Here, we present a short comparison between Airtel digital TV and DishTV covering various aspects.
Airtel digital TV is the 5th paid DTH Operator in India managed by Bharti Telemedia, using the most advanced SD Transmission technology – MPEG-4 DVB-S2 powered by NDS, using the satellite INSAT -4CR located at 74 degrees East.
DishTV is India’s 1st DTH Operator managed by Essel Group, using MPEG-2 DVB-S technology, powered by Conax, using it’s own satellite i.e. NSS -6 at 95 degrees East and DD Direct+ satellite viz. INSAT -4A at 93.5 degrees East, due to being co-located.
Initial connection cost of Airtel digital TV starts with Rs. 1490 for online purchase and Rs. 1590 for market purchase which includes installation costs while DishTV’s new connections starts from Rs. 1690 +taxes. Airtel also has a Rs. 999 offer for Airtel Mobile/Broadband users where you get the STB with installation for just Rs. 999. Also, there are annual package offers where the STB is offered free of cost with new connections on advance payment of one year’s package charges at once.
Airtel digital TV offers STBs of various makes like Huawei, Homecast, Thomson though Huawei is the most popular currently while DishTV offers Zenega STBs. STBs of both the operators function almost equally well, though digital TV STBs are more advanced with MPEG-4 and DVB-S2 support which lacks in Zenega STBs. Also, the look and feel of digital TV STBs is quite better than DishTV STBs. Also, Airtel STBs have multiple LEDs indicating Power, Message, Remote activity, while DishTV STB has just a single LED to indicate power only.
Remotes of both the operators are square cut and simple ones though Airtel digital TV’s remote is of a better quality and have a better arrangement of buttons with a wider navigation pad than DishTV’s remote – this is beneficial for gaming. But functioning of both Remotes are almost equally well though. But main thing is that Airtel Remote is a universal one so you just need to hold a single remote to control your STB and major functions of your TV.
Airtel digital TV interface is basically a Black vs. Red glassy interface which looks really eye-catchy, particularly in LCDs. The various Menu options are clear cut with square cut n symmetrical look and are very easy to navigate. The mini-Guide is almost transparent with square cut strips, displaying date/time, programme details, Genre/rating. It also offers genre wise selection of channels. DishTV has a simple Deep Blue interface, with fairly easily navigable menu options. The mini-Guide is not appreciable though as it is fully opaque and offers just date n time, programme details and.
Logo of both are quite semi-transparent but placement of Airtel digital TV’s logo is much more personalised – somewhere in the bottom, somewhere in top, somewhere left, right and elsewhere a bit displaced from normal position so that it doesn’t affect your viewing at all. Whereas, DishTV’s logo is placed at the same right bottom corner, affecting scrolling text, in few News channels.
Picture quality of Airtel digitalTV is superb – more than True DVD quality and next only to BIG TV : color depth, sharpness, brightness, contrast – all aspects are almost perfect though sharpness is a bit odd in a few channels like 9XM, Star Gold and ZEE Cinema and a very few regional channels. DishTV’s picture quality was bad sometime ago but after a recent software upgrade, it has quite improved and now you can get a fairly standard quality of picture in most channels though in a few channels it’s a bit bad.
Sound quality of Airtel digitalTV is awesome and is the best among DTHs – crystal clear in each and every channel and is almost uniform across channels except B4U Music, where Audio level is quite low. DishTV’s Sound Quality is only fairly good and is quite non-uniform across channels.
Airtel digitalTV’s Signal reception is very good – during rain, normal black-outs happen for just a few minutes whereas in DishTV, Signal reception is not up to the mark and during rains, black out for some channels can be long – the main reason behind this being the use of two satellites viz. NSS -6 and INSAT -4B, by DishTV using same small dish. You got to have absolutely perfect alignment always, for DishTV in order to have good reception across all channels.
Well, if you analyze various packages of Airtel and DishTV carefully, you’ll find hardly any difference between the package costs. For example, all channels for North cost Rs. 364 in Airtel while it costs Rs. 353 in DishTV. The difference however comes in two ways: DishTV offers more channels and several Audio channels as compared to Airtel digitalTV in package(s) of the same price. Base pack of Airtel digitalTV – Rs. 127 while base pack of DishTV is Rs. 125. Channel line up of both are equally good though you’ll miss some good channels like ZEE Premier, Action, Classic & Discovery Science and Turbo in Airtel digitalTV while you’ll miss two major sports channels viz. NEO Sports and Cricket & TOPPER TV in DishTV.
Here we summarize the major advantages of the two DTHs over each other – Airtel digitalTV vs. DishTV:
Airtel digital TV’s advantages over DishTV:
- Airtel digitalTV has a better STB/ Universal Remote
- It has superb Audio/Video quality
- Airtel has much better and cheap Top-Ups for individual/couple channels
- Airtel has advanced guide features like Genre/Rating, genre wise channel selection, rating based channel blocking etc…
- There is full 7 Days EPG.
- There are regular sums/STB Message alerts regarding latest offers, schemes from digital TV
- PPV content in Airtel has more variety and content costs are very low.
- There is facility to view Programme Schedule via Mobile phone/Internet
Airtel digitalTV’s disadvantages in comparison to DishTV:
- All active services and 50% of games are paid
- Number of channels is quite less than DishTV
- Interactive contents are very few.
DishTV’s advantages over Airtel digitalTV:
- All Active Services/Games are absolutely free
- Number of channels offered is much, particularly due to co-location of DD Direct+ satellite with DishTV’s satellite
- Co-location of DishTV and DD Direct+ has one nice advantage: Any channel added in DD Direct+ is automatically added to DishTV’s offering.
- There are lots of interactive services in DishTV.
- There are special channels in DishTV which show offers/schemes from time to time.
DishTV’s disadvantages in comparison to Airtel digitalTV:
- DishTV’s STB/Remote is not very advanced.
- Audio/Video quality is low
- Top-Ups are few and variety is too low though they are cheap.
- EPG is fore 3 Days and not available at all for DD Direct+’s channels.
- PPV content doesn’t have much variety and is costly, sometimes double of what Airtel charges.
Basically, it depends on the user to choose what he needs and then give the final verdict before choosing a DTH but in general. If you want lots of channels/services at a bit cheaper price but can compromise with Audio/Video quality, go for DishTV and if you want to experience a Truly Digital Audio/Video environment but are ready to pay a few more rupees per month and can compromise a bit with no. if channels, go for Airtel digital TV. In short, if you prefer Quantity, go for DishTV and if you prefer Quality, go for Airtel digital TV.
Written by A Mohapatra