Hotstar VIP subscription vs DTH plans: Do you need Tata Sky, Dish TV or Airtel TV connection anymore?
Since TRAI implemented the new regulations from February 1, TV viewers have complained of increased costs to consumers. The new concept of the base pack and Network Capacity Fee (NCF) has only proven to add to the prices instead of making it more efficient and affordable. Since the regulation isn't going to be amended anytime soon, turning to Internet-based streaming services now makes more sense. Many platforms stream the same TV content on their web-based platforms and, with some of the content available to enjoy for free, it makes us wonder whether one really needs a DTH connection anymore.
To add to the woes of DTH operators, Star India's popular streaming platform Hotstar has come up with a new plan that could take away subscribers from DTH operators. Hotstar is offering most of the sports channels and a good collection of Hindi entertainment channels at an unbelievably low price of Rs 365 per year - that translates to a cost of Re 1 per day. And with the Internet being quite cheap these days, the VIP plan seems like a more affordable option. But is it good enough to get rid of your old set-top box?
To find out, I compared Hotstar's VIP subscription to similarly curated packs from Tata Sky, Airtel Digital TV and Dish TV.
Hotstar Rs 365 VIP plan:
For Rs 365, Hotstar is offering access to most of its premium content for an entire year. With the VIP plan, you can watch live cricket, Premier League matches and Formula 1 races. The plan also lets you enjoy popular Hindi blockbusters as well as Hindi entertainment shows. The VIP plan only loses out on Hollywood movies and American TV shows. Compared to any DTH connection, you can watch your shows anywhere - smartphone, tablet, laptops and smart TVs.
Costs incurred: Rs 365 annually + the price of your data pack or your home's broadband bill.
Tata Sky Family Sports HD Pack:
If you want to access a similar package on Tata Sky, the Family Sports HD pack for Rs 646 per month is the one that comes close. Compared to Hotstar's VIP plan, the Tata Sky is offering a choice of more entertainment channels. You get to see all cricket channels as well as channels from other genres including music, movies, kids and infotainment.
Costs incurred: Rs 646 per month (Rs 7,752 a year) + the cost of the HD set-top box.
Dish TV Maxi Sports pack:
At Rs 326 per month, the Maxi Sports pack from Dish TV is the closest plan to Hotstar's offering. The Maxi Sports Pack offers many Hindi entertainment channels, sports channels, kids channels and others.
Cost incurred: Rs 326 per month (Rs 3,912 per year) + cost of the set-top box.
Airtel Digital TV My Sports HD Pack:
The My Sports Pack from Airtel Digital TV comes for Rs 493 per month. For the price, Airtel offers a decent mix of Standard Definition channels at lower prices. You get a combination of many channels from various genres - sports, news, movies, kids and infotainment.
Costs incurred: Rs 493 per month (Rs 5,916 per year) + cost of the HD set-top box.
Hotstar vs DTH operators: Which one should you go for?
Hotstar's VIP plan clearly seems to have a major advantage over other DTH operators. The choice of channels is limited compared to what DTH operators offer. However, you can carry your entertainment with you on your phone, tablet or laptop - all you need is an Internet connection. If you have a reasonable Wi-Fi service at your home and a decent 1.5GB/day data pack from anyone of the four major service providers (Jio, Airtel, Vodafone and BSNL), the overall cost that you might incur over the year could be comparatively lower. And occasionally, you do get Wi-Fi access for free - something that you don't get with DTH connections a lot. It all depends on how cheap your Internet bills are over a year.
That said, if the variety of content matters to you, then a DTH connection would still make sense. The DTH HD packs may cost more but you do get to enjoy numerous channels from different genres.