Monday, May 28, 2012

Set top box and DTH Set top box difference. Things to consider while buying Set top box in India

In India, after digitization, TV transmission is going change. This change in TV transmission will start from 1st July 2012 in 4 metro cities of India. With respect to this announcement, customers in India will have to choose either “Direct To Home (DTH) set top box” or “Cable set top box”. Of course It is customer who is going to get benefitted out of this change. However, I saw that, there are many people who are confused about this change and don’t know what are the important points to be considered before buying DTH or Cable set top box. Following are the few points I feel one should consider while going for purchase of Set Top Box in India. First of all let’s understand digitization.
What is Digitization of TV services –
TV signals are currently distributed in India in analog format as well as digital format. Most cable operators within country provides analog format TV services whereas all DTH operators provide digital format TV services. Digitization means that all household TV sets using cable services would receive digital TV signal through Set Top Box. As a part of digitization every cable operator will be legally bound to transmit digital signals, which can be received at subscribers home through set top box only.
Comparing DTH and Cable Service at high level-
At high level if we compare DTH and Cable set to box, then I will say DTH is better. Because, DTH receives signal directly from satellite and reach to the TV through Set top Box; hence the picture quality is extremely good. However, the primary requirement of DTH is, the sky should be clean else disturbance in signal is observed. Signal disruption is a common problem in rainy season in India. Also DTH is costly and few may not find suitable financially. Cable set top box is attached to TV using fiber wires and it is cheaper as compared to DTH service.
DTH providers in India are Dish, Airtel, Sun, Videocon whereas for cable connection in Mumbai, we have Hathway cable, In cable, DigiCable, Den Cable providers. All these DTH and cable providers work as per rules and regulations set by TRAI however, quality of services will vary depending on the company network capabilities.
Points to be noted while buying a Set Top Box –
1.     Set top box must be encrypted. This eases the addition and removal of channels in your package. To verify whether Set top Box is encrypted or not, take out the card and box should get off immediately.
2.     Set Top Box should have at least capacity of 500 channels. Hathway cable services provide 999 channels hence you can have more channels for your subscription.
3.     Set top Box should have subtitles facility for English, Marathi and other preferred languages.
4.     Set Top Box should be capable of reading Video Recording. Most of the channels today provide video recording and if your Set Top Box does not provide video recording read facility then there will be no benefit.
5.     After done with your TV watching, do not turn off Set Top Box. Instead keep it on STAND BY mode. Set Top Box keep receiving upgradations of their existing softwares. If your turn off the Set Top Box then software upgradation process stops and software upgradation process starts over from scratch when you turn on the Set Top Box.
6.     Make sure that Set Top Box supports Value Added Services.

Mathematics of Channels –
As per decision made by TRAI, in India, 100 free to air channels will be available only at 100 rupees plus applicable local taxes. All other around 500 private channels will be available only at 150 rupees plus applicable local taxes.

Value Added Services –
At the end, it is we, customers who are going to get excellent benefit out of digitization of TV services. Digitization will enable value added services such as video on demand, Games, Program Recording. So obviously out of competition every company will try to attract customers by providing more and more Value Added Services. This will help us to decide which Set Top Box one should buy.

HD Set Top Boxes – (High Definition Set Top Boxes) –
HD set top boxes is slowly triggering the Indian market share now. This enables the viewing of channels in HD. Today 19 channels are broadcasted in HD format in India. These channels perform separate shooting of programs to provide HD contents.

Set Top Box for 2 TV sets –
Two TV sets in one family is the latest trend getting captured all over India rapidly. So many people get confused in connecting one Set Top Box for two TV’s. Many times the service provider person gives two-way connection from the same Set Top box. However this is wrong decision as you will end up viewing same channel on both TV sets and you cannot have one channel on one TV and some different channel on another TV. Therefore best choice is to have two different Set Top Boxes.
Hope above information helps you in deciding your Set Top Box.
Happy Broadcasting!!!


  1. @satya prakash...

    Great info..Man...But i still dont understand the encryption stuff...

  2. I just wanna thank you for sharing your information and your site or blog this is simple but nice article I’ve ever seen.

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  5. Hi.
    One question, I tried to find answer for, from many sources...could not get....please help.
    hathway provides their own set top boxes, which are low grade SD boxes. Due to which some of the 720p channels are viewable/ available only at 480p (due to the sd set top box) to the consumers.
    My question is, whether a HD set top box brought from a local market will be able to read the Hathway smart card.
    If yew, kindly suggest a few makes along with model number if available.

  6. Good info.. about Set top box and DTH Set top box difference. Things to consider while buying Set top box in India

    what is digitization

  7. It was very interesting and informative. Thanks for sharing article.

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