Tata Sky recently became the leading DTH service provider in India, surpassing Dish TV in the process. When it comes to the subscriber base, Airtel Digital TV stands third on the list below Dish TV & D2h combined. Both Airtel Digital TV and Tata Sky are top service providers in the DTH sector and both of them are actively adding new subscribers every month. Tata Sky is constantly slashing prices of its Set-Top Boxes to increase its subscriber base, while Airtel Digital TV is not far behind. Both the DTH operators are even offering long-term recharge plans to the customers along with free subscription. But Airtel Digital TV is ahead of Tata Sky when it comes to offering hybrid Set-Top Box to the customers. Which DTH operator is the best option between Airtel Digital TV and Tata Sky? Let's find out.
Tata Sky Leads the Set-Top Box Department
Following on the footsteps of Tata Sky, Airtel Digital TV has announced a price cut on its Set-Top Boxes. The DTH provider has announced that it has cut the prices of its STBs by Rs 200. This price-cut will be available on HD and SD STBs of Airtel Digital TV. Since the Airtel Digital TV customers are required to select a plan which is bundled along with the STB, therefore the pricing of the STB will depend on the plan which the subscribers choose. Airtel Digital TV HD Set-Top Box is now available at Rs 1,300, followed by the SD Set-Top Box at Rs 1,100.
On the other hand, Tata Sky has straightforward pricing for its STBs, and the DTH provider has introduced a new price-cut on its Set-Top Boxes for Diwali 2019. After this price cut, the Tata Sky SD set-top box will be available for Rs 1,099 whereas, the Tata Sky HD set-top box will be available for Rs 1,199. Tata Sky is currently the cheapest operator in the Set-Top Box department.
When it comes to long-term plans, the clear winner in the competition is Airtel Digital TV as the DTH provider is shipping way more than 100 semi-annual and annual channel packs for the subscribers and it is doing so with a 10% cashback offer. The Airtel Digital TV subscribers will be able to avail as much as 10% discount on their recharge of a long-term offer while making payments from Airtel Payments Bank or Airtel Money. Furthermore, Airtel Digital TV is providing one month of free service to customers who recharge the same pack for 11 months.
Tata Sky, on the other hand, is offering limited long-term plan options to its subscribers. The DTH provider has not launched many plans which come with 6-months or 12-months validity. Also, the only long-term subscription offer option that Tata Sky is offering is through the Tata Sky Cashback offer where subscribers pay for 11-months and get the 12th month free. The Tata Sky subscribers get to select from a substantially limited pool of long-term channel packs as compared to Airtel Digital TV subscribers.
This is again another area, where Tata Sky lags owing to its latest announcement about withdrawing the multi-TV policy. Now Tata Sky subscribers with multiple TV connections will have to pay individually for every subscription. Whereas, Airtel Digital TV subscribers are required to pay only Rs 80 as NCF for their secondary connection along with the content charges. This Rs 80 plus taxes will be the NCF for 100 SD channels. It is apparent that for multi-TV subscribers, opting for an Airtel Digital TV connection is a better choice.
Tata Sky Loses to Airtel Digital TV in the Hybrid STB Department
Lastly, we get to the hybrid Set-Top Box department in which Airtel Digital TV is the leader. Airtel Digital TV recently launched Airtel Xstream Box Android TV-based Set-Top Box priced at Rs 3,999. Being an Android TV-based box, Airtel Xstream Box also offers all the popular OTT apps, but users will have to purchase separate subscriptions to each service. Tata Sky also has Tata Sky Binge service under which it's offering Amazon Fire TV Stick for free if a customer chooses to pay Rs 249 every month.
Considering all the facts given above and taking into mind the recent price-cut on the STBs, the customers might find Airtel Digital TV to be a better choice in case you want to opt for long-term plans and especially for multi-TV connections. The latter is something which tips the needle more in favour of Airtel Digital TV as compared to Tata Sky. However, since this comparison does not take into mind service, and other offerings from both the brands, there is a chance that a Tata Sky subscription might suit your needs more. Tata Sky Binge and the affordable Set-Top Boxes are unique offerings from the DTH operator, but in the crucial aspects, Tata Sky is losing the battle right now.