I decided to get the Tata Sky + HD installed last month, after I bought Toshiba 32PB1E LCD TV and found quality of the cable TV connection unacceptable for widescreen viewing. Additionally the lure of being able to record programs and pause live telecast was what eventually pulled me towards Tata Sky’s + HD service, along with positive experience and recommendation of fellow BCMTians.
Installation and Customer Service
I called Tata Sky Customer Service in morning to clear couple of doubts I had and they were promptly answered by the customer service representative and I actually ended up buying Tata Sky + HD service on the phone and paid for it through my credit card and that too in 6 interest free EMIs.
The real icing on the cake was the fact that the Dish and DVR cum STB was installed at my home only 6 hours later and installation itself was quite decently done.
The only negative point about the whole initial experience was that HD service took 24 hours to get activated and till then I had to watch the non HD channels, which were in any case, way better in picture and sound quality than what our local cable operator could deliver!
Sound and Picture Quality
Sound and Picture Quality delivered by Tata Sky + HD has been mostly great in case of standard definition channels and superb when it comes to HD channels (1080i and 7.1 audio). And while I have not been able to test 7.1 surround sound, sound coming out of TV speakers is what I would call comparable or better than most ripped movies with good sound quality.
Stretching and upscaling of SD content done by Tata Sky + HD box is far superior than what our TV could do and thus I am letting Tata Sky + HD do all the processing and have disabled stretch feature in TV and for most part one can’t really tell, whether the content is 4:3 or 16:9, apart from a few channels like MTV (of course it isn’t anywhere close to real HD content).
A major shortcoming in case of Tata Sky is the fact that they only have 10 HD Channels at the moment, which is less than what most other DTH services provide.
Also in case of even moderate rain, satellite signal gets lost and one is forced to stare at the blank screen instead. But then again, our cable had almost daily outages without any inclement weather, so I guess it is somewhat of an improvement.
Ease of Use
I hate the fact that one has to use remote for the set top box to change channels and also the fact that channels are spread out in hundreds of numbers (right till 800s), making it tough to browse through them, unless you make a favorite list or are ok with the idea of choosing genre while channel surfing.
Of course it would have been great, if one could at least remove the trivial channels from the channel list, but that is not really possible, unless you use Make My Pack plan and handpick channels you wish to watch (turns out to be quite an expensive proposition if you are picking HD channels).
DVR Function of Tata Sky + HD is comparatively easy to use, once you get the hang of it. However it is not without its failing, especially if you set it up to record a series. Because it ends up recording older episodes (which aren’t in its storage) if they are being telecasted again (which most Hindi Channels do). Good thing is that the DVR has plenty of space (500gb to be precise) to several month’s worth of show if the need be and even HD content does not take all that much space!
Add to that, in case of electricity failure or loss of signal, it does not attempt to record the missed part at a later time and presents you with partially recorded program. Had the set top box been intelligent enough to do that or removed the partially recorded show when it was being re-telecasted again and recorded it completely from scratch, it would been great. But I guess the designers of the DVR functions were assuming perfect weather and uninterrupted power supply when designing it and thus made no attempt to do that.
Of course the great thing is, you can record one channel and simultaneously watch another channel or record two channels while watching a previously recorded program. This does make the life easier, but if you are unlucky enough like me, you will end up with a scenario where there are two series being aired at the same time, which is liked and watched by your family and thus leaving you with no other choice but to switch off the TV, while both of them are recorded every night at 10:30PM!
All this of course comes at a price and Rs. 6480 to get the + HD set top box cum DVR is no bargain, not to mention the fact we will actually end up paying more than what we did for cable by choosing the dhamaal pack with HD add on pack.
Had one had the option of adding HD add on pack in case of Make My Own Pack, things would have come out to be a lot cheaper, but sadly, add on packs aren’t allowed in case you are opting for Make My Own Pack.
There is also the cost of AMC once the 1 year warranty is over and visit charges in case of break down, that needs to factored in, but I guess we will worry about it as and when they are levied.
Overall, I am quite satisfied with the service and performance of Tata Sky + HD, in spite of some of the quirks I have already mentioned. Additionally the fact that the dish could be installed on our ground floor flat without any image quality issue (it needs to be pointed towards South East) was a boon as well and something about which I was initially apprehensive about.
I think you did not explored much before buying. TS has good advertising else D2H is far better from all aspect..specially in package that suits all, pricing, highest no of channels and off course picture quality. I am using dth since only dish having and almost used all and find d2h best and airtel worst.
I actually did. I would have had to subscribe to Gold HD pack + English News and that would have meant more charges per month, but then again I would have gotten more channels. Entry price is the same for both, considering D2H shows installation charges separately, while Tata Sky does not and Tata Sky includes 2 months of base pack, while one gets 1 month with D2H.
In the end it was a matter of customer service and have heard from everyone that Tata Sky has the best customer service, which I kind of confirmed while not only buying (which i have mentioned above) but I later got a chance to test, when I sent them a query online and received a phone call couple of hours later.
You and myself purchased it almost together. And my experience with Tata Sky HD is also good. My FullHDTV feels best with the HD channels, else SD content is just passable!
I faced the downtime for 3 times during recent rains, which lasted for no more than 5-10 minutes!
Overall a nice experience.
Now it’s time for me to recharge my account! :O
Thanks Sachin. Make sure you have disabled in TV stretching of content, that is how SD content looks decent.
Are you aware that Tata Sky HD+ is charging Rs. 2000/- odd for so called installation charges!!!!. I am surprised to see that as being existing customer upgrading to HD+ there should not be any installation charges. furthermore, if you have already subscribed for Annunal package then there is no additional benefit…
When i enquired with Tata Sky they failed to provide me break up of installation charges.
Is that apart from the cost of STB?
In a way it is somewhat understandable, since the + HD features two cables and tuners, instead of one in case of SD and HD STBs. So the cabling as well as tuners at the end of the dish will be changed, apart from the STB of course. This will enable you to watch one channel and record another at the same or record two channels and watch a prerecorded program.
TS used to be good, but not any more…. the AMC charges after the warranty is too much, I had a recent problem with my connection and I had the maintenance guy visiting my house 6 times without solving the issue. It was the 7th guy who finally replaced the receiver (the one attached to the dish) and fixed the issue the others would only do master reset from the remote and walk off. They would deduct rs125/- everytime for the service visit. I had to fight with TS and had to talk to 5 different people from their Customer care and billing department in order to make them understand that how could they deduct rupees 125/- everytime without solving the issue. After lot of fighting they refunded 200/- rupees.
Also recently they have removed the HD Gold pack and they are charging Rs100/- for the HD access. I don’t understand why someone needs to subscribe for the SD channels in order to see the HD channels and also pay 100/- for HD access. Earlier in Rs75/- I used to get 10 HD channels, now I am reduced to 7 HD channels as I have the Dhamal Mix package which doesn’t have ESPN, *Cricket, *Movies and *World. So I now I am paying Rs 25/- extra and actually getting less channels to see. If I want to get all the 11 channels then I have to separately subscribe for those 4 SD channels and shell out another 110/- bucks. I don’t see a point in subscribing to SD channels to view HD channels, if you have HD Channels why would one watch SD channels? I even raised a complaint about the HD access fee to TS CC, but obviously they are not going to take any action as they just want to make more money by charging extra to the customers. The main cost is the STB otherwise I would have surely switched to videocon D2H. I wish that there could be some regulations in Cable broadcasting, atleast if the STBs could be portable to other providers 🙁
Thanks Yogesh, your article cleared many of my questions,and still one thing I would like to ask you is, Do I need to have fully functional HD TV to have Tata Sky HD STB ?
You don’t need to have HDTV in order to have TS HD connection.