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.
Apple launched the iPhone 5C and 5S at the relatively small press event on Tuesday 10th September 2013. Here is all you need to know about the new iPhones:
For the first time ever, Apple launched two new iPhones. The iPhone 5C (where the ‘C’ stands for color, and not ‘cheap’ that everyone was expecting) is a minor upgrade from the iPhone 5. Its specs are mostly similar with the iPhone 5 except for the following few things:
The iPhone 5C is, apparently, not the iPhone everyone was expecting. I am not sure why people expect things from Apple, given their insistence on secrecy. There were speculations that the iPhone 5C will be a cheap iPhone. And to a certain extent, they are true. If you look at the specs, you will find out that its actually better than the iPhone 5 in almost every regard (except that its a little heavy & a little bigger). And Apple is asking $99 for the 16GB model (with contract). Which is $100 cheaper than the current price of the iPhone 5. Unfortunately, its not as cheap as everyone was expecting it to be. But the other way to look at it is that its an upgrade of iPhone 5 at half the price. And with the various color choices available, it will surely be enticing for a lot of people.
The price for the unlocked 16GB model is $549 plus taxes.
The second phone (and the next flagship device) from Apple is the iPhone 5S. Continuing the tradition, iPhone 5S has upped its predecessor’s specs by leap folds. iPhone 5S is the first ever smartphone to have a 64 bit processor (A7) and operating system. This boosts up the performance of the phone to a whole new level. The phone also sports a new M7 processor which will be dedicated only for monitoring and processing the motion related data for the phone.
The big new feature in the 5S is the fingerprint sensor integrated in the home button. Touch ID, as Apple is calling it, will let you unlock your phone, buy stuff from the App Store & iTunes Store just by placing your finger on the home button. Not sure whether the support will be extended to third party apps to authenticate the user given the security concern, but Apple will need a way to figure out how to do it. And I believe that a team in Cupertino is trying to figure that out as you are reading this.
The phone also has an improved camera system with an innovative flash that has two LEDs. The camera is capable of creating a flash tone depending on the lighting condition of the scene you are capturing resulting in better quality pics with close to reality skin tones.
The iPhone 5S is priced starting at $199 for 16GB. $649 for the unlocked 16GB model.
There is no word yet on the India launch dates for these two models. However, judging by the aggressive marketing and promotion campaign Apple ran in India, we can safely assume that Apple has a very serious strategy for India. The pricing, however, is going to be a big challenge for them given the current downfall of the rupee against the dollar. It is reported that Apple is taking a hit on their margins by not increasing price of the iPhone 5 & 4S in India. I think it is critical for them to price the new iPhones in a range which is close to the current pricing of iPhone 5 & 4S. We will keep an eye on the India launch. Stay tuned for more info.
Radio cab service provider Meru has launched its iOS and Android apps to enable users to book their cabs anytime and anywhere. The apps offer features like live map view, ICE alert and push notifications to give users more control on their cab bookings.
The overall process of booking the cabs is same as that on web. You select a time, pick up location and drop location to submit your request. In a matter of seconds, the app will let you know if your booking has been accepted or not.
The best part about the apps is the ability to view the trip live on map. This will help you tell the driver the way to your home as you can see where the cab is in real time. You can also see the cab moving live in real time in the map view while sitting in the cab! Another great feature is the ability to specify emergency contact who can be automatically notified about the cab details as soon are you board it and start the trip. This can be used in case of emergencies.
If you have pets and you are unable to find quality accessories and food for them in your neighborhood market, log on to dogspot.in and fishspot.in to find almost everything you may need for your pets.
The two sites, operated by PetsGlam Services Pvt. Ltd offer a variety of food items and accessories for all your petting needs. The sites are also a good place to adopt a new pet. They ship to almost all the locations in the country and have tie ups with local pet clubs for various events in the community.
After running pilot project to make trains WiFi enabled, Indian Railways in planning a pilot project to offer free WiFi at the New Delhi railway Station – the busiest railway station in the country.
The plan is to offer free wifi to passengers on all the 16 platforms of the railway stations by the end of the year. Major airports in India already have free WiFi facility in partnership with major telecom companies in the country. It is not clear if the facility in NDLS will also have such an arrangement.
The major concern will be speed, given that there are a lot of people on a typical railway platform. Nonetheless, this move by Indian Railways is highly appreciated and we look forward to a successful implementation of the same.
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.
Do you hate the food served on Indian Railways? You are not alone. Majority of people do not like the food served in Indian Railways for a variety of reasons: Lack of options, bad taste or just simple hygiene. Whatever be your reason(s), you now have a choice. Travelkhana.com provides delivery service from local hotels and restaurants in the cities on your way to your seat when you train stops at the railway station.
TravelKhana has tied up with various vendors in major cities in India for the service. You can search using your train number or PNR and view the available options in the cities on your route. There is also a rating system which will help you decide which vendor to go for.
Once you place your oder, TravelKhana keeps a track of your train and co-ordinates with the restaurant to manage the delivery of your meal. So in case of delays, you still receive your meal when your train reaches the station.
TravelKhana accepts online payment as well as Cash on Delivery. However, there is a catch when you go with online payment. If, for some reason, you want to cancel your pre paid order, they charge you an administrative fee of 10% if you cancel before 24 hours of delivery and 25% when you cancel 1 hour before delivery. According to TravelKhana, this fee is levied as credit card companies charge them for each transaction. For this reason alone, we recommend you to go with cash on delivery instead of online payments. WIth the delays that Indian trains have to go through, it might be the most logical choice.
There is, however, a simple solution to this problem: Travelkhana should charge your card only when your food has been delivered. That way, if you cancel your order, there is no transaction needed as your card hasn’t been charged yet. This will work for at least all the credit card based transactions.
If you happen to give TravelKhana.com a try, do let us know your experience in the comments.
Apple is gearing up its marketing and promotion schemes in India. After a successful smartphone exchange program (which, like everything else, was copied by Samsung), Apple is now offering to trade your old tablet (including your old iPads) when you buy a new iPad in India.
Under the exchange program, customer will get a minimum of INR 4000 when they bring their old tablets. Additional value is given to old iPads over other tablets.
Here is what you can expect from your old tablet:
[via BGR India]
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.
A couple of days after launching the marketplace in India, Amazon.in has partnered will sellers to offer electronics for sale in India. The new categories introduced are mobiles, cameras & portable media players. There are a couple of sellers that are selling the latest gadgets in these categories and are also participating in the fulfilled by amazon program.
In addition, amazon is also selling their kindle e-book reader in India via Croma Retail. All the models of kindle (including Kindle Fire and paperwhite) which were previously not available in India are now being officially sold by Croma retail on amazon.in.
Amazon seems to be taking a very patient approach to enter a market already filled with a plethora of local players. It looks like they are taking their time to analyze the market, figure out the best strategy and then enter. It will be really interesting to see what changes they bring in this ecosystem in India.