The idiot box is such an integral part of our daily lives that we can’t imagine our life without one.
In fact, many of us have more than one in the house so each member can watch what they like, unlike in the old days when there was just one set in the house, not to mention, only Doordarshan to watch!
Now with the wide variety of channels in a multitude of languages available today, televisions are companions for people of all age groups.
Credit Satellite TV for bringing us the variety, with viewers getting spoilt for choices as far as choosing their preferred Direct-to-Home satellite TV provider is concerned.
Nowadays we watch the latest international movies and TV series, get the latest news, sports updates, and a plethora of high-quality content, all thanks to the explosion of these DTH services.
With choices in monthly packages that can be tailored to every household’s viewing preferences, discounts on long-term subscriptions, easy installation, and mobility of connections, not to mention the ease of online payments coupled with some great DTH recharge offerings, top-ups, and upgrades, the Indian viewer is the King today.
Multiple DTH players mean healthy competition, and an effort to give us the best.
New TRAI Rules
As of February 1, 2019, new rules by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) are put in place that replaces the older DTH recharge and channel subscription framework with a new unified framework. Now viewers can virtually make their channel packs paying for only those channels they want to watch. All DTH service providers have updated their channel prices.
To make channel selection easier, TRAI has launched a channel selector app that lets you, “optimize the selection of your choice and also inform you about the MRP (Maximum Retail Price) of your selection.” You can use the application to get an MRP estimation for the custom Channel Pack you create. You can access the TRAI Channel Selector App here.
Some terms you need to know:
FTA: Free-To-Air channels that you can watch for free
DRP: Distributor Retail Price (price you have to pay for a channel pack)
A la carte: Also called Pick-and-Pay, a la carte channels are subscribed individually
We’ve put together a list of the top DTH service providers in India so you find it easier to choose the one that suits your needs the best, whether it’s for a primary connection or for additional ones.
1. Airtel Digital TV
This brand was launched by Bharti Airtel in 2008 and soon became the best DTH service in India. Today Airtel has nearly 400 channels including several HD or High Definition channels.
Its subscriber base is a few million across India and that’s not surprising; thanks to its wide variety of channels covering entertainment, movies, lifestyle, education, lifestyle, sports and news to name a few categories.
It goes without saying that Airtel also has plenty of regional language channels in all of these categories.
In addition, Airtel allows its customers to record programs and also get multiple connections through one dish.
This multiple-connection facility is particularly beneficial when entire buildings or housing complexes subscribe to the same provider and get great discounts and customised packages.
Airtel has also launched its Android TV-based set-top box at an affordable price tag. This set-top box combines the best of more than 500 satellite channels, online content, internet and more.
Airtel Digital TV DTH packs and plans
Under the new TRAI rules, there are some free-to-air channels that every DTH service provider has to offer for free. Airtel has detailed its FTA Basic pack here. You can also pick from the DRP packs from here or check the a la carte channel prices here.
Know more about new Airtel Digital TV packs here.
DishTV was launched by Zee TV and is popular across the country.
This is the oldest DTH provider in India and still retains its position as a leading player with constant upgrades in technology and a wide range of channels appealing to a varied audience.
DishTV remains as best cheap DTH service provider India today and its economical packages have made it a favourite amongst the lower-income and middle-income households all over the country.
DishTV also has features like child lock, interactive TV, games, apart from the expansive range of channels in English, Hindi, and regional languages.
Like most of the other DTH service providers, Dish TV also has attractive combo packs, special deals and offers where customers get a bundle of channels at superb rates with plenty of freebies thrown in.
Dish TV DTH plans and packs
Dish TV was the first DTH operator to update its plans and packs according to the latest TRAI rules. Along with the comprehensive channel-wise listing of the pricing, Dish TV DTH also provides Curated Combo packs such as Hindi HD Value, Family English, Family Cricket, Telugu Value, Classic Tamil and more. Check out the complete list of Combo Packs here.
3. Tata Sky
A joint venture between the Tata Group and 20th Century Fox, Tata Sky is one of the best DTH service providers in India today.
The addition of HD channels only boosted its customer base and Tata Sky is known as a leader in the market for embracing the latest technology and launching relevant products, thus keeping its customers happy with the newest and the latest.
The home brand Tata Active channels offer content ranging from educational content for kids to cooking classes for grown-ups, dance classes, and lots more, offering their customers a bouquet of value-added services via these channels.
One of the biggest feathers in the Tata Sky cap is being the first to live telecast the first quarter-final of the FIFA World Cup 2014 in 4K UHD. Tata Sky was also the first to offer customers the facility to record, play and pause, and rewind live TV.
Tata Sky subscribers get access to a few hundred mainstream English and Hindi channels plus a wide assortment of regional language channels; making it appealing to Indians in every corner of the country.
There are competitively priced subscription packages with add-on packs for HD and SD channels.
Tata Sky DTH Plans and Packs
Tata Sky DTH is touted as the best dish TV in India for a reason. The service provider always has the best of viewers’ interest at heart. It shows in its new channel subscription model where you have the flexibility to pick genre-based DTH as per your convenience. Along with mandatory FTA Basic Pack, Tata Sky DTH also has a variety of regional packs, curated packs and premium Tata Sky Services packs. Alternatively, you have to freedom to choose Broadcaster Packs or pick individual channels.
Check out all Tata Sky DTH Plans here.
4. D2H (formerly Videocon D2H)
Customers can enjoy a huge selection of SD and HD channels with clear pictures and good clear sound thanks to the MPEG-4 technology that it uses.
The brand offers its customers varied subscription packages that focus on a category of channels with affordable add-ons to the main package that can cater to the entire family. The company boasts of 650 channels and services available all over the country giving it a wide and varied customer base.
The company offers four grades of set-top boxes, a variety of add on exclusive kids’ channels, big discounts on long term subscriptions and recharge, common antenna options for multiple connections, and lots more; giving its customers the chance to customise as much as possible.
D2h new DTH plans and packs
Although Videocon D2h has merged with Dish TV, it still maintains its DTH plans and packs. As per the TRAI rules, there is a segregated channel list along with broadcaster bouquets and a-la-carte, but the easiest to pick are the D2h combo packs. Check out D2h Combo Packs here.
5. Sun Direct
Sun Direct is the only regional player in the DTH industry and concentrates on South India.
It does offer mainstream English and Hindi channels but the main focus is on the South Indian language channels.
This Chennai based DTH company is a division of the Sun Network and was launched in 2007.
With their focus on South Indian channels, it is the best DTH provider and market leader in the region but has a smaller presence in the rest of the country.
The language-specific dish TV packages and prices are a major attraction for niche audiences and Sun Direct has captured a huge chunk of this market, all thanks to its focused products with more than 10 million subscribers.
Sun Direct DTH plans and packs
Sun Direct DTH offers SD+ and HD+ channel packs along with A la Carte subscriptions. Currently, you can choose between Sun Direct Curated Packs such as MY FTA, NCF 1, Tamil DPO and South DPO, Sun Direct Bouquet Packs that include English Jodi Pack, Hindi Jodi Pack, Kannada Jodi Pack and kids Jodi Pack among others, and at last, there are Broadcaster Bouquet Packs such as Tamil Prime HD, Sun Direct SD, and Kannada Prime SD. For more details check out Sun Direct DTH plans here.
6. DD Free Dish
The service has a limited range of channels. Subscribers pay a nominal installation and hardware cost at the beginning and there is no expense or monthly subscription amount that has to be paid thereafter.
Subscribers get to see a medley of national and regional Doordarshan channels and limited private channels.
The channels cover a variety of subjects including entertainment, news, sports, shopping, health, cinema, and music.
The biggest plus point for DD Free Dish is that apart from the very reasonable expense at the time of installation there are no further costs so viewers enjoy all the content broadcast absolutely free.
MAKING A CHOICE
Well, as we have covered the top 6 DTH providers in India, we would still like to tell you our favorite among these. The best DTH provider we believe is DishTV as of now. This is because of the variety of services they provide at pocket-friendly rates. With the highest number of subscribers, Dish TV gets our vote. And as the company says itself- when you get a DishTV STB, you get much more than just TV. So, what are you waiting for? Discover an entire box of channels and services with DishTV.
Now that we have laid out all the options for you, go ahead and take your pick!
Q. How to upgrade from SD DTH connection to HD?
Upgrading to HD DTH connection is easier than you think. All you have to do is to call your DTH operator on the toll-free number. However, you will be entitled to pay upgradation fee which is usually the cost of the HD Set-top Box.
Q. Can I connect my DTH set-top box to the desktop monitor?
Yes. If your DTH operator provides you with a set-top box that has an HDMI port (most do), then you can connect it to your computer monitor.
Q. Can I watch DTH recorded program on a laptop or PC?
Yes, only if your set-top box comes with an external recording feature that allows you to copy data to an external USB drive.
Q. Does HD Set-top box recording feature work with normal TV?
No. As the HD channels are broadcasted at 1080i resolution and the standard TV resolution is 480i, HD recorder won’t work with a normal TV.
Q. Does HD up-gradation cost include a channel package?
No. When you upgrade your DTH connection to HD, you only pay for the set-top box cost. For HD channels, you have to pay separately.