Finally, on September 5, the Mukesh Ambani led telecom operator announced the pricing of its much-awaited JioFiber services. This fibre-to-the-home service, however, does not only bring broadband to the homes of the customers but also brings many other things with it like the Jio Home Gateway and the Jio Set-Top Box as well. But, only days before the launch of JioFiber, Airtel already played a defence move in the market by introducing its Xstream Box which is a Set-Top Box and Android TV console that gives the Jio Set-Top Box a firm competition. It is now the obvious question of the customers, which one of the two is the better offering and from an economic standpoint, will getting a JioFiber connection make more sense? Let’s check out what the facts say.
The first thing to note is the similarity between the two offerings which Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel have introduced into the market. There are no two thoughts about the fact that Bharti Airtel has introduced the Xstream Box and the Xstream Stick as a means to overshadow the launch of JioFiber. Both of these consoles, the Jio Set-Top Box and the Xstream Box have many overlapping features. The two consoles provide Satellite TV and over-the-top applications as well. On taking a much deeper look, it becomes clear that Airtel Xstream Box is possibly the only set-top box in the market right now which can give a tough competition to Reliance Jio’s Set-Top Box, the reason being that there are no consoles in the market right now which would pair Satellite TV and OTT applications in a well-rounded manner as these two offerings do.
There was one way that the Reliance Jio Set-Top Box could have left the Airtel Xstream Box far behind, and that was if Reliance Jio was shipping a free TV connection with its offerings. Initially, it was expected that Reliance Jio would offer the IPTV (Internet Protocol TV) with its JioFiber service, but later the telco revealed that the subscribers would have to get a separate connection to watch TV with the Jio Set-Top Box.
It is worth noting that both of these consoles come loaded with the respective OTT apps like Jio TV, JioCinema, for Jio Set-Top Box, and the Airtel Xstream Box comes with Airtel Xstream App. This is besides the other OTT apps like Netflix, ZEE5 and more. There is also no lack of Live TV channels available through these apps. However, the major difference between the two comes in pricing as the Airtel Xstream Box is available for Rs 3,999 for the new consumers whereas for the Airtel Digital TV existing subscribers an upgrade to this console would cost Rs 2,249. On the other hand, as part of the Welcome Offer, Reliance Jio is offering the Jio Set-Top Box free of cost to its subscribers with a JioFiber connection. Reliance Jio has claimed that the Jio Set-Top Box is worth Rs 6,500, so when the telco starts charging for its STB, the compass might turn in favour of Airtel. Right now keeping both the features and pricing in mind, getting a Reliance Jio Set-Top Box to combine with an LCO connection seems like the best choice for the consumers.