Govt Ready to Pilot Direct-to-Mobile (D2M) Technology for Internet-Free Video Streaming

D2M technology is currently used for delivering emergency alerts and disaster management.

  • D2M can broadcast live TV and stream multimedia content to mobile devices without the internet or a SIM card.
  • The government has plans to begin a D2M technology pilot in 19 Indian cities.
  • Mobile devices will require specific hardware components to be able to support D2M.

Indian government ready to deliver internet-free video streaming through Direct-to-Mobile aka D2M technology. On-demand movies and TV shows streaming along with live TV have become a lot more mainstream in India than a few years ago.

However, there is still a significant number of userbase who are either missing out on these benefits completely or have to rely on poor internet connectivity. The new D2M service will help such viewers enjoy live TV and other multimedia content streaming without requiring an internet connection or even a SIM card inserted into their smartphones.

At the moment, the government is planning to pilot this service in 19 cities across the country, according to Economic Times.

Direct-to-Mobile (D2M) For Video Streaming: How will it work?

D2M will utilise Prasar Bharti’s infrastructure for the pilot along with IIT Kanpur and Bengaluru-based Saankhya Labs. The technology is already being used to deliver emergency alerts and disaster management.

It will be the first time D2M will be used for internet-free content streaming which as you would expect comes with its own set of challenges. This is the reason the government is proceeding with a pilot first.

One important thing to note is that mobile devices will require specific hardware components to support D2M. The government says it currently has no plans to make it mandatory for device makers to release mobile devices with the required component.

However, this may change in the future as it happened with the NaVIC chip integration.

Source: Abhay Karandikar/X

The report says device makers believe D2M chip implementation will increase the smartphone cost by at least USD 30 (~Rs 2,500). On another hand, Saankhya Labs MD and CEO Parag Naik say the chip cost will be between Rs 120 to Rs 200 if there are sufficient devices.

Apurva Chandra, Secretary, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting said,

“Launch of a pilot is the first step because there are challenges. While the technology is there, and it can be adopted, but in a device, you require a certain chip or attachment. To see how that adoption takes place, pilots will be required. We are only promoting this technology as it’s going to lead to several benefits for the consumer as well as for the country.”

What is Direct-to-Mobile (D2M) Technology and Why it matters?

Direct-to-mobile (D2M) is a broadcast technology that allows content to be delivered directly to mobile devices. D2M does not rely on internet connectivity or SIM cards for the broadcast. This is similar to how you can access FM Radio on your smartphone or live TV at your home through direct-to-home (DTH) tech.

It is the reason mobile devices will need to have particular hardware components to be able to receive D2M broadcasts. If the pilot turns out to be successful and it gets implemented on a bigger scale, it will be helpful for millions of users across the nation. Users will not have to rely on internet connectivity and data plans for enjoying on-demand content and watching live TV.

While this does sound exciting, the future of internet-free video streaming through D2M will depend on the pilot’s performance. The government also needs to work on rules and policy measures surrounding D2M after consulting with other stakeholders including smartphone makers and telecom operators. If everything goes as planned, D2M support is expected to become available on smartphones in about one year.