HOME > BUSINESS > Airtel Digital increases HD channels to take on Tata Sky

Airtel Digital increases HD channels to take on Tata Sky

Airtel Digital is expanding HD line-up

Airtel 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 was launched last year and new transponders were made available to Airtel earlier this year.

Over the last several days, the DTH provider has added around 10 high-definition channels and more are expected to be added shortly.

Among the new HD channels added to Airtel are TLC, Times Now, Animal Planet, Zee Talkies, Zee Bangla and Zee Marathi.

With the latest additions, it has now tied with Tata Sky and Sun Direct as the platform that offers the highest number of HD English movie channels in India. All three now offer 10 Hollywood movie channels.

The expansion has also helped the company boost its non-movie English offerings by bringing onboard Animal Planet, TLC etc. In the his regard, the platform now offers as wide a selection in this regard as Sun Direct and Tata Sky.

BACK TO NO. 2

With the latest additions, the total number of HD channels on the platform has gone up from 55 to 65, and the company has re-emerged as the No. 2 operator in this segment beating Sun Direct and Dish TV.

It was, at one time, the No. 1 HD operator in the country with the highest number of such channels, but was forced to surrender its leadership due to paucity of spectrum.

Even with the newly added channels, it is still behind Tata Sky, which has 75 HD offerings. However, the gap is likely to close fast in coming days.

TOP THREE

As far as the English language market is concerned, Airtel’s expansion has further opened up the gap between the top three — Sun Direct, Airtel and Tata Sky — and the others — Dish TV, Videocon D2h and Reliance Big TV.

Dish TV, which has as much capacity as the others, is now clearly behind the top three in terms of channel count in the English market.

In the English segment, Dish TV offers only seven movie channels and six entertainment channels in the HD segment and is ranked No. 4 — compared to ten movie channels and seven entertainment channels on Sun Direct, which is ranked No. 3.

SPECTRUM PLAY

DTH operators, like mobile operators, are dependent on availability of spectrum, and in this matter, no other operator has been as lucky as Tata Sky — which partly explains its HD leadership.

The operator was using a modest 12 transponders on INSAT-4A satellite which was launched in 2005 and supposed to reach end of life in 2017.

To replace the satellite when it dies, ISRO sent up GSAT-10, and gave 12 transponders on the same to Tata Sky.

However, INSAT 4A is still going strong, with the result that Tata Sky now has around 23 transponders at its location.

None of its competitors has anything comparable.

For example, Airtel Digital was operating with just 11 transponders on SES-7 satellite till last year.

Given that a single transponder can only transmit 12 to 14 high definition channels or about 40 standard definition channels, the company could not take on Tata Sky in terms of the sheer number of channels.

As a result, it was offering only around 55 HD channels despite being a pioneer in the segment.

However, it got some timely help from its satellite provider SES last year as it launched a new satellite — SES-9 — last year with lots of capacity.

Thanks to an extra three transponders (108 MHz) of capacity on the new satellite, Airtel is again able to add new HD channels.

At 3 MHz per channel, the extra 108 MHz is enough for the company to add 36 HD channels — taking the total to 90 such channels.

SUN DIRECT

Similarly, Sun Direct too has seen a pick-up in the spectrum available to it, though it is not as dramatic as in case of Tata Sky or Airtel Digital.

The Chennai-based operator was working with just eight transponders, including three shared with Reliance Big TV, till last year.

This year, it was able to get three more transponders, which helped it add 42 new HD channels to its platform and take its total high-definition line-up to 55.

DISH TV

Another potential competitor is Dish TV, which is using 12 transponders on the NSS-6 satellite to transmit its standard definition channels.

Since it could not get enough capacity on the same channel for its HD offerings, it was forced to go to a nearby satellite Asiasat 5 to take on six (4 x 1.5) extra transponders,

This gave it enough capacity to launch 84 HD channels.

However, it has been rather slow in taking advantage of the extra capacity. As of last year, the company was offering only around 60 HD channels, and has recently increased it to 65. Most of the new additions are in non-English languages.

STANDARD DEFINITION

Dish TV has also leased 5 new transponders on India’s new GSAT-15 satellite, which was the same one that was used by Sun Direct for its HD services. However, this will be used for transmitting more standard definition channels.

Since Dish TV uses the older MPEG-2 technology for its standard definition service, it requires about twice as much spectrum as other operators.

As a result, it could carry only around 240 channels on its 12 transponders, while others would have been able to carry 350-400 channels. With the extra five transponders acquired on GSAT 15, it has now been able to increase its capacity to 340 standard definition channels — more or less matching what the others offer.

Moreover, Dish TV will get 15 transponders — or about 540 MHz — after its acquisition of Videocon D2h is completed. It is, however, not clear whether the company will try to divert this spectrum for Dish TV, as doing so will require about 10 mln dish antennas in India to be re-aligned.

Follow ULTRA.news
News Corp buys Bangalore-based media software firm GyanMatrix Rupert Murdoch's News Corp announced yet another acquisition in India with the agreement to purchase Bangalore-based GyanMatrix Services Private Limited.P Hariharan, founder GyanMatrixThe company, which provides software solutions for media and publishing companies, will...
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...
Times Group introduces ‘exclusive’ content online for subscribers Times Group, India's largest media group, has taken a step towards what may eventually be a paid model for online news by introducing 'exclusive' content for registered users.For now, registration and membership is free. Users can sign in using their Facebook or Google ID...
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...
DB Corp launches Hind daily Dainik Bhaskar in Surat DB Corp has launched its Dainik Bhaskar Hindi daily in Surat, eyeing a large-Hindi speaking population in the city.The company said there are around 28 lakh Hindi speakers in Surat, the diamond capital of India."Our intensive on-ground study revealed exciting prospects ...
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 ...
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 e...
Kerala Police file FIR against journalists after sting goes awry Mangalam TV CEO Ajithkumar apologizes for misrepresenting sting opKerala Police have filed a first information report against the head and eight members of the 'investigation team' of a newly launched TV channel for a botched up sting operation targeting a minister.The F...
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...
Reliance Jio Impact: Online Advertising rates decline in India in November 4G operator Reliance Jio's trial services, which started in earnest about three months ago, has disrupted the online ad industry by massively increasing the total inventory without a commensurate increase in ad budgets.INTERNET EXPLODESToday, Reliance Jio has 50 mln u...
Sorry, Reliance Jio is NOT launching DTH In what is becoming something of a routine, yet another rumor has been spread that Reliance Jio is about to start a DTH service and you will be able to get all the channels at half the price that you currently pay.According to this, 350 TV channels will be offered at Rs 185 p...
Youtuber blows whistle on paid gadget news and reviews in India Youtuber Gaurav Chaudhary, who goes by the name of Technical Guruji, has set off a minor storm in the gadget reviewer circles by accusing many of his peers of passing on paid reviews for the real thing.Chaudhary dons the mantle of the whistleblower and warns his fellow review...
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...