We have a Tata Sky DTH connection in our office cafeteria since a few years. It is very good in every way. I have never seen it down at any point of time. I also have several friends who are using Tata Sky and all of them are very happy with the service. Most of them never even had to face any technical issues though they had used it for over a year.
Recently, I also opted for Tata Sky and even for me the installation process went very smoothly. I got a call the very next morning after buying the kit (as promised by the dealer) and the technician asked me when they can come for the installation. A while later, I got an SMS confirmation with the time of installation (as confirmed by me) and the phone number of the technician. The technicians came before time and completed the installation in a very professional manner. I am very happy with the installation process and system performance.
Here are some of the positives and negatives I have noticed in the short time that I have used Tata Sky:
– Channels are very clear but in MPEG2 format (by contrast, some of the newer players like Airtel Digital TV and Reliance Digital TV use MPEG4 format). UPDATE: Tata Sky has now converted their entire system to MPEG4 and replaced all older MPEG2 Set Top Boxes.
– Channel Guide is very well designed, informative and easy to navigate. It tells you clearly the current and future programs and timings and you can set reminders. This is the major difference between Tata Sky and the rest of the lot. The user interface has been designed by a professional company (NDS) and has given priority to ease of use and elegant simplicity.
– Set-Top Box (STB) is simple and elegant with minimal buttons for the important functions. The slot for the subscriber’s smart card has a flip cover that keeps it shielded.
– One disadvantage is that there are no radio channels. Airtel Digital TV scores here by providing WorldSpace channels for free.
– Remote is bad! The remote of Airtel Digital TV is far, far better in comparison! This remote is very large and uncomfortable to hold, since it doesn’t fit into the palm easily. However, one good thing is that the keys are big and the important buttons are distinguishable from the rest as they are blue in color, which will be useful for the elderly users. (UPDATE: This has been fixed recently, the newer remotes are smaller in size.)
– As mentioned, the installation process is smooth and the technicians usually turn up on time, unlike some other DTH providers who really harass their customers initially while setting up the system.
– Packages are a tad expensive, but not as much as Airtel Digital TV. I think it’s better to pay a bit more for a hassle-free experience, than to go with the cheapest option (Dish TV) and suffer! UPDATE: Tata Sky packages nowadays are by far the most expensive of the lot!
– Known to be trouble-free during operation. I haven’t heard of too many complaints against it, though many people I know are using it.
– Payment for recharge can be done online on their website (via credit/debit card or netbanking) or through auto debit (ECS). Payment via cheques is also accepted. Online recharge is very easy, quick and hassle-free, and you get the confirmation on your STB within minutes.
All in all, under the present circumstances, I think it’s best to go with Tata Sky. Not to say that it’s perfect — far from it! But of all the DTH service providers, I think Tata Sky is the safest bet. I just wish they would lower their package rates and make them more reasonable! Also, they need to lower the prices of their Tata Sky Plus service, as it seems quite overpriced.