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Alternatives to Airtel Digital TV?

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This summarizes my current angst at Airtel Digital TV as of end May 2012 and hopefully by end August I should have moved to a new service provider


  • Price - We started out with a Rs 330/month service that over 2.5 years has now begun to cost over Rs 400. For someone who doesn't watch the soap operacrap and watches <1 hour of TV daily - this is expensive. Unlike my bank, they don't have the common courtesy of letting me know.

    What do I watch? The occasional news, the occasional Sony TV, some movie channels (esp HBO/STAR MOVIES etc), some infotainment channels. There has to be a cheaper way.

  • Responsiveness - This has been a grouse from day one. ADTV simply lags in all
    operations. No matter what you do.
  • Terrible User Interface - Airtel has always clearly focused on upselling its services and highlighting its ads - user experience be damned. It has always made "Airtel live" the default menu option. Like really? How many users use Airtel Live? Dudes, we bought the DTH to watch TV, not pay for more crap services. Now they make it even worse and slower with the latest update:
    - Channels is now the 3rd option. 1st is Airtel Live, then "Reminders". Jesus wasnt the primary purpose to watch a TV?
    - Even within Channels, Entertainment is now the 3rd option after Airtel Movies (PPV) and HD (which 90% of India doesn't have)! Wow. Talk of making UI consumer-focused.
    - List views of channels do not have a page up/down option as it had earlier!
    - Its slower so scrolling to your desired channel is a pain
  • Bad quality - My original STB's card reader interface packed up within 12 months. But the warranty was 6 months. Or some such thing. To their credit, the service was only rs 500. After 3 years of limited service, the remote has had buttons packing up!

what is the cheapest option in the market that works simply out of the box, but is responsive and quick for the consumer - is not an upselling machine.


I'd like to know too!
TataSky has been on a similar spree. Adding to the injury, they've stopped airing channels that made me switch to it from Airtel in the first place.

Did you know Airtel upgrades your "pack" prices annually but if you want the new channels added to the pack, you need to place a separate "upgrade" request? (FOC but still).

The consensus is somewhere between TS and Videocon on a replacement though.

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Story | by Dr. Radut