History Of Indian Television Network

In January 1950, The Indian Express reported that a television was put up for demonstration at an exhibition in the Teynampet locality of Chennai by B. Sivakumaran, a student of electrical engineering. A letter was scanned and its image displayed on a cathode ray tube screen.


Television was first used in the house of the Neogi family in Kolkata. Terrestrial television in India started with the experimental telecast starting in Delhi on 15 September 1959 with a small transmitter and a makeshift studio. Daily transmission began in 1965 as a part of All India Radio. Television service was later extended to Bombay and Amritsar in 1972. Up until 1975, only seven Indian cities had television services. Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE) was an important step taken by India to use television for development. The programmes were mainly produced by Doordarshan which was then a part of the AIR. The telecast happened twice a day, in the mornings and evenings. Other than information related to agriculture, health and family planning were the other important topics dealt with in these programmes. Entertainment was also included in the form of dance, music, drama, folk and rural art forms. Television services were separated from radio in 1976. National telecast was introduced in 1982. In the same year, color television was introduced in the Indian market.

Indian small screen programming began in the early 1980. During this time, there was only one national channel, the government-owned Doordarshan. The Ramayana and Mahabharata, both based on the Indian epics of the same names, were the first major television series produced. They notched up world record in viewership numbers. By the late 1980s, more people began 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 and it was later renamed DD Metro. Both channels were broadcast terrestrially. Doordarshan along with the AIR were converted into government corporations under Prasar Bharati.

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