If you are looking to buy a new Tata Sky connection or upgrade to an HD set top box (STB, this may just be a good time to do it. Tata Sky is bunding a free Amazon Fire TV Stick – Tata Sky Edition with every new High Definition (HD) set-top box. This means that with every new HD STB and connection or an upgrade, Tata Sky is bundling the Amazon Fire TV Stick – Tata Sky Edition at no extra cost, which is otherwise priced at Rs 3,999. And with it, you get bundled subscriptions to a lot of music streaming services as well, including Hotstar Premium, Eros Now, Zee5, Hungama Play and SunNxt.
Tata Sky Binge, priced at Rs 249 per month, is bundling the premium subscriptions for streaming services such as Hotstar Premium, Eros Now, Zee5, Hungama Play and SunNxt. You also get a limited time Amazon Prime subscription, which enables access to Amazon Video streaming. This means that as a user, you don’t have to pay for separate subscriptions for each of these apps. What is not bundled with Tata Sky Binge at the moment is Netflix, but the app is available on the Amazon Fire TV Stick – Tata Sky Edition and you can use a separate subscription to access that as well. The cost advantage is very clear from the outset. For instance, the Hotstar Premium plan is priced at Rs 299 per month (or Rs 999 per year) and 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.
The way this works is that you buy a new Tata Sky HD connection or upgrade your existing to a new STB, with prices for the new connection starting at Rs 1,499 onwards, depending on which channel package you buy as a bundle. This means you will get a new Tata Sky HD STB installed at your home, and you will also get the new Amazon Fire TV Stick – Tata Sky Edition with it. This is a critical element of the add-on service called Tata Sky Binge.
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), and will work with any TV that has an HDMI port—most HD TVs have this, so it shouldn’t be a problem. 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 direct to home (DTH) operators in India are still fighting a pitched battle to attract new customers, including those who may be looking to switch from their existing DTH service. While subscription package tariffs are one part of the entire exercise, there is the very genuine requirement now to bundle value-adds that bolt on to the regular TV viewing experience. At present, Tata Sky is competing with Airtel Digital TV, Dish TV and d2h in the DTH space in India, also in the face of challenges posed by video streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Video and Hotstar. If you cannot beat them, join them.