For the past one month I have been looking into each and every forum, trying to find which is better for an average Chennaite like me. In most of the forums,they talk from a view of quality or customer support. I have been living in Chennai and I feel the sun's cable service is not bad. Though they were the ones to bring about the CAS by pressurizing the then BJP Government. Even when CAS was suspended in the rest of the country after the initial failure, Chennai was the only place that continued to have CAS.
I was the most grieved person back then. The STB prices in the town were hanging around 3000-4000 Rs/-. Even the alternatives at the time, TATA SKY and DISH TV were at the same range. For a middle class person in India, its around 60% of the cost of a 21" TV.
At first I regretted the government's decision for bringing CAS. I lost most of my favorite sports channels and movie channels. I was not in a financial position for going for either the STB or DTH. I had to wait and have waited till now.
Now I have got the green signal for buying any of the one. I had to do a lot of groundwork and i believe my options between the two is equally confusing for me to decide.
Both are around same price:-
Sun Dth:- Rs 1100( for 2 months free usage) / Rs 1999( for one year usage)
SCV STB:- Rs 700(Set top Box + Smart Card) + activation charges for channels chosen
To start with, as far as I know from the forums that I have read, its not that bad as they say it is. Its at its sibling stage and is sure expected to kick off at a rapid pace, once the agreement with all the channels have been finalized. As of now, they offer anywhere between 75 and 90 channels.
The problems I think that may creep up is with their available transponders. They have till date 6 transponders on INSAT 4B(each transponder is capable of handling around 20-25 channels). This means they will be able to broadcast nearly upto 160 channels. They are already some less viewed channels on their boutique like Angel TV, Amritha TV and lot more, which I believe will be utilizing otherwise useful transponder space that might be utilized by other channels to be added in the future.
Let me explain what this has to do. So maximum channel space left for Star, Sony, Zee, NEO and ESPNSTAR on Sun direct is around 70 - 90 channels. Star and Sony packages add up to around 50 channels. And Zee alone has around 30 channels. Sky network is also expected to start their service in India very soon. Therefore Sun will be suffering lack of transponder space. They have not officially released their package list yet.
The Number of Transponders of other DTH Players:-
TATASKY = 10
DISHTV = 8-10
RELIANCE BIGTV = booked 8 in INSAT 4CR launched last year(replacement for the failed INSAT 4C in 2006).
This could be a big problem for sun in the future.
Anyone living in chennai would know tht government has also started its Arasu Cable Corp. If anyone gets the belief that SCV is giving away the STB at throw away prices, BEWARE!!!!!
SCV had ordered thousands and thousands of STBs when CAS was first commisioned. They have not been able to sell not even half of it till date. They want to completely sell of their stocks to the Customer as quickly as possible, before the local cable operators jump to Arasu Cable Corp.
Even you can notice in SURYAN FM channel, where the advertisement is placed, that only participating operators can avail the offer.
I recently called up the Arasu cable corps office to find whether they will be able to support the STBs given by SCV. They gave a plain reply "NO". So for whom is buying this set top box useful?
For those who have confirmed with their cable operators that they are not jumping to the other side. For the rest................. Be patient till Arasu takes over.
From the list of channels offered, however SCV easily scores over Sun DTH. And the quality is even better than that of the DTH in certain areas.
So finally its up to the customer to decide which one to go for. I personally have decided to go for the DTH. Its slightly a dangerous decision as Sun might not add the channels. But I believe the Marans are not paying more than 7 Million dollars for the transponder rent, not to bring in the big players.
The war between the cable and the space will soon reach new heights.
Benefiting in both the situations : Customers.