Why I haven’t shifted to DTH (Dish TV) yet

When Supreme Court forced Star to let Dish TV India carry its channels, DTH suddenly became a practical option for me.

But, despite having been at the receiving end of my local cable-wallah‘s tantrums, I haven’t switched to DTH yet. Here is why.

DTH isn’t nice to you if you have multiple TVs in the house. I have two, and both TVs are never on at the same time. Poor services or not, local cable guy is considerate enough to give substantial discount for additional TVs in the house.

But with Dish TV or TataSky, you have to pay a lot more. You are looking at no discounts for extra satellite box and channel subscriptions.

Yes, I know that when CAS gets here, I will be made to shell out money for an extra set top box for my second TV. But I am hopeful of discounts on channel subscriptions.

The other reason is an unexpected one. DTH subscription plans seem way too expensive. Cable guys, by way of cheating (they under report subscriber numbers) or whatever, have made us used to paying rather low amounts for all you-can-eat style subscriptions. When I consider DishTV, I have to pay almost double for my multilingual home that watches Hindi, English as well as Kannada channels.

TataSky does have a deal on that goes – all channels for Rs 200. But that is only introductory, and does not include any of Zee channels right now.

Digital Program Guide, DVD quality pictures, Hard Disk based recorders, stereo sound and on-demand movie channels that will only get better – these things will eventually make me switch to DTH. But I am willing to wait and watch. Because I know the local entrepreneurs (cable-wallahs) aren’t going to let DishTV and TataSky just run with their subscribers. Competition like this is always good for the consumer and I am waiting.

[Update (Sep 30)]: Found a review of DishTV by Prashanth, right here on wordpress.

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37 Responses

  1. I am also waiting for broadband internet option from the dish wallahs. Not that I am using any cable wallah’s internet service.
    And of course I wait for the dish wallahs to cut the costs below cable wallah’s service – my contention is when technology improves costs should also come down. If costs are going up then maybe it is not new or better technology.

  2. Since I moved last week, I did consider going for DTH rather than cable. But ultimately went with cable for pretty much the reasons you have listed. Dish seemed too expensive, Tata doesn’t have all the channels (or atleast their sales reps weren’t sure about HBO, Cartoon Network etc), but most importantly no discount for multiple tv connections. I also found Dish TV support pathetic – I sent an sms to the number I found on a billboard, I got back messages with menu options. One of the options asked me to send the PIN code to get the dealer numbers, I did and got back 2 numbers. One of them was out of service and the other guy seemed least interested in selling. He said his office is under renovation, so I can go to his house in Konanakunte if I want to see a demo. Could he install a demo piece in my place so I could see if it works with the internal cabling already done? (He expressed some doubts that it may not work, so). No, it can’t be done. Strange. Worst part is, for a day after that, I contiued to be bombarded by auto-generated messages.

  3. Scarlet, broadband internet from dish guys? I didn’t know that was coming our way. I think DSL (BSNL, Reliance) is here to stay. BTW, I heard broadband from these cable guys is a very bad option for cust service will be pathetic.

    Mohan – I think 6 more months and DTH/Cable guys will fight and pull down the prices. I have seen Dish though, good quality video. And it works with internal cabling already done. Just connect Dish outside the house, and connect the receiver to an internal outlet.

    Now that TataSky is here, DishTV service will only get better.

  4. Broadband from dish wallahs ! I use it to scare away dish salesmen. Just pushing the tech envelope.

  5. I had bad experience with Dish TV too. Their sales representatives are very junior (probably hired on cheap rates) and hence do not have the skills to please customers. Though they are far better than local cable operators, it still doesnt justify their rates. ;)

  6. Amit, actually, what I have heard from friends is this. Dish guys are right now only interested in selling. Once you are a customer, post-sales services are horrible. I think right now DishTV employees/resellers are incentivized only to add new customers. This should change with arrival of TataSky now, because DishTV has got to learn to retain customers as well!

    I will advise this. Dont lock yourself up in any annual schemes right now. Best is to wait a few more months before you go Dish.

  7. one very very important thing is your settop box is not interswitchable between different DTH operators…the same decsion between GSM and CDMA…

  8. I could guess, but didn’t know that for sure. So Rs 3000 box will be a waste if you switch your DTH provider.

  9. I have taken DTH but I not happy with the service compare with our local cable wallah. Many times the picture doesn’t display then I required to shake the dish. If I call DTH dealer they say they will send but they never turned up.

  10. Satish – that fits in the general impression that their post sales services are not good. They know you cant just dump them and switch because you have paid 3000 for the box.

    I think govt should make it mandatory for these cable boxes to be ‘reusable’ across DTH providers. Then, the threat of ‘switching’ will make these guys listen to you. Like it happens for GSM mobile service providers – as Srimathi pointed out.

  11. 1. DTH set-top boxes are interoperable
    2.U dont have to buy the box, just go in for one of many schemes like pay subscription in advance and equipment is free
    3. Not paying for 2nd TV is cheating…WORLDWIDE !
    4. Just opt for the channels u want…u can pay even for a single channel – thats the law
    5.No cable required, anywhere is the country….move anywhere in the country and get ur channels
    6.DVR, games, etc etc is essentially a set top box feature
    7. Rates will eventually fall – yes cust service may be below expectations in this stage

  12. Are you sure about #1. Someone else here said contrary. I dont know.

    #2 is essentially ‘lock-in’ – pay in advance. Dont do that, wait for rates to fall.

    #3 I am not saying I wont pay for the 2nd TV. But I expect a discount, because I rarely have both the TVs on at the same time. Right now, I pay 250 for primary TV and 100 for the second. While that could be illegal, but isn’t it fair to expect a discount?

    #4/#5/#7 – good and very good. we all love that.

    Yes, #6 doesn’t really need DTH. But even if I want to pay for it, my local cable guy doesn’t have digital boxes ready yet. He has been saying next month next month since year!

  13. Tata Sky now has zee channels all of them including hbo, cartoon network

  14. That is good. Hope their ‘everything for Rs 200’ deal lasts for ever!

    Anyone willing to share quality/service experience with Tatasky here?

  15. I am also waiting for broadband internet option from the dish wallahs. Not that I am using any cable wallah’s internet service, right now I am using BSNL Broadband services.
    And of course I wait for the dish wallahs to cut the costs below cable wallah’s service – my contention is when technology improves costs should also come down. If costs are going up then maybe it is not new or better technology

  16. First of let me tell you I too have two TV in my house. One is on the ground floor and another one is in the first floor and similarly like you I use only one TV at a time. So if you are good with TV cables you can hook it up in such a way that you will get it on both the TV’s.

    Here is what I did, there are two outputs on dishtv set top box. So the audio video one goes to my TV and the other output goes to my TV up stairs. And when I switch off the down stairs TV I just leave the set top box switched on and I get dish TV in the room upstairs.

    But there is one problem since the box is downstairs you cannot change the channels so what you do is set alerts to the programs you want to watch and go upstairs. when the program time comes it automatically switches to the channels you set the alerts for. This is a free and easy work around the problem.

  17. Sky is the way to go unless some big companies start a cable bundle of telephone broadband and television package all in one sort of thing at very very cheap prices.

  18. I purchased tatasky and I can say that the quality of the channels are just too good compared to the cable signals.Iam glad iam not at the mercy of the cable guy who wants to spoil your show with regard to sports and Iam sure the so called blackouts will never happen.I just feel in the long run cable guys can never compete with dth.My cable guy wanted an instalation charge for a connection that already existed in the house.It was outrageous.I think if there is one more black out of some sports channels on the day of a cricket match,they are going to lose their customers in a very big way…move over cablewallahs ,bring on dth….

  19. Parminder – I hear Airtel and BSNL are working on that. TV/Internet/Phone over just one cable coming to your house.

    Harri – Thanks to the advice from you and others on Internet, I am switching too. Just ordered Tatasky myself.

    Prashanth – I am thinking of buying two ‘digicomp’ boxes.

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  21. hi…..we have of late migrated to Direct-to-Home technology……….the initial investment was substantial BUT now our TV watching habits are vastly changed and actually improved, thanks to the abundant meta-data for each channel and major programs…

    All in all, it is wonderful barring a few misses like local news channel, illegal movies etc.

    If you could take that in stride, and the costs, GO for it…it’s advanced, planning and the teaser info, all puts up for a great show…

    regards to all,Gopal

  22. If DTH customer service is that bad, are we left out with only one TATA option ?
    we consumers should have a sure way out.
    I never knew that Dish Tv serives that horrible, i guess i better go for TATA…

  23. Hi friends even i am facing something similar recently shifted in apartment cable connection is already installed n actively working but cable guy comes n disconnects it saying you will have to pay some Installation charges…we opposed saying we won’t pay but he is adamant on taking money so he disconnected the cable. Here it is not a matter of money but its matter of misusing tenants coz there are no such charges for owner living in same apartment.
    i am quite upset n do not want to pay him a penny can someone suggest were i can get some discount on TATA sky as right now no budget for the dish. Thanks

  24. Has any one tried DD’d 120 cm DTH antenna which gives 90 free channels including many forign channels ?

  25. I had a bad experience with DishTV too.
    Customer care is really hopeless. I got DishTV recently
    subscribed to
    MAXI package. After 20 days it blocked my MAXI channels even though I
    had paid for renewal in advance for 2 months. At Customer care number,
    noone picks up. Visiting their local office provided no help to rectify
    the problem. The care should realy be called Customer We Do not Care. I
    think it is a scam to sign people in and charge for the set top box and
    once cutomer is trapped, do not provide any service. When I visited the website they also provided option to send an email, no-one responds to the email to address the customer problem. They are more eager to collect the subscription than to provide service for that subscription.
    Till this writing I still do not get channels for which I have already paid.

  26. I have exactly the same problem like surendra. i renewed my maxi subscription for 6 months and after that, i do not get any good channels which are part of the maxi package. I tried emailing them several times but absolutely no reply. they just do not care! when i call the service number, no one attends to the call or its always busy. I am so fed up with the system that i want to cancel and move to tatasky. dihstv is only good for signing up subscribers; after sales service is non-existent. apart from that, they r cheating us by not providing the service we subscribe to! any ideas on how to get help guys??..

  27. Hi All,
    My name is Satya. I have dish TV Maxi package. I took this connection as after calling the cabel wallah for continuous 1 week, he didn’t get time to com & install the service hence I thought let me go for dish TV. I opted for regional package as Bangla as they used to give a channel by name Nepal 1( My wife is a Nepali).All of a sudden they removed the channel , I called up the customer care & they said if you want you can have the service else you can disconnect it. I agree that they know that we have paid Rs.3000 for the box so we won’t switch to another service provider.

    I think we all should go to consumer court & file a case against Dish TV. Infact I thought of doing so but no time. I hardly watch TV ( Only News). If anyone willing to go to court please let me know.

  28. .

  29. Sathya, you are not alone, and why just DishTV, TataSky is doing the same as well. All of a sudden, lots of Zee channels are gone! My mom used to watch Zee Classic, Zee Smile etc – all gone now because TataSky wants to carry only ‘some’ channels.

    And BTW, despite the court’s verdict, Sun is not letting TataSky carry its channels. (Minister connections can do wonders it seems).

    So in the middle of all this, where the hell is this thing called “choice”? I am sure TDSAT is working to fix this. They better do it soon, or else there will be a flood of litigations against these DTH providers and media houses alike.

  30. Hi

    I am using DTH of doordarshan , when I purchase they give more channels but now they cut down channels, so there is no any good free channels to see tv , so my money is totaly ie west.

  31. My home town is Maldives, Male.
    Would like know whether I would be able to view clearly channels from male.

    And the price of the package?

    Will I get all the channels like National geographic channels / star plus /Sony TV/ HBO/ESPN/Reality TV/Discovery…

  32. Hi,
    I am an intension to buy Direct-to-Home connection for free channels only. How much cost will come at initially & monthly basis? I dont know who are the connection providers too. I am staying in Bangalore. Could you pls anybody give the details or any contact number to get clear details.
    Regards,
    P.Jayaprabu.

  33. Just why do they not allow set top boxes to be interoperable?!! I have a Zee dth subscription right now but even if i feel like moving to tata sky, i can’t because my stb is captive to only zee signals. So now i have to buy a complely new tata sky box as well!

    To me this is just a waste of money and a loss of choice as a consumer. We should create enough pressure on the Supreme Court so that switching is made possible. At least this will force the companies also to behave better and provide better after sales service. Just look at the case of mobile services…

  34. Has any one tried DD’d 120 cm DTH antenna which gives 90 free channels including many forign channels ? I need reply to my email id

  35. DTH provided by doordarshan is a free service and b thankful that they give whatever they give. Doordarshan do not benefit from giving DTH but it promotes this so that TV can reach everyone.

    DTH by dish TV is chargeable and you can rant and rave about it. I had many people complaining about both DISH and TATA , but DISH complaints far out numbers tata on service.

    The best guy is your cable guy who you can see in person to take your frustrations out if the service is not satisfactory.

    DTH free from doordarshan …. for this u can by a set top from the market which is at rs 2500 inclusive of dish . cables and accs will cost rs 25 per feet . intallation is easy and do it urself. but if not sure a tech will charge about rs 250.

    cable by internet …. it is not advisable to watch tv on ur computer unless ur graphic card is very powerful. else the picture lacks continuity and is iritating to watch.

    any more ?????? write a question.

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