Doordarshan, a Public Service Broadcaster, is the largest terrestrial network in the world. The service was started on 15th September, 1959 to transmit educational and developmental programmes on an experimental basis with half an-hour programming. A major land-mark was the introduction of colour television in 1982 with Asia 82 (9th Asian Games) which ushered in a major revolution in broadcasting in the country. This was followed by a phase of rapid expansion of Doordarshan when, in 1984, DD installed a transmitter in the country more or less every day. With this, the reach of television increased far and wide.
As on 31st March 2005, Doordarshan has 1314 transmitters (1188 for DD 1 + 121 for DD 2 + 5 others) with 56 studio centres and 23 satellite channels (which includes Gyandarshan).
The flagship of Doordarshan - DD 1 (National) operates through a network of 1188 transmitters of varying power, covering 77.5% of the land area and 89.6% population of India.
The primary channel of Doordarshan (Doordarshan-I) has 3 major components of programme contests - information, education and entertainment. The information component consist of News and Current Affairs. The education component is drawn from the contributions from IGNOU, UGC, CIET, SIET and other Sponsored programmes like TURNING POINT (Science magazine) and Tera Quiz (a programmes on environment). Public Service Broadcasts also form a part of educational programmes which deal with programmes on women's issues and programmes produced by Public Service Broadcasting Trust. The live interactive show "Hum Hazir Hain" presents persons of eminence before the audience as a part of public service broadcast.
Question Hour in Parliament is telecast live on the National channel. Specific window is earmarked for programme in regional languages between 2.30 PM and 8.00 PM on all week days for Public Utility programmes and entertainment programmes in the regional languages and dialects. The entertainment programmes mainly consists of mid-day daily soaps between 12.00 to 2.00 pm and again between 9.00 pm to 11.00 pm. This includes feature films on Friday and Saturday and regional Award winning films on Sunday.
Doordarshan has made a significant contribution to accelerate socio-economic change, promote national integration and stimulate scientific temper. Being a Public Service Broadcaster, it strives to carry messages in its programmes on means of population control and family welfare, agricultural information and knowledge, preservation of environment and ecological balance, highlighting the need for social welfare measures for women, children and the less priviledged. It also promotes games and sports, and the artistic and cultural heritage of the country.