The direct to home (DTH) industry is currently going through the same competitive phase that we have seen with the mobile industry for a while now. Ever since the new TRAI guidelines for subscription and pricing became applicable earlier this year, DTH companies including Tata Sky, Dish TV, D2H and Airtel Digital TV have been in a constant battle to make their pricing as affordable as possible for consumers. The latest move has been made by Tata Sky, which has slashed the prices of set top boxes in a bid to lure new consumers. Tata Sky at present offers four types of STBs which new buyers can choose from.
The Tata Sky SD set top is now priced upwards of Rs 1,499. This is in comparison to the earlier price of Rs 2,000 onwards, depending on which channel package you selected with the new connection. If you have an High Definition TV, you can choose the Tata Sky HD STB, which is now priced Rs 1,699 onwards. This is a discount from the earlier price of Rs 2,200 though it is important to note that Tata Sky did offer this HD STB for a while at a price of Rs 1,500. Then there is the higher spec Tata Sky+ HD box, which enables you to pause Live TV, record up to as many as three channels simultaneously and more. This is still priced at Rs 9,300. Last but not least is the Tata Sky 4K STB, which costs Rs 6,400 as before—though the lack of any 4K content in terms of 4K channels is a huge stumbling block.
The other big change is that Tata Sky will now, for the first time, put the STBs up for sale on offline retail stores. So far, you could only order a new Tata Sky connection via the company directly—and the installation team would bring the STB at the time your connection was to be installed. This will now mean easier availability of the new STBs for someone who wants a new Tata Sky connection, and also the option to actually see the boxes in person before selecting one.
This is just another attempt by DTH companies to try and prevent the churn of existing customers and the loss of potential new customers to over-the-top (OTT) streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Video, Hotstar, Voot, Sony Liv and Zee5, to name a few. Recently, Tata Sky has unveiled the Amazon Fire TV Stick – Tata Sky Edition, which bundles the premium subscription for Amazon Prime, Hotstar and Hungama for instance, for a price of Rs 249 with your existing Tata Sky subscription.