Direct-to-home (DTH) television is no longer just about digital picture quality. Companies are competing to offer more channels, games and attractive packages for subscribers.
Dish TV – regional programming
Zee’s Dish TV claims to transmit the maximum number of channels with 225 channels on offer. They have 12 transponders which means that they have the capacity to show over 400 channels. Dish TV is the only DTH provider which offers subscribers solutions for vehicles, ships, trains, airlines and computers, in addition to its direct-to-home service.
Dish TV’s vast regional content also makes it stand out. They have the widest and most in-depth regional content and offer eight language options. They also provide a movie-on-demand service for
regional languages.
Dish TV offers a free set top box with one year’s subscription. You get the set top box free by paying Rs 3,990 towards one year’s maxi subscription which is inclusive of installation and activation charges.


Prasar Bharati – no subscription fee
Prasar Bharati was launched in December 2004, making it the oldest DTH player in the market. It offers 20 radio channels while private stations offer only 10. Prasar Bharathi also has 50 television channels, and plans to extend the number to 100 soon.
All the channels are free which is why they have no subscription charges. They do not sell DTH boxes. They are available at various dealers priced between Rs 1,000 to Rs 3,000.


Tata Sky – interactive applications
Interactive applications are provided for all age groups. There are educational programmes for children.
Tata Sky offers a cooking channel which features cookery shows that are repeated through the day.
They also offer active darshan in which they feature live images of certain temples including the Shirdi Sai Baba temple, Siddhi Vinayak and Kashi Vishwanath.
Tata Sky has a tie up with and runs classifieds too.


Big TV – monthly customised packages
The latest entrant into the DTH market, Reliance’s Big TV claims that its 32 movie channels gives it an edge over other DTH services in the market.
They offer 32 movie channels, in addition to the 200 plus regular channels. Big TV also offers
subscribers the chance to watch 12 images at one time. Others have only four live channels which cover only news and sports. Big Tv include entertainment as well!
Big TV has also introduced special packages. For the South they have the Rs 1,990 package where 105 channels are free for one year. For just Rs 200 extra subscribers can get three additional sports channels. Subscribers can customise their packages every month,” he said.

DTH connections in India-
Prasar Bharati: 1.5 crore
Dish TV: 36 lakh
Tata Sky: 20 lakh
Sun Direct: 10 lakh
Big TV: no figures available yet (launched last week)

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