Smart Set-Top Box: What is It and How Does it Differ from Standard Set-Top Box

Smart set-top boxes are something that allows the users to access OTT content and the satellite TV channels side by side, controlled by the same remote.

By September 12th, 2019 AT 5:57 AM
Highlights
  • The two most notable smart set-top boxes are Airtel Xstream Box and the Jio set-top box.
  • The Smart STBs come pre-installed with apps like Netflix, ZEE5, and more.

The DTH industry in the past year has undergone many changes, and the root of these changes lies in the new Trai tariff regime which went into effect earlier this year. This propelled the DTH service providers to change their ways and also changed the pricing mannerisms, QoS rules and more in the industry. The changes were also driven by the imminent arrival of the fibre-based broadband service from Reliance Jio, which was known to affect the broadband and DTH sector. However, there has been a new evolution in the DTH industry because of all these factors, and it has mostly been seen on the set-top box. As a result, now the subscribers will be able to find two types of set-top boxes – a smart set-top box and a standard one which is currently present in most homes. So, what is so different about the two boxes, that’s what we are here to tell you.

smart-set-top-box

Why the Need for Smart Set-Top Boxes

The smart set-top boxes are something that surfaced as the result of DTH operators trying to bring online content on the TV screens. Although there were devices which allowed the users to watch OTT content on their TV screens, like the Amazon Fire TV Stick, they did not have much adaptability across the country. There were clear user behaviour patterns which pointed out that OTT content was being consumed on smartphone and laptop screens, whereas the satellite TV channels were on the TV screens only. However, this meant that DTH operators and channels were losing viewership, so naturally, the next step was to bring subscribers back to their TV screens, and this was done by bringing the OTT content as well, by means of a smart set-top box.

Smart Set-Top Boxes Explained

Going by that inference, a smart set-top box is something that will let you access both your OTT content online and the satellite TV channels side by side. Whereas, in contrast to that, a standard set-top box is limited to simply providing the satellite TV channels. The two most prominent smart set-top boxes available in the market right now are the Airtel Xstream and the Jio set-top box.

Both of these set-top boxes come with the ability to connect to the internet and not only that, but they also come with pre-installed applications like Netflix, Amazon Prime, ZEE5, Hotstar which can be accessed by the viewer. Not only this, but they also get a connection with the Dish, which means that viewers can flip between the satellite TV channels and the OTT content any time. Also, instead of using a different remote to control both of these things, the viewer can control the TV using a single remote, thus increasing the ease of usage. This is how a smart set-top box differs from a standard set-top box.

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Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.

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Soon we will have a new set top box option, after TRAI pushing for set top box portability. Any idea if these two latest set top boxes from air and Gio will support portability? Or they will laugh new STB models as per TRAI guidelines?

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