Dish TV to fight on price to expand HD DVR segment

NEW DELHI: Dish TV has launched high definition (HD) DVR set-top box (STB), Dish truHD+, that has unlimited storage as it makes efforts to lift its ARPUs (average revenue per user).

The direct-to-home (DTH) service provider has priced the STB at Rs 2690, cheaper than its rivals.

Dish truHD+ will have dual advantage of all HD and DVR features and the price of Rs 2690 that includes the new STB along with one month Dish truHD Royale Pack subscription.

Dish TV CEO RC Venkateish said that while most DTH operators charge a premium for DVR STBs, Dish TV’s idea was to expand the DVR market by making it accessible at the price of a normal HD box.

Dish TV COO Salil Kapoor said that the overall marketing budget is Rs 250 million on the new ‘Dish Sawaar Hai‘ campaign," a considerable amount of which would be spent on the new HD DVR promotions. “The product is very good and is at half the price point. We are expecting to double the HD subscriber base with this.”

Dish TV‘s ARPU from the HD subscribers is in the range of Rs 450-550, Kapoor added.

There would be a free upgrade for those already having an HDTV box. Said Dish TV EVP marketing Anjali Malhotra, "Dish truHD+ will be the only HD box in the market that will offer a recording facility, at no extra cost, whilst HD features have become table stakes. If one were to compare this box with other DVR‘s in the market, the Dish truHD+ box would stand a huge price advantage at an unmatched price of Rs 2,690 against the usual cost Rs 5000 to Rs 6000, whilst it matches them feature for feature.”

At present, Tata Sky +HD is available for Rs 5,990 (standard installation, one month subscription) for new customers and Rs 4,159 for existing Tata Sky subscribers. Similar service from Airtel Digital TV costs Rs 4,990 onwards. Viddeocon D2H’s HD DVR comes at Rs 4,490 (Rs 500 installation charges extra), while Reliance Digital TV charges Rs 4,890 for the service.

Talking about the new innovations, Venkateish said the service allows viewers to use their own USB ports, pen drives, CDs, or mobiles to store whatever they want to from the telecasts.

The unique feature of Dish truHD+ is its compatibility with any USB device enabling consumers to simply plug and play an existing USB stick/ HDD, and build an entire library of their favourite programmes.

As a promotional offer, Dish TV is also providing a 4 GB USB drive free to get the user accustomed to the concept of plugging an external device to use the recording features. The DVR features include record, rewind, forward and pause live TV. It also has time and event-based recording on the box.

Dish truHD+ offers dual advantage of HD and DVR where consumers can enjoy picture quality of 1080i, 16:9 picture format with 5.1 surround sound and the latest MPEG4 technology. In addition to this, the same box is used as DVR as well by a simple "plug-n-play" through an external USB device. This enables all benefits of a traditional DVR like recording and playing back programmes, Pausing or Rewinding live TV, different play-back positions, event-based recording (EBR), time-based recording (TBR) and so on.

Dish TV MD Jawahar Goel said that the STBs are from Korea and they have adequate number of boxes.

Venkateish said there was also an exchange package available for those who had standard STBs.

He said only 2 per cent of Dish TV subscribers are presently on HD TV and he hoped this number would grow.

Answering a question, he said that the advertising is being handled by McCann Advertising and the annual advertising budget of Dish TV was Rs 1 billion.

Dish TV claims to have over 330 standard definition (SD) and over 40 HD television channels.

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