television Asia and Imagine TV will offer high-definition versions of their popular shows.

Star Plus is looking likely to be the first with the launch of new serial ‘Dor’ in February. Indrajit Ray, UTV Television�۪s chief creative officer, said the content company has been getting requests from broadcasters to shoot in the format that allows a greater level of detail than traditional video, thus making for an enhanced viewership experience, akin to film. “In the next two years, high definition will grow in the entertainment space on television. Viewers are demanding quality and we have to be prepared.”

Channels such as Star will also start shooting new episodes of existing serials in HD early next year. The format also uses higher quality of 5.1 Dolby sound.

Star will be launching four HD channels in India next year – Star Plus, Star Gold, Star World and Star Movies. ZEE Network already has launched HD versions of ZEE TV and ZEE Cinema in India. ZEE Network will shoot its new food channel Khana Khazana in the HD format too, said a company executive.

Imagine, owned by Turner General Entertainment Networks India Pvt. Ltd, will soon offer two serials���a period drama and a family drama���in HD. Saurabh Tewari, head of programming, Imagine, said what makes the format a winner is its depth and picture clarity. The production cost of the two shows is expected to escalate by Rs.60-70 lakh a year because of the new format.

Sony TV, the flagship Hindi GEC of Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd (MSML), hopes to shoot reality shows in HD, said Ajit Singh Thakur, executive vice-president and business head, at the company.

In the UK, there are currently no Asian TV channels that broadcast in HD. However, there are plans to add Asian HD content sometime next year. For them to do that though, each Asian broadcaster will need to launch HD equivalents of existing channels or even tie-up as a cost-saving exercice. It remains to be seen how they will move forward on this in 2011.

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