TataSky has launched a new DVR Set Top Box which enables customers to transfer recorded content to their devices and to watch later anywhere. This technology is similar to what Comcast offers its customers in the US. Here is how it works:
Note that you will have to subscribe to a Transfer Pack to avail this feature. The transfer pack can be added to a maximum of two devices per subscriber ID.
The new set top box with connection costs INR 9300 which is very steep in our opinion. TataSky should introduce contact based pricing plans to reduce this entry price.
In a surprising move, TataSky has added 6 HD channels on its DTH platform taking the total HD channel count on the platform to 24. The new channels are Life OK HD, ZStudio HD, CNBC TV Prime HD, Sun HD, Gemini TV HD and Sony Six HD on channel numbers 108, 348, 512, 703, 749 and 420.
TataSky had been struggling with HD capacity in the past and seem to have overcome the technical restrictions limiting it from adding new HD channels on its platform. The operator also added India’s first 3D on demand movie channel showing movies like Avengers and Planes in 3D for customers having 3D capable TVs on 31st December 2013.
The addition of these 6 HD channels should also pacify many subscribers who had been upset with the operator’s last move, where it added 3 HD channels (Star World Premiere HD, HBO Defined & HBO Hits) under the specials category so as to avoid giving those channels as part of the Mega HD pack which promises all current and future HD channel availability. The new channels have been added as regular channels and should be available to the subscribers of the Mega HD packs.
It looks like TataSky is gearing up to launch live mobile TV streaming through it mobile app in India. Dish TV has already entered into this arena a few days back, however, users have to subscribe to a separate streaming pack in order to watch live TV on their mobile phones.
TataSky is running an advertisement on their home channel (channel number 100 on TataSky) which shows that the streaming service is coming soon on TataSky mobile. The TataSky mobile app for iOS is due for an update anyways as it is not working well with the latest iOS 7. TataSky might be planning to launch the streaming service with the next update. It is not clear whether subscribers will have to pay a separate fee than their current subscription or if the streaming plan will be part of their package.
Mobile streaming has not been much successful in India owing to poor data transfer speed from the mobile carriers. Even after the migration to 3G services, the speed and coverage is spotty and not suitable for data hungry apps. With mobile networks planning to move to next generate LTE based services, quality of such services will improve and users will be able to enjoy seamlessly.
Star India is launching a new channel called Star World Premiere in HD for the tech savvy generation in India which will air popular TV shows from USA at the same time they are aired there. This is a first of a kind initiative taken in India and will let users watch the latest shows at the same time with the rest of the world.
The channel will air 26 of America’s most popular TV shows in their current season.
Star World Premiere HD has confirmed in a tweet that the channel will be available on TataSky HD platform from 24th September 2013 onwards:
24th September onwards, Star World Premiere will be available on Tata Sky HD.
— Star World Premiere (@SWPremiere) September 20, 2013
This is a really good news for TataSky HD subscribers. Given the platform’s shortcomings in technical capability to beam a decent amount of HD channels in the extremely competitive HD DTH arena, this move is going to pacify a lot of frustrated subscribers.
TataSky is also making an investment of about INR 900 crores in order to replace all the old MPEG-2 set top boxes with MPEG-4 set top boxes free of cost for the customers. The move which will be completed by mid 2014 will enable TataSky to beam more than 300 channels up the current 230.
It looks like TataSky is leaving no stone unturned to free up valuable bandwidth on its platform. Due to delays from ISRO in providing the promised transponders, TataSky is loosing the edge in the highly competitive DTH market in India due to lack of HD channels on its platform. TataSky has the lowest number of HD channels out of all the DTH operators in India.
TataSky has tied up with Broadcom to provide them with MPEG4 based standard definition set top boxes which they are replacing free of cost for all of their old subscribers. These are the oldest boxes that subscribers purchased during initial years of DTH launch in India. All SD+, HD, HD+ & newer SD boxes are MPEG4 based. TataSky plans to replace around 5 – 6 million such boxes over a period of one year.
This move will free up a lot of bandwidth on TataSky’s existing transponders as MPEG4 technology takes up a lot less bandwidth than MPEG2 without much loss in quality.
It looks like TataSky has exhausted all polite means to get critical transponders it needs to stay competitive in the DTH ecosystem in India. As reported earlier, they are already maxed out on their capacity to beam HD channels in India and are trying out various methods like vertical polarity, SAT CR etc. to figure out a way to increase their capacity of carrying HD channels in India. But the truth is, with millions of installations already in place, it is next to impossible to implement a solution that will work for everyone.
TataSky’s CEO says that they requested for 12 transponders on ISRO’s GSAT 10 in 2007 and should have been allocated the transponders by 2009. However, GSAT 10 launch was delayed by 3 years (!) and even after several months of the satellite launch, they have not yet received the transponders [source].
This is a big goof up by state run ISRO and they are on the receiving end of the wrath of a lot of disappointed and irritated TataSky subscribers. We hope the issue is resolved soon and that TataSky can catch up to the other operators in the HD arena.
Infibeam.com is offering a free Apple TV with the purchase of an iPhone 5 16 GB. This is one of the best deals on Apple hardware we have seen in India. The price of iPhone 5 on Infibeam.com is INR 45,500. The offer is strangely only applicable on the 16 GB iPhone 5 variant.
Apple TV was launched in India a couple of weeks back after the launch of iTunes store in India. It offers HD movies on rent and for purchase with free storage in the cloud at very reasonable prices. You can also use it to access your music in the cloud and watch your photo stream photos on your large screen TV. Apple TV is also an amazing AirPlay device and supports AirPlay mirroring which enables you to mirror your iPhone’s, iPad’s or your Mac’s screen on your large screen TV.
The offer is only valid till the stock lasts. So hurry up! To get this deal, click here.
In order to enable broadcasting companies offer more channels in India, the Government has decided to allow transponder capacity hiring from foreign satellite operator for broadcasters facing shortage of transponders on Indian satellites. TataSky is one such operator which is facing shortage of transponder capacity due to which they are unable to launch more HD channels on their platform.
DTH companies in India are not allowed to hire transponder space from foreign satellite operators without government’s approval. This is causing old players like TataSky to fall short of high capacity transponders capable of carrying HD channels thus making it difficult for them to compete with the new operators which have new transponders with much higher capacity and higher number of HD channels on their platform.
India is amidst a HD revolution and moves like this by the government are welcome by the consumers. This move should heat up the competition in the arena and offer much more choice to the consumers.
Online music streaming service Saavn.com is about to launch its Pro service at the price of $3.99 a month. Pro users will be able to cache songs they want in their mobile apps for offline playback later. Saavn will also offer high quality 320kbps songs in the future to pro users.
Gaana.com has launched its mobile apps for all major platforms which let you stream unlimited music over 3G or WiFi. The apps have been developed by Times Internet and are available at the App Store, Google Play Store, and also for Blackberry, Nokia and Java based phones.
The iOS app offers a neat and simple player design which is pretty intuitive and smooth in operation. The player includes all the features from the gaana.com website such as playlists, search, music discovery, favorites etc.
The apps lets you enjoy gaana.com’s huge catalog on the go. The only thing we found missing in the iOS was AirPlay support in the app. Although you can beam the music to AirPlay devices at the system level by double pressing the home button and swiping left twice.
The apps put gaana.com neck to neck with their competitors like saavn and Dhingana. Hopefully the next round will be on the quality of the streaming audio.