Earlier this month we had reported that TataSky was launching a new revolutionary product in the world of DTH which will transform the TV viewing experience of lakhs of subscribers in India forever. TataSky + HD Transfer set top box has been launched with the goal of liberating the viewer from adhering to fixed timings of TV shows which practically speaking is not possible in today’s hectic lifestyle.
Well, yes HD DVR’s are not a new concept and recording of live TV has been offered by DTH players since years, but now a days people don’t even have the time to sit in front of their television sets and watch the recorded shows when they get back home from work. This is where the ‘Transfer’ feature steps in, allowing viewers to transfer the recorded content to their smartphones or tablets over the home local Wi-Fi network to view later on the go, perhaps on the daily commute to work.
TataSky has launched this product with focus on the age group of 19 to 35 years residing in metro and tier 1 cities who demand new content and wish to play by their own rules when it comes to TV viewing. We decided to lay our hands on the product and test it thoroughly for 1 month and then come up with a comprehensive review of the good the bad and the ugly of the product to help our readers make an educated decision before buying their next set top box.
The look and feel of the set top box is similar to the TataSky + HD PVR with the all black and brushed metal silver strip running along the front. It is lighter than the previous model and has only one input port for the cable from the dish, compared to two ports on the previous model. The back panel has a power input slot, one USB slot, 1 RJ 45 Ethernet port, 1 HDMI output, 1 SPDIF sound output, 1 Red White Yellow composite output. The right side has the slot for the Smart card and an additional USB port. The front panel has indicator lights for standby, remote, alert and play pause status of recorded content.
The set top box comes with a built in 500GB hard disk which offers capacity to store up to 600 hours of SD content or 235 hours of HD content. The box has 3 built in tuners of which 2 are currently active and one is for future use. The universal remote which comes with the box saves the hassle of using two remotes for TV and STB and the buttons are well-spaced out and has a strong IR blaster which ensures the box catches the signal even at tricky oblique angles. The wireless connectivity to the box can either be achieved by connecting an Ethernet wire to the STB from your home Wi-Fi router or by plugging in the USB Wi-Fi dongle which comes with the product.
To use the transfer feature, you need to download the latest version of the TataSky mobile app for your smartphone or tablet from the iOS App store or Android Play store (The app is not available for Windows phones as of now) and register your device using your TataSky login and assign a friendly name to your device. Remember that you can use the transfer feature only on two devices linked to a single subscriber Id. You need to make sure your TataSky + HD transfer set top box is powered on and is connected to your Home Wi-Fi network. You need to record a show on your set top box and wait for the recording to complete. Activate the free transfer pack on your registered device and search for the set top box on the same network. Once the set top box is located, you can find a list of recorded shows, you can either immediately stream the content to your device or click on transfer.
The recorded content will then be converted into a format playable on your device and the conversion process will take the same amount of time as the duration of the recording, so a half an hour show will take 30 mins for conversion and then 3 to 4 mins to be transferred on your device depending on the speed of your Wi-Fi router. Remember that your device has to be awake and app open during the transfer process, though this is not necessary during the conversion process. Once transferred, the shows remain on your smartphone or tablet for only 48 hours if not viewed or 24 hours from the time of viewing, after which they are auto deleted from your device.
- This STB lets the user decide when, where and how he wishes to view his TV shows.
- The digital image output up to 1080i gives crisp and sharp video quality for HD channels
- The audio output supports 7.1 channel surround sound for a more
- The transfer process happens over local Wi-Fi without using any data, which is perfect for users with limited monthly internet usage quota.
- The STB allows for recording of one live TV show while viewing another. Which works for families with individuals of diverse viewing tastes.
- The STB provides direct streaming of recorded shows to smartphone or tablet over Wi-Fi, which creates an alternate screen for viewing TV.
- The TataSky mobile app is intuitive and well equip with features like Wi-Fi remote which gives the user more control while switching channels. Remote record allows the user to send recording instructions to the STB when the user is not at home. Everywhere TV allows the user to watch live TV on the go and also catch up shows of up to 5 days back.
The TataSky + HD Transfer STB is a fine piece of technology with the most up to date features catering to the need of the hour. The product is of value for the high income subscriber base in metro and tier 1 cities considering the pricing of Rs.9300 for new subscribers and Rs.7890 for existing customers, subscribers from tier 2 and 3 cities may not see much value in spending so much on a STB. Subscribers who currently own the TataSky + HD STB may not want to upgrade to the Transfer STB but first time users who are upgrading from normal HD STB may find the product of great value.
The set top box is future ready since the third tuner can be activated by an OTA software update without a need for hardware upgradation and same holds true for the video format conversion speed upgrade from 1X to 32X. The true Video on Demand (VoD) feature offered by TataSky whereby the user can download free and paid content over the internet and view according to his own convenience is also of great value and offered by very few DTH operators in the world.
Physiotherapist by day and techno buff by evening, Esmail is our very own in-house spectrum specialist. He has a keen eye for the Mobile data and DTH segments.