Home DTH services during the lockdown are a blessing as they keep us entertained and keep the blues away. The market has a lot of DTH providers with almost every household having a different antenna on its roof. The most prominent players are Tata Sky, Videocon D2H and Dish TV. They offer more than just channels. If you are looking for an upgrade or just simply getting a new cable service, our comparison here should help you.
With TRAI new rules in place, you pay for what you watch and you get some channels for free with the charges you pay for the connection.
Tata Sky has a huge catalogue of packs. They are divided into categories such as Tata Sky packs, Broadcasters packs etc. You can also narrow down your choices by language and genre (entertainment, news, sports etc). Tata Sky packs are Tata Sky’s own channel bundles with options for both HD and SD with HD packs being a tad bit pricier. They have options like Hindi Bachat for Rs 36/month, Premium sports English for Rs 340/month.
These packs have genre-specific channels in HD or SD quality. Tata Sky packs also have regional channel packs such as Bengali regional mini priced at Rs 42/month and Marathi Regional HD Rs 161/month. Some of the channels are region specific such as Tamil Lite New pack, which is exclusive to Tamil Nadu. There are also Add Ons and Mini packs such as English Combo HD which is priced at Rs 158/month and English Movies HD which is priced at Rs 162/month. Some these packs are under FTA (free to air) while most of them have a Network Capacity fee which is extra which is Rs 130.
The next Categories of Channels are Broadcasters Bouquet which is essentially channels packages by broadcasters such as Zee and Star and these packages contain an assortment of their channels such as Star Premium HD which is priced at Rs 100/month and has channels like NatGeo HD and Natgeo Wild. You can also choose channels in an a-la-carte format which is you pay for individual channels. Visit their website in order to see all the hundreds of packs and choose the one that suits you.
Videocon D2H offers a ton of variation in packs. They are divided into categories such as d2h recommended combos. Basic service tiers, broadcaster bouquet, a-la-carte channels, add ons and BST add ons.
d2h recommended combos are bundles of channels from d2h itself. They hold channels based on region, language and genre and are easy for a “pick and choose the format”. These packs have both HD and SD variations. Some of the packs in this category are ALL IN ONE ENGLISH COMBO for Rs 284/month and has a channel count of 222, DIAMOND BENGALI HD COMBO for Rs 263/month and a channel count of 263. There are over 30 packages for you to choose from.
The Basic Services Tiers lets you choose the pack with your choice of FTA channels. These packs have a baseline price of Rs 130 which is based on your NCF. You have options like BST Kannada, BST Tamil, DD pack etc.
Broadcaster bouquets are essentially channels packages by broadcasters in which they bundle their own channels for easy selection. You have options like DISCOVERY BASIC INFOTAINMENT PACK which has 8 channels from Discover and is priced at Rs 8/month, DISNEY HINDI ENTERTAINMENT BOUQUET which has 3 channels and is priced at Rs 4/month
You have the ability to include add ons in HD or SD such as CRICKET HINDI which has 2 channels and is priced at Rs 38/month.
You again have the option to choose individual channels of your choice from the a-lar-carte section. You also have the option of putting together your own pack with channels of your choice.
Dish TV has a very similar format of channel packs to Videocon d2h. It too has categories like DishTV Combos, DishTV add ons, Broadcasters Bouquet, BST packs and single packs and the option to make your own pack.
DishTV combos are DishTV’s own channel bundles and come in both HD and SD. You have options like Classic Hindi which 193 channels and is priced at Rs 145/month. This category has channels bundles based on a lot of criteria including region, language, and genre.
DishTV add ons are small mini packs that you can add to your plan. These too are segregated via genre, language and region. You have options like Rajasthan SD, Punjabi SD etc.
Broadcaster bouquets are again essentially channel packages by broadcasters in which they bundle their own channels for easy selection. You have options like Zee prime pack English which has 5 channels from Zee and is priced at Rs 25/month.
You also have the option of purchasing individual channels as well. BTS channels packs let you pick an assortment of channels that is free of cost as it is included with your NCF.
Winner Tata Sky: All the providers provide a huge range of package selection however, tata sky’s own channels like tata sky movies etc, give it an edge.
These service providers provide more than just channels. Their hardware has some very useful features. DTH service providers give you their transmission via a set-top box and dish antenna. These service providers have a range of different set-top boxes
Tata Sky mainly has 5 different types of set-top boxes.
Tata sky SD is the most basic one with no High definition support and only supports stereo PCM audio and is priced at Rs 1499. Tata Sky HD is their entry-level set-top boxes for HD support and is priced at Rs 1499. It has features like Dolby Surround Audio, 16:9 aspect ratio image and 1080i resolution.
An upgrade to this will be Tata Sky HD+ which is priced at Rs 9300 and has a ton of features such as web apps, a 500GB HDD, 1080i resolution, Dolby Audio, 16:9 ratio image and the ability to rewind, record, forward and pause. This set-top box is also 3D ready and supports recording via your smartphone.
The Tata Sky Ultra HD 4k Set-top box is the only set-top box in the lineup that supports 4K images and true colour 10bit colours. It is priced at Rs 6400.
The Tata Sky binge+ is Tata Sky’s smart hybrid set-top box which has the ability to download the app and give you the benefit of enjoying your shows on OTT apps like Amazon Prime videos, Disney+ Hotstar etc. It also has a Chromecast built-in and supports Google assistant. It is priced at Rs 5999
Videocon d2h a more mundane set of offerings. Their basic Digital set-top box is priced at Rs 1499 and supports only SD channels. It has a feature called Mosaic which lets you play 12 of your channels at once.
The Digital HD set-top box is their entry-level HD supporting set-top box. It can playback in HD and SD with support for Dolby Audio on supported channels and is priced at Rs 1599. The HD RF Set-top box in addition to being able to play HD channels also has recording capabilities and is priced at Rs 1799. The HD RF Set-top box with magic stick includes additional equipment called D2h Magic stick which gives your set-top box Alexa enabled capabilities and the ability to stream from OTT apps. It includes a remote which supports Alexa voice commands and is priced at Rs 1599.
DishTV has a wider range of set-top box offering with integrated smart solutions. DishNXT is their entry-level offering and is priced at Rs 1490. It supports only SD channels with stereo sound. DishNXT HD is their entry-level HD set-top box and is priced at Rs 1590. It supports HD channel and can play stereo sound.
DishSMRT HUB is the company’s smart hybrid set-top box. It can play your regular cable in HD while also giving you the ability to stream content via OTT apps as it runs on Android and has a Play store. You can watch your favourite content from apps like prime videos, YouTube, Alt Balaji and more. This set-top box also supports voice search and google assistant with the ability to control your smart home devices. It is priced at Rs 2499.
The dish SMRT STICK is not a set-top box however, it gives your existing set-top box the ability to stream content while also giving you the smart benefits of Alexa. You can either get it in a kit with a DishNXT HD set-top box for Rs 1119 or get the Stick alone for Rs 599.
Winner: DishTV. Its wide array of options both smart and basic with upgradability gives it an edge.
* Installations charges vary based on the equipment. You can also get multiple set-top boxes for additional fees.
Tata Sky along with its more basic offering has some special offering too. It is the only provider amongst the three to have a set-top box that supports 4K. It’s in house channels such as Tata Sky movies, are excellent and bring you the latest and greatest hits which can be purchased at a very nominal rate. Their in-house channels are great and not to mention the games that are built-into the set-top box. The Tata Sky binge+ set-top box lets you enjoy your OTT streaming apps in tandem with your cable channel.
DishTV’s smart lineup is very impressive. Although videocon has something similar in terms of the streaming sticks, DishTV, however, does a better job. Features like built-in Chromecast and OTT app is highly appreciated.
Winner: Tata Sky. It has it all. OTT apps, exclusive channels and power of Dolby Digital 5.1
The most prominent feature amongst these providers is their hugs catalogue of plans and channels. Neither of these will fall short for providing the channel that you want to see. All the three providers have the ability to play HD channels with Dolby audio either in surround or stereo.
All of these need a dish antenna for communicating with the satellite. It should be noted that during a heavy cloud cover, you might not receive a signal for viewing your cable content.
Verdict: Even though the prices plan, installation may vary slightly, it’s the other aspects that put Tata sky at the top. It has smart features, great picture and sound quality and some great hardware.