Dish TV costs Rs 3,190 and you get 75 channels free for three months, which does not include pay channels. If you want all the premium channels, which include the sports channels and stuff like Discovery Travel & Living or VH1, it will cost you Rs 350 a month. As of now, DishTV has more channels; it carries the Star bouquet (which isn’t free), and some other exclusive channels (including Manchester United TV and Chelsea TV). There are several methods you can use to settle your bill in both post-paid and prepaid options.
The DishTV remote allows you to play around with more settings but does not have an easy user-interface. Unlike regular TV, you can’t key in channel numbers on DTH systems because channels bear huge numbers.
DishTV offers Pay-Per-View movies over the weekend. You could watch Cinderella Man, adfree, for Rs 50 (debited from your pre-paid amount).
The DishTV system can support only two set-top boxes per dish.
Dish TV has tied-up with Buena Vista International Television Asia pacific (BVITV-AP) the distribution arm international of Walt Disney to provide Hollywood block-busters on its Movie-on –Demand service. The service gives Dish TV subscribers the opportunity to watch English movies from multiple shows of the chosen movie within 24 hours at Rs 50 per movie.
Tata Sky costs Rs 3,999 to install and currently offers only one package for Rs 200 a month (it only recently started offering Zee). Only after January will Tata-Sky announce a tiered package pricing. Tata sky will primarily use a pre-paid billing system similar to mobile phone wherein you will buy top-up cards for the service.
TataSky’s “showcase” Pay-Per-View is still a project in the works.
The third operator, DD Direct, the free-to-air DTH Operator, offers its customers 19 DD Channels and a few free-to-air channels like Sun TV, Star Utsav, MH 1, Jain TV, Akash Bangla, Kairali, BBC World, Zee Music, Aaj Tak, Headlines Today and a few others. A number of channels have left DD Direct recently after Prasar Bharti started demanding a carriage fee of one crore per year.DD Direct is available all over india except the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Mode of payments
Both DishTV and TataSky have come up with prepaid vouchers, both for new subscribers to activate their connections and existing subscribers to make their monthly payments. Interestingly, nowhere in the world do consumers pay for DTH with such pre-paid vouchers.
In the Indian context, a prepaid card has many logistical advantages. Most important, it enables subscribers in remote areas — where cable TV is yet to reach and where people may not be too easy with credit-cards, standing instructions to banks, cheques, drafts and so on — to pay their monthly DTH bill. “ In the cities,” says Vikram Mehra, head, consumer marketing, TataSky, “the pre-paid card could be used by people to pay for value-added services like movie-on-demand.”
The company has already started making them available through kirana stores, telecom outlets and even paan shops, reports Mehra. This is over and above the massive distribution network of 14,310 dealers in 3,500 cities, which TataSky has built up in the past two months for its set-top-boxes. Besides, it has offers — Rs 50 bonus on a Rs 1,000-card. Not to be left behind, DishTV too launched an ITZ-DishTV cobranded card three months ago.
It has also tied up with post offices in Chandigarh and other places for subscribers to pay through money orders, according to Anjali Malhotra, general manager, marketing.
DD Direct has one time payment which is less than Rs 3000 for the Set-Top-Box and antenna (exclusive of installation charges, no monthly subscription.)
The Delhi government is backing the DTH services by not imposing any entertainment tax on it. While it collects tax from cable operators, the newer technologies are exempted from the tax. This is seen as a step to promote DTH over cable network by some MSO’s.