Did you know, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has a new smartphone app that lets you select channels you want to see on your Cable TV or direct to home (DTH) connection and attempts to optimize the subscription costs for you. This way, you can save some money on your monthly TV subscription bills, and it guides you to the best possible ala-carte and channel bouquet options depending on the channels you have selected to watch. This app is meant to be a unifying experience that covers multiple MSO cable TV and DTH operators, including Tata Sky, Airtel Digital TV, DishTV, D2h, Hathway Digital, Siti Networks, Asianet and InDigital. It is expected that more Cable TV operators will be added to this list, in the coming weeks and months. The TRAI Channel Selector app is now available on the Google Play Store for Android phones and the App Store for the Apple iPhone and is free to download.
You start by selecting your cable or DTH operator, and then validate your subscription by punching in the subscription ID and the registered mobile number. It has to be an active subscription else you'll not be able to go to the next step. You get an OTP at this stage to verify that it is actually you who wants to modify your cable TV and DTH channel packs. You get a snapshot of the current subscription, the channels, the bouquets and the cost. You can add more channels as desired from the list of channels that your Cable TV or DTH operator offers at that time. At this point, if there are any optimizations that you can avail—such as perhaps going for a bouquet instead of ala-carte channels at the same or lower cost—are offered up here.
It was early last year that TRAI had implemented the new tariff order which dictated the pricing of channels and bouquets on cable TV and DTH services. The underlying theme since then has been that a lot of users have complained about their subscription costs going up. Incidentally, TRAI had a version of the channel selector running on the website since early last year. At this time, most DTH companies and cable TV service providers offer their own apps which allow similar functionality as well—selecting channels, adding or dropping channels and bouquets and optimizing subscription costs based on selected channels.
It was in August last year that TRAI asked all Distributed Platform Operators (DPOs) to share the APIs with them for this app. TRAI insists that users face difficulties when using the portals or apps of individual operators while managing their subscription.