In the last year, the DTH industry has grown intensely competitive because of the new regulatory changes. Due to the reeling changes in the DTH industry and sort of a fresh start, the subscribers had the chance to switch their DTH operators, and many of them did too. This also gave the chance to the DTH operators to increase the attractiveness of their offerings. The new Trai report on the DTH subscribers also shows that a lot of subscribers that had left the DTH services back during the time of the Trai tariff regime have also started coming back. This means that the DTH operators are likely going to see a new influx of customers. Now, one of the choices the subscribers will have to make is the DTH operator which they will stick with. A lot of that depends on the pricing of the HD Set-Top Box. Since most of the subscribers opt for the HD Set-Top Box, the pricing of the STB is one of the most crucial factors which decides the competitiveness of the DTH operator. When it comes to this, Airtel Digital TV seems to be leading the chart.
Airtel Digital TV HD Set-Top Box
Recently, we heard that Tata Sky has slashed the prices of its HD Set-Top Box. Now Tata Sky is the most popular DTH operator in India, and there is no doubt that the DTH operator service provider offers some of the best services to its customers. However, considering the pricing of the Set-Top Box, even after the price cut on its HD Set-Top Box the Tata Sky HD Set-Top Box retails for Rs 1,399. On the other hand, the pricing of the Airtel Digital TV HD Set-Top Box remains Rs 1,300, and that is without any price cut.
In some of the cases, we have seen that Airtel Digital TV retails its HD Set-Top Boxes for as low as Rs 1,100. This puts Airtel Digital TV ahead of the other DTH operators. If we were to look at the other DTH operators like Dish TV or D2h, then it appears to be pretty clear that in terms of Set-Top Box pricing, Airtel Digital TV has an edge, because the pricing of Dish TV Set-Top Box is quite high at Rs 1,590. When new subscribers come to choose between Dish TV and other DTH operators, the high pricing of the Dish TV Set-Top Box is likely to affect the choices.
Airtel Xstream Box Comparatively Cheaper Pricing
A similar thing is seen in the case of Airtel Xstream Box as well, which is the Hybrid Set-Top Box from Airtel Digital TV. While the other DTH operators like Tata Sky are retailing their Hybrid Set-Top Box, Binge+, for as much as Rs 5,999, Airtel Digital TV is offering its Xstream Box for Rs 3,999. The price is even lower for the existing subscribers of Airtel Digital TV who will have to pay Rs 2,249 for the upgrade from their old Airtel Digital TV Set-Top Box to this Android-TV based STB.
Trai Bringing New Rules Again in the Industry
It is worth noting that in the DTH industry, Trai is all set to introduce new regulations starting March 1, which will change how the channels are priced and packaged into channel bouquets. These rules have been opposed by the broadcasters, but are likely to reduce the prices of a DTH connection for the subscribers.