I still remember it was around 2009-10 when I kept asking my mom to drop the cable TV connection and choose Tata Sky or Dish TV. That was just and an unconventional choice but a difficult one considering our residential society would not allow installation of the dish because they feared water leakage. However, we got it somehow.
That choice was driven by four main reasons.
- Tata Sky packages were costing around Rs.250 which was considerably less compared to Rs.330 for cable connection.
- Secondly, DTH, especially Tata Sky, clearly offered better picture and audio quality than the cable operator could even promise to provide
- Third, Tata Sky was way more stable on rainy days compared to cable.
- And lastly, the Tata Sky customer care was praised by all existing users at that time while cable operators remained inaccessible when you actually needed them.
Coming to 2020… The situation has turned dramatically. The DTH which felt pocket-friendly and modern in 2010 seems to have become obsolete and unreasonably expensive. The rise of OTT platforms, better accessibility of the internet and devices such as Amazon Fire TV Stick have made many people, including myself, ask whether I should still put my money on DTH. As my Tata Sky recharge ended in March 2020, I decided to discontinue it. And I am not regretting that to date:
Here are 5 key points why I did what I did:
- Packages: The recent hike in DTH prices have pushed it much higher than the previous rates. The Tata Sky package which cost me Rs.300 a month in 2018 suddenly cost me Rs.430-450 a month by the end of 2019. This pushed my annual expenditure on Tata Sky to more than Rs.5000 which made extraordinarily little sense. Even the annual subscriptions of YouTube Premium, Netflix, Hotstar, Zee5, Sony LIV & Voot Select cost me less than that of Tata Sky’s similar package.
- Quality and Quantity of content: The biggest disappointment with Tata Sky was the lack of HD channels with the existing package. Tata Sky HD costs additional not just for a setup box but we need to pay additionally for HD channels above the normal package. I don’t have to burden myself with all these expenditures with Amazon firestick. Also, thanks to the wide range of content choices we have when it comes to OTT platforms, we are not forced to watch what a channel would telecast at a given time. From YouTube to Netflix and from Voot to Hotstar… OTT is way ahead of traditional TV channels in terms of content.
- Ease of Use: That is a default advantage with online streaming services which DTH & cable TV clearly doesn’t have. I am someone who never gets time to watch any show when they are being telecasted. OTT apps allow me to watch series, movies, and serial episodes when I want to watch. That’s where you feel that the money you’ve spent isn’t gone wasted. Another advantage of an OTT is that you can watch your favorite series or movie on the go. You don’t need to spend hours sitting in front of a screen to catch your favorite show.
- Multiscreen Experience: The biggest advantage of streaming services is that your single subscription can be utilized by all the family members on their devices like phones and laptops. This is where DTH was bad, again. Tata Sky charges almost 50% of your package amount if you want to get a connection on the second TV under the same roof.
- Maintenance: It may not be everyone’s case, but it happened with me. I had to change my Tata Sky set up box four times between 2016 to 2019. The set-up-box would deny the smart card after every few months and the engineer would suggest changing the box. It was a wasteful expenditure of Rs.500 to Rs.800 every time. It was annoying after a point but hey, what choice do you have? On the other hand, Amazon Fire TV Stick caused a problem once and Amazon set an entirely new kit at no extra cost even after the warranty period. Secondly, moving the Tata Sky connection from one place to another is a huge task. That includes the whole exercise of uninstalling and reinstalling which obviously costs more bucks. On the other end, you can carry Amazon Fire Stick even in your pocket.
To sum it up, let’s deal with the fact that DTH is losing its relevance with every passing month. The rise of OTT platforms and streaming devices and smart TV or smartphones has been so quick that the gap is widening at a very quick pace. Even with services like Tata Sky Binge or Airtel Xtream box, the set-top box is not a feasible gadget any longer. Coming to OTT platforms and streaming devices only, they are getting better and less expensive. They are becoming more mainstream with TV and movie celebrities’ arrival with far better content.