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Technological evolution of BBS television over last few decades

From airing its news and programmes using video cassettes to operating in standard definition, BBS television is now in high definition. The national broadcaster has come a long way in its technological advancement.

BBS television was launched in 1999.

Without a proper studio, news and programmes were broadcast from Sangaygang in Thimphu.

The camera at the time was analogue and the picture quality was in Standard Definition.

In the early days, the broadcast process relied on Umatic tapes which had low storage capacity and were heavy.

For the first one year, the broadcast was available only in the capital.

Early next morning, the tapes were ferried across the country on passenger buses. The rest of the country watched the news the next day on their local cable channels. However, it took a few days longer for the tapes to be delivered to some districts. For instance, people in Trashigang got to watch the news only three days later.

As technology progressed, BBS upgraded to using Digital Video or DV cameras. They were portable and had increased storage capacity.

But BBS’s quest for excellence did not stop there. The station went tapeless, digitising its broadcasting system through the use of cutting-edge servers.

However, BBS operated on standard definition until this year.

Now, with the launch of HD transmission, BBS viewers can view clearer pictures, vibrant colours, and an immersive viewing experience.

“The viewers will be able to see a much clearer picture quality with high-definition transformation in broadcasting from the BBS. We have already known channels which are broadcast on HD when we were broadcasting on standard definition.  Now that we are on HD too, our quality will be as good as any other TV channel,” said Kaka Tshering, Chief Executive Officer of BBS.

Looking towards the future, the officiating chief engineer of BBS said there is a possibility of enhancing the high-definition transmission to 4K resolution.

“It is possible for our infrastructure to be on 4K. We just need to purchase the licences. However, it is very difficult for the transmission, especially for the satellite. It might be possible in the future if we go through multi-service operations (MSOs) which are used through fibre connections. Through that, we will be able to integrate to 4K,” said Thinley Dorji, Officiating Chief Engineer of BBS.

Works are also underway to upgrade the HD signal in the Ku-band satellite so that BBS channels can be watched in the South Asian region.

Tashi Yangden

Edited by Tshering Zam