DTH operators unleash HD price war in India


DTH operators in India had planned to start HD transmissions ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth games. However, in order to milk the FIFA fever, they launched their HD services in a hurry. As a result, the pricing and plans are not made clear to the customer. We will try our best to simplify things.

Currently, the following DTH operators are offering HD services in India:

Price for new customers Freebies for new customers Price for existing customers Freebies for existing customers HD channels available (price) Remarks
INR 2599 Free installation + 2 months of HD Gold pack, Super Value English Special Pack, Lifestyle Gold Pack & ESPN Star Sports Pack INR 2599 Free installation + 1 year of HD Gold pack National Geographic HD and Discovery HD (INR 30 per month) FIFA 2010 & Wimbledon available in HD.
Dish TV
INR 2990 2 months of Platinum packs & HD pack INR 2990 2 months of Platinum pack & HD pack + INR 400 cash back under exchange of old STB in working condition National Geographic HD, Discovery HD, Zee Cinema HD, Zee TV HD (INR 100 per month) FIFA 2010 & Wimbledon available in HD,
Installation charges INR 200 extra
Airtel dtgital TV HD
INR 2940 onwards Check this page Not Available Not Available National Geographic HD  (INR 15 per month) FIFA 2010 & Wimbledon available in HD
Sun Direct HD
INR 2940 Free installation + 2 months subscription Not Available Not Available National Geographic HD, Discovery HD, Colors HD (INR 35 pm), Sun TV HD (INR 35 pm) FIFA 2010 finale in HD, price only valid till 12 July 2010
Big TV
INR 7490 onwards Check this page INR 5990 Check this page National Geographic HD Superior DVR STB with pause, record and rewind for live TV

As you can see, not all operators have HD content as of now. Note that Dish TV and Sun Direct have the most number of HD channels. However, other operators will also soon be offering all HD channels as, according to a certain rule by TRAI, no DTH operator is allowed to exclusively broadcast any channel.

Also keep in mind that the Hindi HD channels are probably up-scaled from their SD content. So their quality might appear slightly lower than the actual HD channels (Nat Geo HD and Discovery HD).

As the HD set top boxes have already been competitively priced (thanks to TataSky), their prices are probably not going down in the near future. However, Indian consumers are extremely price conscious when it comes to monthly subscription price, hence, stiff competition in HD subscription price is expected once there are substantial number of HD subscribers. Then again, majority of Indian consumers are also not quality conscious, so many might not care about HD when they are satisfied with SD, therefore, it might take some time to reach that “substantial” subscriber base.

It will be interesting to see how the price war shapes up. Also, most operators are yet to launch HD PVR set top boxes (already launched by Big TV) which might induce another round of pricing war.

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2 Responses to this post

  1. Gurdeep says:

    Nice article ! Very informative.

  2. […] previously declared that they will be launching HD services ahead of Commonwealth games and almost all the operators have their HD set top boxes for sale in the metro […]

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