Way back in the late 1990’s when the government of India was approached with the proposal to start DTH Services, it was rejected on the following grounds:-
- Its negative effect on the Indian culture
- There were concerns of national security
In 1997 when Indian Sky Broadcasting Company was ready to launch its DTH service in the country, the Government banned them from doing so.
Today there are about 6 major DTH operators in the country. The details are mentioned here with the market share of each of the operator as on 31.09.2017. The first 6 operators provide chargeable service with DTH recharge option for monthly renewals, six monthly renewals or yearly subscription.
- Dish TV with 24% market share. Owned by the Essel Group, it has 15.6 million paid subscribers till 2017.
- Tata Sky with an equal market share of 24%. Owned by Tata Sons, 21st Century Fox and Temasek Holdings, it has about 14.3 million paid subscribers.
- Airtel Digital TV (ADTV) with 21% market share. Owned by Bharti Airtel Limited this one has about 12.5 million subscriber base.
- Sun Direct, owned by Sun Network &Astro Group with 10% market share has about 6.2 million subscribers
- Reliance Digital TV (RDTV) with only 2% market share
- Videocon d2h, owned by Essel Group and the Videocon Group with 19% market share.
- There is also the DD Direct+ also called the DD Free Dish the subscriber base has not been considered in the report as it provides free-to-air-satellite service. It does not provide any HD channel. Operated by Prasar Bharati, this service provider has 22 million subscribers as per the last audited report from E&Y.
As on 22nd March 2018, Dish TV and Videocon d2h has merged thereby making the new company the largest DTH service provider in India as on date.
Between the existing service providers, Tata Sky is supposed to be offering the maximum number of HD channels on paid basis that are rechargeable by online DTH recharge method. Followed closely by Airtel, Sun Direct, Dish TV and Videocon d2h! Reliance has the minimum number of HD channels amongst the paid DTH service providers.
Some of the other interesting comparatives between the paid DTH providers are:
- Videocon d2h and Airtel Digital TV provide d2h 3d and Airtel movies channels respectively that telecast movies and programs in the 3D format.
- Tata Sky has 5 showcase HD channels that work on the pay-per-view format that telecast latest Hollywood and Bollywood movies in HD without DD sound
- Videocon has 2 latest video-on-demand HD channels that show latest Bollywood and Hollywood movies without DD sound.
- Tata Sky has also launched the QYOU HD channel at no extra costs for viewers to watch short videos from the internet (YouTube etc.) for television
With DTH service providers providing competitive & consistent service, better picture and sound clarity, increased number of channels, different channel packages, warranty and repair services, usage instructions and reminders, DTH recharge facility and good customer service support, they are onwards to a taking the Indian telecom sector by storm.