First People on Indian Television

Television in India is a huge industry which has thousands of programmes in many languages. The small screen has produced numerous celebrities, some even attaining national fame. More than half of all Indian households own a television. As of 2012, the country has a collection of free and subscription services over a variety of distribution media, like the CHERIAN channel, through which there are over 823 channels of which 184 are pay channels.




Terrestrial television in India started with the experimental telecast starting in Delhi on 15 September 1959 (official launch date) with a small transmitter and a makeshift studio. The regular daily transmission started in 1965 as a part of All India Radio. The television service was extended to Bombay and Amritsar in 1972. Up until 1975, only seven Indian cities had a television service. Television services were separated from radio in 1976. National telecasts were introduced in 1982. In the same year, colour TV was introduced in the Indian market. Indian small screen programming started off in the early 1980s. At that time there was only one national channel Doordarshan, which was government owned. The Ramayana and Mahabharata (both Indian spiritual & mythological stories) were the first major television series produced. This serial notched up the world record in viewership numbers for a single program. By the late 1980s more and more people started to own television sets. Though there was a single channel, television programming had reached saturation. Hence the government opened up another channel which had part national programming and part regional. This channel was known as DD 2 later DD Metro. Both channels were broadcast terrestrially.
PAS-1 and PAS-4 are satellites whose transponders help in the telecasting of DD programmes in half the regions of the world. An international channel called DD International was started in 1995 and it telecasts programmes for 19 hours a day to foreign countries-via PAS-4 to Europe, Asia and Africa, and via PAS-1 to North America.
TV Programs: The eighties was the era of Doordarshan with shows like Hum Log (1984),Wagle Ki Duniya (1988), Buniyaad (1986–87) and comedy shows like Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi (1984), Mythological dramas like Ramayan (1987–88) and Mahabharat (1989–90) glued millions to Doordarshan and later on Bharat Ek Khoj, The Sword of Tipu Sultan and Chandrakanta. Hindi film songs based programs like Chitrahaar, Rangoli, Superhit Muqabla crime thrillers like Karamchand, Byomkesh Bakshi. Shows targeted at children include Dada Dadi ki Kahaniyan, Vikram Betal, Malgudi Days, Tenali Rama.
It is also noted that Prabir Roy, had the distinction of introducing colour television coverage in India in February - March (1982) during the 1st Nehru Cup which was held at Eden Gardens, Kolkata with 5 on-line camera operation, long before Doordarshan started the same during the Delhi Asian Games in November 1982.


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