The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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7-minute itch for Team DD
- Court allows deferred telecast on State-run channel

New Delhi/Calcutta, Jan. 23: Imagine Sourav Ganguly nearing a hundred again tomorrow before a throw beats him and the third umpire takes his time….

Unlike Sunday, when most Calcuttans were spared the tension, it may do your pulse rate no good to know that the decision has been made but is being kept from you.

Delhi High Court today allowed Doordarshan to beam the India-West Indies one-dayers, but with a seven-minute gap with Neo Sports’ live telecast.

The interim order ends one agonising wait for the millions blacked out of the Nagpur ODI by the dispute between Prasar Bharati and TV rights holder Nimbus, Neo’s owner.

The news is doubly delightful for Calcutta where another battle, between Neo’s distributors and the local cable industry, has shut out most of the cable homes, too. Some three-fourths of the city will tomorrow be turning to DD.

“The minimal delay would not affect the public,” Justice S.K. Kaul said referring to the seven-minute gap.

Yet matches have been won or lost in far less time.

Had the 1983 World Cup final been telecast with a gap, many Indians would have switched the TV off and gone to bed just at the moment Kapil Dev was catching Viv Richards out to turn the game.

Some 25 per cent of Calcutta’s cable homes have no worries. Those with set-top boxes in CAS areas watched Sunday’s game, too, and two multi-system operators — Cablecomm and Kolkata Cable and Broadband Pariseva Ltd — say they will relay Neo feed tomorrow.

The other MSOs — Manthan Broadband, Siticable and Indian Cablenet — will wait and watch how the fans react to the deferred DD telecast.

DD viewers with a Neo watcher next door may have their eyes on their sets tomorrow but are sure to be keeping an ear out for any shrieks of delight from their neighbour’s if, say, Sourav approaches a landmark.

They also have another option — just turn on the radio.

The court today allowed AIR to relay live commentary — and viewers who don’t mind a lack of sync may even have the radio on and the TV volume off, watching the whole game as a sort of “action replay”.

Nimbus had offered live feed if DD would ensure that only its terrestrial channels got it. That involves encryption, and Prasar wasn’t too keen.

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