The good old direct to home (DTH) connection isn’t exactly the enabler of just an idiot box anymore. It is perhaps an indication of self-awareness to be able to respond to even slightest hint of competition. Which in this case was from OTT services, including the likes of Netflix, Amazon Video, Hotstar, Voot, Sony Liv, Zee5 and more. Tata Sky has done just that. At a time when users may be switching from cable TV to streaming apps simply for the convenience, Tata Sky has decided to become the enabler of for that too. While keeping your conventional DTH connection in place. The Amazon Fire TV Stick – Tata Sky Edition drives what is called the Tata Sky Binge service. And this brings streaming apps and your Live TV together.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick – Tata Sky Edition is essentially a special version of the Amazon Fire TV Stick streaming device. Not to be confused with the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, this is a boosted version of the standard streaming stick. Preloaded on this are apps such as Amazon Video, Hotstar, Sun NXT, Hungama Play and Eros Now. There is also a Tata Sky Binge app which is preloaded on the Amazon Fire TV Stick – Tata Sky Edition. You do not pay separately for this piece of hardware, and it is bundled as a part of a fair usage policy when you sign up for Tata Sky Binge. What you pay instead is a monthly subscription of Rs 249.
What does this subscription cost get you? Tata Sky Binge is bundling the premium subscriptions for streaming services such as Hotstar, Eros Now, Hungama Play and SunNxt within the Tata Sky Binge subscription. You also get a limited time Amazon Prime subscription, which enables access to Amazon Video. This means that as a user, you don’t have to pay for separate subscriptions for each of these apps.
Setting this up doesn’t take too long. The Amazon Fire TV Stick – Tata Sky Edition connects to your TV’s HDMI port and then your Home Wi-Fi network. This is in no way linked with the physical set top box (STB), unlike a service that Dish TV offers called the DishSMRT Stick which is only compatible with the DishNXT HD STBs. Whether you have a Tata Sky SD, Tata Sky HD, Tata Sky+ HD or a Tata Sky 4K STB, that doesn’t matter—as long as your TV has an HDMI port, you are good to go. You can do the installation in literally a handful of minutes.
The familiar Amazon Fire TV interface is retained, and the navigation is quite simple as well. Your apps show up as large icons on the home screen, and there are a whole bunch of well-categorized content recommendations below it. the horizontal scrolling layout of the Fire TV interface is easy to get the hang of.
The cost advantage is very clear from the outset. 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. Add in the other subscriptions that Tata Sky Binge is bundling, and you realize that the Rs 249 per month is a genuinely good deal. 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. It is important to remember though, you get this additional service for as long as your Tata Sky account remains active. You cannot at any point stop recharging your DTH account or deactivate it and expect Tata Sky Binge to continue working. You will also need to return the Amazon Fire TV Stick – Tata Sky Edition if you decide to deactivate the subscription at some point.
It is not just the OTT streaming services, but Tata Sky Binge also allows access to the Video on Demand (VoD) library that lets you access the programs broadcast on certain channels in the past 7 days.
At present, Tata Sky Binge does not bundle subscriptions for Netflix, Voot and Zee5. Nothing says these won’t be added at a later date. However, since this is pretty much an Amazon Fire TV Stick in its heart and soul, you get full access to the app store allowing you to download these apps and sign in with your existing subscription credentials.
Whichever way you look at it, Tata Sky Binge is a genuine value addition to your existing Tata Sky subscription. If you also use streaming apps regularly, that is. The monthly subscription cost of Rs 249 per month pales in comparison to the money it saves you on individual premium subscriptions for Hotstar, Eros Now, Hungama Play and SunNxt services. Till the time Netflix isn’t on board, there will always be that feeling of the value-add being incomplete. But we can dream, can’t we?