Watching television hasn’t been the same again, ever since we got the ability to pause it on the go, and resume without missing a second of the Live programming.
Made possible by the Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) which the Direct To Home (DTH) companies started offering a couple of years back. However, last year, these devices got the HD capability, keeping in mind that most popular sports, GEC and movie channels have either gone HD, or planning to make the transition soon.
Two of the biggest players in the market, Dishtv and Tata Sky have their own HD DVR offerings. After speaking with a lot of customers, we got the feeling that a lot of confusion prevails about what the two services offer. Even more so - how is it different from a standard definition (SD) box or a simple HD set-top box.
In a nutshell, the DVRs allow you to record live television, for viewing at a later date. They have attached storage devices that store the content. With this storage space available, the service providers can also offer services like movie downloads and time-shift television - watch the previous 5 days programming of a particular channel.
To help you make a more informed decision, here is a comparison of the two services - what they offer, how much do they cost and where one has the advantage over the other.
Tata Sky HD
Dish TruHD with Recorder
Total channels & services on the platform
Original HD Channels
Quite clearly, the figures are in the favour of Dish TV here. However, for the sports lovers, Tata Sky HD makes more sense, since it offers ESPN HD and Star Cricket HD, while missing out on Ten HD (content combined from Ten Sports, Ten Cricket and Ten Action ). Dishtv doesn’t have the Star Asli HD channel bouquet - Star World HD, Star Movies HD, Star Gold HD, Star Plus HD, ESPN HD and Star Cricket HD, but responds with Colours HD, Ten HD, CNBC Prime HD, TravelXP HD, MTunes HD, Nat Geo Adventure HD and Nat Geo Adventure HD.
No. Tata Sky HD set-top box is separate from Tata Sky HD set-top box
Service compatible with existing HD STB
Yes. Works with any Dish TruHD set-top box via the USB port
Depends on whatever USB drive you choose. Max limit up to 2TB
Event based recording
Time based recording
Record in stand-by
Yes. 2 channels
No. 1 channel at a time
Yes. Record one channel and browse all other channels simultaneously. Record 2 channels simultaneously, but watch only either one of them
Record Surf Channels simultaneously
No. If you are recording a channel, you can only watch that. Changing the channel stops the recording.
With Tata Sky, you will need to buy an HD STB, irrespective of the one you have at the moment. However, Dishtv offers the convenience of upgrading your existing HD box, by activating the USB port on the STB and allowing recording to USB drives. You will however need to order and pay Rs 300 for a recorder remote.
Download videos & special programming
If the value added services like watching a 5 day old program (on certain channels at the moment) interests you, then, both offer a relatively similar feature set.
Rs 5940 1 month Supreme Sports Kids pack
Get on to the platform cost - one time (offline offers)
Rs 2690 1 month HD Royale pack
Rs 5715 1 month Grand Sports Pack
Get on to the platform cost - one time (online offers)
Rs 2290 1 month HD Royale pack 4GB USB drive
Dishtv has a clear advantage in terms of the cost up- front. However, if you look closely, you will notice that the Tata Sky hardware has a premium feel to it. Having said that, you do pay a premium for it.
Yes. But not for HD channels
Dhamaal Mix Pack @ Rs 175 (99 channels)
Monthly cost -basic channel package
HD World @ Rs 375 (265 channels)
Grand Sports @ Rs 380 (147 channels)
Monthly cost - top of the line channel package
HD Royale @ Rs 550 (310 channels)
Tata Sky offers packages at a lower entry cost, and has a setup that allows you to add Optional Packs based on genres. Dishtv offers a lot more channels on the platform, hence the package cost is more.