Monday, March 14, 2011

National Geographic Channel HD

If you’ve been watching TV in India over the past few weeks or months, you might by now be able to ascertain that almost every DTH service provider in India has taken to offering high-definition DTH services. The biggest question in customers’ minds is – is it worth it? That is a really tough question to answer, as we found out in our own review of Tata Sky+ HD. What HD is provided, is excellent. The problem is the lack of a variety of HD channels. At The Indian Geek, we’re always trying hard to help our readers make informed purchasing decisions, and we thought we should try to put the five major HD services in the country head-to-head. Before you get all excited and hit that “Read more” button for the comparison chart, we’d like to mention a few disclaimers.

  • All information in the chart has been culled from the providers’ respective websites, and in certain cases (like “cables provided”), from our experience
  • The HD boxes from Tata Sky and Reliance that have been used for the comparison can also record and pause live television
  • Most of the providers deliver a discount if you’re upgrading from their own existing standard-definition DTH service. Many of the providers also provide additional discounts if you purchase half-yearly, or yearly subscription packs. The calculations involved are too complex for us to compute and display in a simplified manner
  • For the sake of simplicity, we’ve calculated monthly cost based on the cheapest possible package offered by each of these providers, adding the monthly cost of the cheapest HD package offered. If you would require more channels like most of our geeks, then your cost-mileage could vary.
  • We were unable to find out the additional cost of HD channels for Airtel and Reliance HD services (or if there is an additional cost) from their respective websites
  • We should mention that the Reliance HD service we’ve taken up for comparison is the HD DVR service. They also have an HD service without the DVR option, at a cheaper upfront cost
  • We were also unable to figure out the exact channels offered by Airtel and Reliance in HD
  • Dish TruHD has a multitude of channels at differing price levels; for the sake of simplicity, we’ve taken their cheapest available HD package
  • As far as the interface goes, we’ve only seen Tata Sky’s, Sun Direct’s, and Reliance’s. Of these, Reliance has the most cluttered, with Tata Sky managing to scrape through into a fairly useable zone, while Sun Direct has a very clean and modern-looking User Interface
  • As always, any information in the table below is subject to change; seriously, check with the respective providers for full details before offering up your hard-earned cash in exchange for one of these HD services

Tata Sky+ HD

Airtel HD

Sun Direct HD

Reliance HD DVR

Dish TruHD

Upfront cost1






Free with package2

2 months

5 months

2 months

Details unavailable

1 month (2390)

2 month (2990)

Monthly cost3

(Standard + HD)

150 + 50

165 + ??

*Exclusive of taxes

92.50 + 92.50

*Based on 6-month packages

115 + ??

*Exclusive of taxes

160 + 125

160 + 225

160 + 375

HD channels4

Discovery HD

NatGeo HD

Star Plus

Details unavailable

Discovery HD

NatGeo HD

Movies Now HD

Tamil Films HD

Tamil Songs HD

Telugu Films HD

Telugu Songs HD


Details unavailable

Rs. 125 pack

Discovery HD

NatGeo HD

Animal Planet

Times Now

ET Now

Cartoon Network




ZeeCinema HD

Zee News

4 Zee regional channels

Cables provided5


Details unavailable


Component / Composite

Details unavailable


500 GB Hard Drive for recording


Built-in hard drive for recording


TCO 6 months6







TCO 1 year6







TCO 2 years6







1 The cheapest-possible upfront cost for new subscriptions. The Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) may work out cheaper, if you pay more money upfront to get more months of free services with the package.

2 Most of these “free” months included with the upfront cost are at the highest possible monthly packages – both standard- and high-definition. You would need to confirm from the various service providers for exact details.

3 The minimum monthly cost of the service. The amount before the “+” indicates the cost of the cheapest standard-definition package and the number after the “+” indicates the cheapest HD package available. Some providers include taxes in this amount, while others don’t.

4 Information unavailable for all providers on their respective websites. For Dish TruHD, more HD channels are available at higher monthly costs.

5 Information obtained solely from experience.

6 Total Cost of Ownership – involves the upfront purchase cost, and monthly charges at the minimum possible service cost. We’ve calculated service tax at 13.5 % for the monthly charges of providers who do not include taxes in their advertised monthly charges.

The biggest takeaway from our comparison is this – India is in dire need of more number of HD channels at cheaper costs. A few interesting tidbits we were able to glean are that Dish’s TruHD is quite costly, while it offers a wide swathe of HD channels. As for Sun’s Direct HD service – it’s a no-brainer. If you’re a South Indian, it’s the HD service to get. Sun is able to provide custom film and music channels of Tamil and Telugu in HD, since Sun holds broadcast rights to many, many Tamil and Telugu films and songs. Airtel offers the widest range of upfront deals, while we can’t comment too much about them because we were unable to find out which HD channels are provided. If you ask us, we’ll take the interface of Sun Direct HD, with the channels offered by Dish TruHD, the quality of hardware of Tata Sky+ HD, with the price that Airtel offers. Sounds cool? Great. Now sound off in the comments below and tell us why we’re right. Or wrong. Your call.


Harsh Kothari said...

for dishtru hd the minimum base pack u can hav is platinum(rs 325 not 160 as stated above) and it is mandatory to hav an hd starter pack rs 125
so monthly minimum charges for hd dishtv are rs. 450
which is an exorbitant price!

anxiousape said...

Really...have you watched the Dish TruHD? It's SD upscaled to HD which is like Seagram's sold in Johnny Walker original bottle. Only the foreign channels such as Nat geo and Discovery is really widescreen and HD. Forget about HD I hope in the distant future Indian television is shot in widescreen for heaven's sake I'm tired of watching 4:3 stretched to 16:9 in every home in India where it's a prestigious item-your flatscreen tv drilled to the wall. It's pathetic.

Garbage in garbage out! No matter how good your television and/or receiver is. SRK is a television wh0re for teaming up to spread such lies to hard working indian customers. We ought to be educated by these conglomerates rather than be fooled with.

The Indian Geek said...

Thank you for letting us know that, Harsh.

As we mentioned in the article, many of these details were culled from the respective websites. We depend upon readers such as yourself to bring to our notice such errors and differences.

Thanks, again.

The Indian Geek said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Anxiousape. All tech/gadget geeks in India are waiting for a similar revolution.

DocUser said...

I recently purchased a LED TV with HD support and want to upgrade my SD DTH services from Tata Sky to HD services. On enquiry, the local dealer mentioned that TATA sky provides only 7 channles in HD as compared to Dish TV which provides 35 channels and, that too, at a lesser price per year as compared to TATA Sky. After that I enquired from TATA Sky helpline, and they claim that Dish TV is not providing HD channels in true HD quality, i. e. the footage is NOT shot by HD cameras, whereas the TATA HD Channels are the real HD quality shot by HD cameras, what they call as "HD content". Now all this is getting a bit technical and I do not know whom to believe. Can someone throw some light?

Shreemant said...

Videocon d2h:

Upfront Cost - 1690Free with Package - 1 month HD pack/South Platinum HD packMonthly - 400 + TaxHD Channels - NGC HD, Discovery HD, Movies Now HD, Travel XP HD, Active Music HD, Active HD 3D, Ten Cricket HDCables Provided - HDMIExtras - TCO 6.5 months - 2645TCO 1 year - 4850
Now Tell !!! The Best One is not compared here...... WHY ???

Shreemant said...

Also, Above Monthly Rental is Maximum One !!!

Kesanupalli said...


I am planning to change my SD to HD. Suggest me which Service Provider is the best.

Am having 42" LG LED 3D tv. Currently am using Dish TV SD.

I would like to know which Service Provider is giving more HD channels and better picture quality.

guna said...

dont go for dishtv HD. I had one, and unfortunately the STB stoped working. Now they need more than ₹1800 for another box. spending few bucks I can get a new connection. Also their HDs are SD upscaled to HD. base package is ₹375 which is also higher. I heard tatasky replacement box only costs ₹700. so dishtv is expensive.

Chandra Bhusan Pandey said...

Also Now when Dish is offering Zee & Zee Cinema in HD then they increased their monthly cost by Rs.100, so now Dish HD will cost Rs.650/- P.M approx



I have Samsung 3D HDTV and planning to buy some 3D-Ready set-top box.
Can anyone suggest what will prove best for me..?

pank04 said...

I Ordered Dish TV connection online on 02 Aug 2012,paid money online. I am yet (18 Aug 2012) waiting for connection,I sent number of mails and called them nearly everyday.They jest keeps asking me same details and assure me to give connection soon.How to trust such people?...?

Siddharth Sarkar said...

u should have bought tata sky, would not have faced this issue..dishtv is famous for these type of issues..

Sarat Chand Kalluri said...

The worst experience with DTH services in India can be had with SUN Direct .I had purchased their HD connection 8 months back and the set top boxis is in repair for 6 months. Even now,it is still in repair.Lodging complaints does not even bother them and they give recorded answers with out resolving the issues.Of recently my complaint no:1-6432744435 lodged on 8th sep stands unresolved and they say that the complaint is registered as unresolved on 14th sep! My sincere advise, never trust SUN people.They are habitual cheaters

muralibeera said...

hay man all this information is avaialable with every distributor this will not help deciding a hd dish. it will be more helpful if the specifications and features are compared

Anonymous said...

geeks .....please give your suggestion

jacob said...

I think Airtel is the best DTH service provider and its plans are also cheaper than other providers.Internet has really made our life easy by giving us immense option of recharging our mobile and DTH easily.I almost do airtel online recharge easily with the help of internet.

bro said...

sound quality is pretty bad tho...compared to the rest...

Prasanna Bableshwar said...

do you guys still maintain this webpage? I wanted to know which is the good deal for money as of today. I see that this review was done long back, and now that we all have clear picture, do you have a clear favourite.

Post a Comment