I am looking to get rid of my old cable connection and go in for a DTH connection. The reasons are well known and I need not elaborate again!
So I did a review of all the available options:
- DD Direct Plus was not even considered.
- Zee Dish TV was ruled out after seeing the kind of reviews its getting here and on other sites (I can’t believe SRK is still associated with such a pathetic product!). That’s too bad because cost wise its channel packages are significantly cheaper than those of its competitors.
- Reliance Big TV was also ruled out because I don’t trust anything that comes from the Reliance stable (except their stocks, because they know how to make money for themselves and therefore for their shareholders)
- Sun Direct seems promising at an initial investment of only Rs. 499, but there too little information available about it. All that I know is from its website and even that confuses me because there are too many channel packages.
We have Tata Sky in our office cafeteria since a few years. It is very good in every way. The channels are very clear, the channel guide is very well designed (by NDS), informative and easy to navigate. It tells you clearly the current and future programs and timings and you can set reminders. The set-top box (STB) is simple and elegant with minimal buttons for the important functions. Even the remote is very well designed.
On the other hand, Airtel Digital TV is the newest entrant on the block. It comes packed with some revolutionary features like WorldSpace radio, a well designed universal remote, an equally snazzy STB, a larger dish antenna, and the Airtel Live feature that allows us to book movie tickets, watch live traffic conditions, watch movie on demand, has an online shopping cart, etc. Even here, the menus are nicely designed (by Infosys) and look cool. Click here to read my earlier review on Airtel Digital TV.
So what’s the problem?
Well, there’s a very basic problem! I went for a demo of Airtel Digital TV and I found that changing channels simply takes too long! It takes about 2-3 seconds for the channel to change once you press the Ch+ or Ch- key! Compare this with Tata Sky, where the channel changes in under 1 second, just as it would on a regular TV with good old cable.
I for one am very disappointed! But for this basic and very important issue, Airtel Digital TV would have been perfect! I seriously can’t believe that Airtel chose to launch a STB that has all sorts of fancy features but takes too long to change a channel! I mean, isn’t this what do you do most when you watch TV? What’s the use of all the other gimmicks when this basic problem exists? The overall experience is going to be bad!
I’m also surprised that none of the other reviewers of Airtel Digital TV have raised this issue. I’m sure they must have noticed it — it’s impossible to miss! I would love to hear their opinion on this.
P. S. The other issue is that Airtel’s DTH service is quite expensive, though unfortunately it looks like Tata Sky has surpassed them in this too! They must look at reducing their channel package prices. It would cost you around Rs. 370 to get all the English and Hindi channels available. The same would cost around Rs. 420 on Tata Sky. Both are heavily charging for the sports channels (Zee Sports is not available on Tata Sky).