Bharti Airtel announced on Monday that it is expanding its Xstream entertainment platform by offering two hardware products - the Airtel Xstream Stick and the Airtel Xstream Box. The announcement came just days ahead of Reliance Jio Fiber broadband service launch that will bundle subscriptions to video streaming platforms as well as offer Jio users the Priority service and a lot more. While most media publications are comparing Airtel’s new offering with Jio’s upcoming services, it is notable that both of them are quite different.
What Airtel is offering are just two devices for users to get access to streaming services. The Xstream Stick is priced at Rs 3,999 and comes with Chromecast built-in, runs a 1.6GHz processor, and will allow access to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video as well as the Google Play Store. The Xstream Box is an Android 9.0 based hybrid box that melds together the direct to home (DTH) services as well as the streaming apps in one package. The Airtel Xstream Box is priced at Rs 3,999 and bundles one-year worth of all-access subscription to the Xstream content worth Rs 999. Airtel is also offering a one-month HD subscription as well. If you are an Airtel Platinum or Airtel Gold customer, you will be able to get complimentary access to all content while other Airtel users will have to pay Rs 999 per year to get all-access pass.
Now comparing the two devices with Jio Fiber doesn’t make a lot of sense and Jio is offering multiple services through a single device. Airtel’s offering, on the other hand, is equivalent to just a streaming box where you can install apps, and watch content using Google’s Android platform. Jio will be offering an extensive package where consumers will get free broadband with the set-top-box, free voice calling all over India, TV video calling and video conferencing facility, a smart home connectivity platform, a dedicated gaming service, AR and VR capabilities, subscription to all streaming apps and more.
Clearly, the two are completely different segments are what Airtel is offering is part of a larger service that Reliance Jio is aiming at. It will be interesting to see how Reliance will price its service when it officially rolls it out on September 5.
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