Jio’s Gigafiber Box, built on Android, will support some apps

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Jio Box

Jio Box, the heart of the new GigaFiber service from Reliance Jio, is built on Android TV operating system and will support some third party apps, according to sources.

However, it is not clear whether the box will support all apps that run on Android TV operating system and whether it will come with Google Play Store or not. Play Store apps will not be allowed on the Jio Box and customers will not be able to install all Android TV apps.

Only those apps that have a tie-up with Reliance Jio are likely to will be available for installation on Jio Box.

This means that many of the popular apps, particularly international services like Netflix and Amazon, may not be available on the Jio App store initially.

According to sources, Jio TV Box will come with a heavily customized Android TV operating system.

Jio has been asking app companies such as Amazon, Netflix, Zee5, Hotstar and so on whether they are interested in having their apps made available on the box.

While the exact details are not available, it is believed that app makers have to agree to Jio’s terms and conditions — including any potential revenue share — if their app is to find a place on Jio TV Box.

This could be tricky territory for many app companies, particularly international firms like Netflix and Amazon, as they do not like to work with TV and set-top-box makers who try to extract monthly payments from them.

UPDATE: The company gave some details about the box at the annual general meeting today.

The box comes with a camera, and supports “almost all” gaming controllers. It will also come with certain content apps built-in, and charges for watching content from these apps will be payable to Jio Fiber, and not separately to the content app owner.

Each Jio Fiber subscription plan will include subscription charges for all or some of these preloaded apps. Total monthly subscription charges will start at Rs 700.

Jio also said the box will support traditional cable TV networks, and existing digital cable TV signals can be fed into the box. Using the box remote, a user can watch TV channels from the existing cable network, or use the built-in JioTV app to watch TV channels using the app directly.

Jio apps such as JioTV and JioCinema come bundled with the connection, and the box will offer ‘infinite amount of premium content’ in the form of videos, movies, music and so on.

The box will also support VR headsets, which will be available “soon” at an “extremely affordable price”, the company said.

The Jio Box will also come with low-latency, real-time gaming with participants from across the country, as well as come with Jio’s VR-enhanced educational and shopping software.

MORE DETAILS

They prefer to deal with ‘regular’ TV and set-top-box makers who allow all Google Play Store apps to be installed on their TVs and set-top-boxes without demanding any monetary compensation. Google does not demand revenue share for apps listed on the Play Store. To watch these apps, customers will most probably have to buy Android TV boxes that cost between Rs 2,000 to Rs 4,000 (see below).

Android 9.0 Box

Nevertheless, several Indian apps are learnt to have agreed to Jio’s terms and conditions, and the box will come with a selection of such apps that users can install according to their choice.

The box will also support Jio’s own apps — JioTV, JioCinema and so on.

It will also come with time-shift TV for those channels where the broadcaster has given permission for the feature.

In other words, some channels do not support time-shift TV on the box, as the owners of these channels have not given Jio the requisite permission, according to sources.

MORE DETAILS

CHEAPER NICHE CHANNELS

Another interesting feature of the Jio Box will be the availability of some niche TV channels at prices that are lower than that of regular cable TV.

Most niche and premium channels are priced at Rs 22.42 per month on regular cable TV.

However, on Jio Box, some of these channels will be available at far lower prices as they will be delivered via the JioTV app.

According to TRAI’s new tariff order, the prices declared by channel owners (Rs 22.42 in this case) is applicable only for regular cable TV and not in cases where the content is delivered via internet protocol and consumed via apps.

In fact, many premium channels that cost Rs 22.42 per month on cable and DTH are already available free of charge on Jio’s mobile TV app.

Given that many of these channels will continue to be available on the Jio Box version of JioTV app, consumers are likely to watch these channels on the app rather than activate them on their cable/GigaFiber connection.

As reported earlier, GigaFiber — whose details are to be revealed in one hour at the annual general meeting of Reliance Industries — is likely to come with 200 GB of data and free basic cable TV for Rs 500 per month.

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