When it comes to providing unique services to the customer, no DTH operator can beat Tata Sky in the industry. Tata Sky already has some software-side unique services like temporary account suspension, Tata Sky Watch and so on. On the hardware front as well, Tata Sky is leading the chart as it a total of four Set-Top Boxes on offer to the customers. Tata Sky is providing Standard Definition (SD), High Definition (HD), + High Definition (+HD) and Ultra High Definition 4K Set-Top Boxes right now. Pricing side of things, the SD Set-Top Box is available at just Rs 1,399, whereas the HD box can be availed for Rs 1,499 right now. The +HD and Ultra HD 4K Set-Top Boxes are available at Rs 9,300 and Rs 6,400, respectively. That said, what are features offered by these Set-Top Boxes by Tata Sky? Well, let's find out.
The Tata Sky SD Set-Top Box, as the name suggests will have very little to offer when it comes to display, and the STB will only provide the standard quality display. The Tata Sky HD STB, however, will ship 1080p resolution, 3G compatibility and 16:9 aspect ratio. The Tata Sky HD+ box offers the same thing. The Tata Sky 4K box will ship all the features as mentioned above but will also combine them with true colours.
When it comes to audio or sound quality, the Tata Sky SD STB which is also the lowest rung in the ladder offers only PCM based audio but in the Tata Sky HD and HD+ Set-Top Box, we get to see Dolby Digital Surround and Dolby Digital Plus Surround support as well. The Tata Sky 4K, as you would expect offers PCM, Dolby Digital Surround and Dolby Digital Plus Surround as well.
One of the other extra functionalities that Tata Sky offers for its users is Video-on-demand. However, this functionality is only available on the Tata Sky HD+ variant. In the additional features department, the lower two set-top box lose out as they don’t pack much beyond the necessities. The HD variant of the Set-Top Box comes with a 500GB hard disk, option to record from a mobile phone, karaoke, option to rewind, forward pause and Series Recording.
Some of the additional features are common across all the STBs like parental control, Auto Standby and Services. When it comes to the 4K variant of the Tata Sky STBs, it is worth noting that it does not ship all the additional features which the HD+ variant comes with. The 4K variant of the device only comes with HDMI 2.0, parental control, Auto Standby and services only in the name of additional features.
Tata Sky is currently selling the Tata Sky SD Set-Top Box for Rs 1,399 in the country, and the Tata Sky HD variant is listed for Rs 1,499, just a Rs 100 higher than the SD variant. The Tata Sky 4K STB can be picked up for Rs 6,400, whereas the Tata Sky HD+ STB is available for Rs 9,300. All these prices are currently mentioned on Tata Sky website and there might be some new acquisition offers going on region wise.
What Other DTH Operators are Providing Right Now?
If we look at the Set-Top Box side of things, Tata Sky is leading the chart with a total of four boxes under its belt. Airtel Digital TV has three types of boxes- SD, HD and the Airtel Xstream Box; The digital TV arm of Bharti Airtel is also providing Airtel Internet TV in some parts of the country, but it's basically the Airtel Xstream Box that was launched a few days ago. Dish TV and D2h are providing just two Set-Top Box variants- HD and SD to the customers, and it's the same case with Sun Direct as well.
Considering all the options given above, we think that if you can let go of the 4K factor and you think that you can make do with HD+ content, then the Tata Sky HD+ set-top box makes the most sense to buy. The reason why we say this is because it is the only one in the list which offers video on demand content, additional hard-disk and more, however, it costs a lot compared to the standard SD and HD set-top boxes.