HOME > CONSUMER > With new tech, Sun Direct launches India’s cheapest HD packs

With new tech, Sun Direct launches India’s cheapest HD packs

Sun Direct, the DTH service from Sun Network, has unveiled three new HD subscription plans that make it the cheapest provider of HD TV services in India.

The plans are priced at Rs 51, 101 and 150, including taxes.

The cheapest pack provides 23 HD channels — with the exact composition depending on the language chosen by the subscriber.

The 101 rupee pack offers 45 HD channels and the Rs 150 pack includes all 55 HD channels currently available on the service.

Sun Direct used to have only a dozen HD channels beamed from a single INSAT 4B transponder till early this year, but has since added many more after it got an extra three transponders on India’s new GSAT-15 satellite.

As a result, Sun Direct — whose core audience is in South India — is now more or less at par with Airtel Digital TV and second only to Tata Sky in its collection of non-Hindi HD channels.

CHEAPEST  IN INDIA

However, what sets the company apart is not just the collection of its channels, but also the way in which adopts new technology to cut costs and prices.

It was the first to introduce MPEG4 technology in India, and was able to reduce its satellite costs by using the high-compression standard.

It is now doing something similar with its HD service as well by introducing the next standard in line to cut costs.

Not surprisingly, it has unveiled aggressive tariffs for its HD service that make them the cheapest in India.

For Rs 150 including tax, a subscriber can get 55 HD channels including practically all the HD English movie channels, English entertainment channels and infotainment channels available in India.

The pack also includes seven HD sports channels. The only big misses in the line-up are Star Sports HD3 and HD4.

With the new packs, Sun Direct has replaced Dish TV as the cheapest option for those looking for non-Hindi HD broadcast content in India. Prior to this, Dish TV’s 56 HD channels for Rs 220 was the most affordable.

Besides the price, the key difference between DishTV’s bouquet and that of Sun Direct is language composition.

Dish TV’s Rs 220 pack includes a large number of North Indian HD channels, while Sun TV’s offer includes comparatively more English and South Indian HD channels. Dish TV has also leased two transponders on GSAT 15.

As for the other operators, charges for HD packs are far higher than either of these operators.

To get all the HD channels offered by Sun Direct in its Rs 150 pack, a subscriber on other platforms will have to pay between Rs 550-900 per month due to the way the packs are structured.

On Sun TV, they have to pay Rs 250 for the basic pack and Rs 150 for the ‘Ultra HD’ pack.

To take an example of the competition, Airtel Digital offers only 24 HD channels in its top-of-the-line ‘Jackpot’ package that costs Rs 1,890 for three months, going by the data available on its website.

Its biggest HD addon, ‘Max HD’ with 35 channels, is priced at Rs 225. It is not clear whether that includes taxes or not.

Some like Tata Sky even require the user to buy the standard definition version of a channel to get access to the HD version.

FURTHER EXPANSION

According to what distributors are telling Ultra News, Sun Direct is planning to further increase its HD portfolio by adding many more channels, but after a brief interval to refresh its legacy HD boxes.

At present, it is beaming its HD channels from four transponders located on ISRO’s newly launched GSAT-15 satellite. At 14 HD channels per transponder, that works out to a carrying capacity of 56 HD channels.

Further expansion of HD channels will take place when the broadcaster switches its broadcasting standard from MPEG4 (also known as H.264) to HEVC or H.265 for its HD users.

Such a move will free up 40-45% of the capacity being currently used for HD transmission, and each transponder will then be able to carry 24 HD channels instead of the current 14.

Between all four transponders, the total number of channels that will be carried by Sun Direct will reach 96 — a record in India and about 26% higher than what Tata Sky, the current No.1 provides.

COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

This will be a key advantage for Sun Direct HD as none of the HD set-top-boxes sold by its competitors incorporate this standard.

In other words, the competitors are more or less locked out of the option of switching to HEVC codec due to the lack of support in their boxes.

It is only when they start expanding their 4K services — expected sometime 2019 — that these operators are seen seeding HEVC-enabled boxes.

At present, therefore, Sun Direct will enjoy a unique advantage thanks to its delayed start in the HD space.

Paradoxically, the delayed start of HD services is in turn is the result of a misfortune — a power failure on board the INSAT 4B in 2010, which knocked out several transponders used by Sun Direct. This prevented the company from expanding its HD service till early this year, about five years after its rivals started expanding HD services.

However,  due to the delayed start, the Chennai-based DTH provider has been able to incorporate HEVC technology into all its HD boxes. Only a small number of HD boxes — sold before the current expansion — remain without support for HEVC.

These legacy HD boxes will be replaced with the new ones once the supply of the new, HEVC boxes stabilize. At present, all new boxes are being used to add new HD customers.

Even after the migration, non-HD users will continue to be on MPEG4 technology.

Follow ULTRA.news
Sony loses IPL rights to Star India Star India, part of Rupert Murdoch's media empire, has won the rights to broadcast Indian Premier League matches for the next five years, edging out Sony India.The company bid Rs 16,347 cr for the privilege, edging out other groups such as Discovery. This comes to about Rs 3...
Dish TV slashes HD channel price to Rs 20 from Rs 50 Dish TV, one of India's biggest DTH operators, has slashed the rates of HD and standard-definition channels to Rs 17 and Rs 8.50 each, plus a tax of 18%.Together, the cost of a single HD channel would come to around Rs 20 and that for a regular channel will come to Rs 10....
Republic TV’s 5-star Facebook ratings disappear mysteriously Tens of thousands of five-star ratings given to Arnab Goswami's Republic TV mysteriously disappeared over night, pushing the rating on the channel's official page to a low of 2.1 stars out of 5.0.It is not clear why the ratings were removed.Over the last three days, the c...
Pantel’s Vijender Singh buys Den Snapdeal home shopping channel Den Networks said it sold its home shopping channel to Pimex Broadcast Private Limited based in Noida.Den entered the business under a joint venture with Jasper Infotech, the holding company of e-commerce firm Snapdeal.com, two years ago."The name of DEN and Snap deal wi...
Sun TV could benefit from RCom’s financial troubles Newer equipment from Reliance Digital TV come with Chois HD 4K brandingSun Direct, the DTH arm of Sun TV, could end up benefiting from the financial troubles faced by Anil Ambani Group's Reliance Communications.Speaking to media yesterday, Reliance Communications top hon...
FTV starts seven free 4K UHD channels over India Fashion TV has kicked off the 4K revolution in India by starting to transmit seven Ultra-HD television channels into the country and surrounding regions.These are the first free 4K channels that can be accessed from India easily.Each frame in a UHD video contains 8 mln do...
After Zee Entertainment, Sun TV slashes channel prices ahead of TRAI rules After Zee Entertainment, it is the turn of Sun TV to slash its channel prices with effect from Sept 1 in anticipation of the implementation of new channel pricing rules by TRAI.The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had, three months ago, announced that media companies...
Tata Sky to add five more HD channels to take total to 86 Tata Sky, the Indian DTH operator with the highest amount of spectrum and channels, will add five more HD channels to take the total high-definition offerings on the platform to 86.GSAT 15The new channels being added tomorrow are DSports, MTV HD+, Surya (Malayalam), Uday...
Zee Entertainment slashes channel prices ahead of TRAI regulation Zee's new tariff card for HD channelsZee Entertainment, one of the four big broadcasting groups of India, has become the first player to bring its channel prices in line with an upcoming regulation issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.Zee's new tariff card...
Airtel Digital increases HD channels to take on Tata Sky Airtel Digital is expanding HD line-upAirtel Digital has bounced back into reckoning in fast growing high-definition DTH market by adding capacity from the newly launched SES-9 satellite and could emerge a strong challenger to Tata Sky in coming days.The SES-9 satellite ...
Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV launching this weekend Republic TV, the English-language television channel headed by journalist Arnab Goswami will go on air on several cable and DTH platforms in India starting Friday evening.Official confirmation came from Dish TV, India's oldest DTH platform, which confirmed that the channel wi...
Republic TV will be nationalist, pro-military & global – Arnab Goswami Arnab Goswami announcing a Q&A on RedditRepublic TV, the upcoming news channel, will be staunchly nationalist and pro-military, and will attempt to bring back 'balance' into a media dominated by a small set of academics and intellectuals in the capital, going by the comm...
Tata Sky starts testing Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV, launch tomorrow? Arnab Goswami's Republic TV's is reported to be readying for its launch next week, with DTH operator Tata Sky starting test transmission of the channel.The channel is expected to carry the number 616, and be officially available from 10 PM on Friday, May 5.UPDATE: The cha...
Arnab Goswami teases the launch of Republic TV A videograb from the 'teaser'Arnab Goswami, arguably the most talked about Indian journalist in recent years, has released a teaser video on the upcoming launch of his new television channel Republic TV.The video shows Goswami writing a letter to Mr Gandhi -- perhaps a r...
Working Reliance Jio ‘DTH’ video uploaded by Gujarat-based test user the video of the so-called Jio DTHA video of a working Reliance Jio 'DTH' TV has been leaked by a Gujarat-based Youtube user, even as Airtel unveiled its own 'Internet TV' today.The Youtube user demonstrates a working set-top-box, complete with HD channels and various ot...
Airtel Digital launches first-of-its-kind Android set-top-box with advanced features Airtel Digital TV launched what it called India’s first hybrid set-top-box with built-in Android and a host of advanced gaming and Internet functions at a price of Rs 4999.Customers can also get one year of free subscription by paying Rs 3,000 extra.It will be availab...
Govt moves to block ABS Free Dish DTH service ABS 2A is the company's latest satelliteGovernment of India has moved to block the signals of ABS Free Dish, a free DTH service in India, but questions remain as to how practical the move is."Ministry of Home Affairs mentioned that the transmission of DTH service by ABS ...
Dish TV slashes basic pack rate to Rs 33/month to take on DD Free Dish Dish TV, India's oldest DTH operator, has unveiled an offer that is by the far the cheapest from any private operator in India.Under the new 'DishTV Non-Stop Offer', the company is offering a clutch of free-to-air channels to its subscribers for three years in return for a ...
New TRAI rules to hit Zee Entertaiment, Star, Sony and Sun TV The regulator's new rules on the pricing of television channels in India, which will come into effect in six months, will reduce the clout of big broadcasting companies such as Zee Entertainment Enterprises, Sony, Star India and Sun TV, while encouraging smaller media owners....
New TRAI rules to make HD channels cheaper by 70%, HD access fee illegal New rules on the pricing of television channels are likely to make the viewing of HD and sports channels in India cheaper and make charges such as 'HD Access Fee' totally illegal.The rules were issued on Friday and will come into effect within six months of it being published...
Den Networks to introduce 4K, gaming box this year Den Networks, one of India's top three cable companies, is planning to introduce4K services and 'open' set-top-boxes with gaming support this year, CEO S N Sharma said."We definitely are aware that 4K is also around the corner and the box development is already in progres...
With 90 HD channels, Sun Direct set to overtake Tata Sky as No.1 HD DTH player Some of the HD channels avaiilable in India on DTH platformsSun Direct,  the DTH arm of Sun TV Network, could soon emerge as the No. 1 provider of HD TV channels in India, according to a distributor privy to the company's plans.The DTH operator has recently acquired seve...
Sun Direct overtakes Dish TV, Videocon D2h in HD movie channels in English Sun Direct's 40 HD Channels as of 5/2/2017Sun Direct, the DTH operator from the Sun TV group, has added several new High Definition channels over the last several days, and has now overtaken rivals Dish TV and Videocon D2h in terms of the number of English movie channels on ...
Is Reliance Jio DTH launching today? No, say sources It was supposed to destroy the competition and unleash a new era in TV watching, but Reliance Jio's DTH service has so far failed to turn up on the rumored launch date of Dec 15.As we had predicted last month, the company had no plans of launching any DTH service, and did not...
RCom to rebrand Reliance Digital TV as Chois HD? Anil Ambani group's Reliance Digital DTH may be rebranded to 'Chois HD', according to a twitter user, who also tweeted some photographs of the upcoming brand.Reliance Communications' Reliance Digital is arguably the weakest candidate among the five private companies that co...