Direct to home (DTH) service provider Tata Sky’s latest service is called Binge, and this is a rather unique add-on for its DTH subscribers. This new service will allow Tata Sky users to, in addition to Live TV, also access over-the-top (OTT) streaming apps such as Hotstar, Sun NXT and Hungama Play. This service is priced at Rs 249 per month and includes the premium subscriptions for these streaming services. In fact, it is this which makes this a real value addition, if you also subscribe to streaming apps.
The Tata Sky Binge service comes as a result of Tata Sky’s partnership with Amazon. In India, Amazon sells the Fire TV Stick, which is an extremely slick option for anyone who wants to access OTT streaming apps on their TV and is either stuck with a TV that isn’t ‘smart’ or the interface and apps aren’t intuitive to use. The Fire TV Stick can be bought separately for Rs 3,999 onwards. However, the Tata Sky Binge service brings with it an Amazon Fire TV Stick – Tata Sky Edition. This links with your Tata Sky subscriber account and connects with your TV via an HDMI port.
You do not pay anything extra for the Amazon Fire TV Stick – Tata Sky Edition device. You pay Rs 249 per month for the Binge service, and that includes premium subscriptions for Amazon Video, Hotstar, Sun NXT, Hungama Play and Eros Now apps. The cost advantage is very clear either way. For instance, the Hotstar Premium is priced at Rs 299 per month (or Rs 999 per year) and the Eros Now Premium costs Rs 99 per month or Rs 950 per year. These are just two examples, and this already feels like a steal deal. Incidentally, the Amazon Prime subscription is also bundled with the Tata Sky Binge for a period of three months, and you will be charged at Rs 129 per month post that if you wish to continue.
If these are the video streaming apps that you regularly access, this could actually turn out to be quite cost effective. And since you will pay for all this via just one Tata Sky subscription, for your TV and Binge services, the convenience also cannot be ignored.
At present, Netflix, Voot and Zee5, for instance, are not available on Tata Sky Binge, so that is something you’ll have to consider. However, you can very much install these apps on the Amazon Fire TV Stick – Tata Sky Edition and sign in with their existing subscriptions to continue using these apps as well.
The link to Live TV remains too witH Tata Sky Binge. Subscribers will also be able to access the Tata Sky Video on Demand (VoD) library with more than 5,000 titles ready for access, and also revisit and watch TV shows broadcast anytime in the past seven days.
The Amazon FireTV Stick – Tata Sky Edition will plug directly into the HDMI port on your TV, and it doesn’t matter which set top box (STB) you may be using at the time. Tata Sky offers four STBs at the moment—a standard definition box, a high definition box, a HD PVR which allows you to pause and record Live TV and a 4K STB.
Tata Sky’s rival Dish TV recently announced the DishSMRT Stick for the DishNXT HD set top box customers. The DishSMRT Stick is priced at Rs 599 with a free preview of six months bundled with the price and currently offers Hungama Play, Zee5 and Sony Liv, with the confirmation that Voot and AltBalaji apps will be added to the platform soon. The DishSMRT Stick connects with Wi-Fi directly and plugs into the DishNXT HD STB. However, you will have to sign in with your separate subscriptions for these apps—whether you are on the free tier or are paying for a premium subscription.
Cord cutting has well and truly arrived in India, and that is surely worrying the DTH players. Users are looking for switch away from the restrictions of conventional Live TV, and the streaming apps such as Amazon Video, Hotstar, Netflix, Voot, Sony Liv and so on are the biggest gainers in this switch of viewing preferences. Tata Sky, and Dish TV before that, are making an attempt to bring together best of both worlds, and hope that these value addition mean users retain their Live TV subscriptions as well, for a bit longer at least.