There are a handful of DTH operators in the Indian DTH industry which come to the minds of people when they are thinking of getting a new connection. Now, there are a lot of subscribers, who are quitting DTH connections altogether, but still, there is a population that is either changing their DTH operators, getting a new connection, getting multiple connections or upgrading from cable TV services to DTH services. All of these people getting a new DTH connection, now face the decision of choosing one from the many Set-Top Boxes which the companies offer. There is also a lot of hype around the Hybrid Set-Top Boxes, but it cannot be ignored that the top choice of all the new DTH customers happens to be the HD Set-Top Boxes. Now, two of the major DTH operators, Tata Sky and Airtel Digital TV have priced their HD Set-Top Boxes very closely, and hence the question remains, which of the company extends more benefits to the users. Here is a take on the same.
Set-Top Box Pricing and Features
When it comes to pricing, the Tata Sky HD Set-Top Box has been priced at a higher rate at Rs 1,499, whereas the Airtel Digital TV HD Set-Top Box retails at a lower rate of Rs 1,300. So the first difference is between the pricing of these two Set-Top Boxes, and in this case, the subscribers will be more in benefit when they choose the Airtel Digital TV Set-Top Box. When it comes to features, there is a lot of overlap between these two HD STBs. Both of these Set-Top Boxes offer up to 1080i quality and Dolby Digital Surround sound. However, the Tata Sky misses out on any kind of recording functionality, whereas, the Airtel Digital TV Set-Top Box offers the record and play feature on its HD Set-Top Box.
To recall, Tata Sky offers the recording functionality in its higher-end Set-Top Boxes only. Hence this earns Airtel Digital TV another edge in features despite being lower priced.
In case you are getting a connection for your home, it is crucial to keep in mind the multi-TV pricing of a particular DTH operator in case you have to get another connection. In this case, if the subscribers get an additional Airtel Digital TV connection, then they would have to pay an NCF of Rs 80 in addition to the content charges and the NCF for extra channels. In the case of Tata Sky, there would be no NCF discount, and the subscribers would be charged similar to the first connection. This again means that the Airtel Digital TV subscribers would be in advantage, as first, they would make savings on the pricing of the Set-Top Box and then they would save about Rs 70 every month on NCF charges, as compared to Tata Sky subscribers.
Accessing OTT Content
In this case, Tata Sky subscribers get the edge over Airtel Digital TV customers as Tata Sky users will have the option of getting an Amazon Fire TV Stick along with bundled subscription of OTT services just for Rs 249 per month. On the other hand, the subscribers of Airtel Digital TV will either have to upgrade to the Airtel Xstream Box or they would have to find another solution like the Airtel Xstream Stick or the Amazon Fire TV Stick to watch OTT content on their TV screen. This would be much more pricey as compared to Tata Sky Binge.
Overall, if the subscribers are interested in buying an HD Set-Top Box for their DTH connection, then Airtel Digital TV would be the better choice for subscribers, keeping in all the parameters. However, in case you are likely to lean towards OTT services, then it would be better to get a Tata Sky subscription with Tata Sky Binge service. Or, by spending a little more, you could also get an Airtel Xstream Box, but with it, you will have to pay for subscriptions additionally.