DTH players gear up ahead of the World Cup


MUMBAI: The upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup is this year’s biggest sporting event that promises to not just entertain fans of the sport but also provide windfall gain to advertisers and sponsors. Not be left out are direct to home (DTH) players, who are planning to rake in some moolah through various initiatives. 

DTH operator Tata Sky recently launched India’s first 4K set top box (STB) for its existing customers as well as to entice a new bunch of subscribers.

When asked if the move will help increase its subscriber base, Tata Sky CEO Harit Nagpal says, “Those who have invested in 4K television will need a 4K set top box to watch the matches. So it will help the customers who already have 4K TV, to watch the 4K transmission with the help of the STB.”

For Rs 6,400 subscribers can purchase the Tata Sky 4K STB while existing subscribers can buy it for Rs 5,900. Apart from relaying 4K content, the box can also showcase Standard Definition (SD) and High Definition (HD) channels. The STB has the capability of delivering Ultra High Definition picture quality and Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 surround sound. 4K at 8.3 megapixels (3840x2160) has approximately four times the pixels as that of 2K (1920x1080) - the current HD standard.

Sun Direct managing director Mahesh Kumar too agrees that the World Cup will help increase its existing subscriber base. He reasons, “One, cricket is a religion in India and given that the first few days of the tournament starts off with an India Pakistan match – the fervour is going to be high from the start of the tournament. Two, even though the months of February and March are traditionally dull for DTH due to exam fever, we expect the cricket fever to take prominence and more new connections to come in during this period.  Post IPL the love of cricket has transcended countries with the foreign player participation in local leagues, hence viewer interest will be high not only in India playing matches but also in matches with other countries.”

The DTH operator is offering the Star Sports bouquet on its bestselling Cinema + Sports packs. “This is indeed a big plus for our subscribers who can watch the world cup and best of sports during the World Cup and beyond with Sun Direct,” added Kumar.

Sun Direct is offering its Cinema + Sports package at Rs 195 per month. It will be focusing mainly on this pack for the World Cup as it feels this covers most of the requirements of its customers. It will be coming out with high decibel campaigns on TV and print supported with BTL initiatives and digital media to give a 360 degree communication ahead of the World Cup, informs Kumar.

Airtel Digital TV too has jumped on the World Cup bandwagon. For all customers buying Samsung Curve and UHD TV, it will offer HD DVR connection at the same cost as that of an HD connection. Customers will receive   discount coupons worth Rs 2650. Customers can enjoy watching the matches on an HD DVR by just paying Rs 2350. This box, which has an inbuilt hard disk of 500 GB can record content up to 750 hours enabling a customer  to record and watch the world cup matches at a convenient time. Also customers will get free subscription for up to 12 months through a scratch card offer. On other Samsung models, it is offering a discount coupon of Rs 660 on its HD+ variant. This comes along with an eight GB pen drive worth Rs 399, which is offered free. Additionally customers will get free subscription for up to 12 months through a scratch card offer.

This edition of the World Cup will see the first global broadcast of cricket in 4K. Official broadcaster Star will telecast select matches, including India’s opening match against arch-rivals Pakistan, in the 4K format. Online shopping websites like Snapdeal, Amazon and Flipkart have priced the 4K TV’s between the range of Rs 60,000 (lower end) while the higher end categories are priced at an upwards of Rs one lakh.

Videocon d2h too has launched 4K Ultra HD services. It has priced its STB at Rs 6590 for new customers while existing customers can upgrade to 4K DTH for Rs 5990. In addition to 4K channels and content, subscribers can use the STB to view Standard Definition (SD) and High Definition (HD) channels. While the website of Videocon d2h states that delivery of the STB will be made within two weeks from the date of booking, a call made to a customer care executive revealed that it would take around 48 hours.

Dish TV chief operating officer Salil Kapoor expects the cricket World Cup to help further increase its existing customer base and therefore has tweaked its packaging. “Our packaging is very sports centric. Every tier of our packaging has the maximum number of sports channels. We have also kept in mind that HD will play a big role in the World Cup and therefore have maximum number of HD sports channels,” he says.

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