Airtel joins Internet TV bandwagon, launches set-top box offering 500 satellite TV channels
If you have invested in a smart TV, its time you took full advantage of it if you have not done already, that is. While Netflix and Chromecast have been trying to find their feet but have been limited by more of India-specific content, Airtel has entered the fray with its Android TV supported set-top box which can bring into your living rooms, a host of entertainment options that will include 500 satellite TV channels in addition to online content from, you guessed it; Netflix, YouTube and what’s more, a built-in Chromecast functionality. Airtel will also bring on its in-house Airtel movies. All this is made possible through a digital set-top box that Airtel will provide at a cost of Rs. 4,999. Airtel has made the first three months’ subscription free with it. The online launch was April 12 and after this, the set-top box can be purchased at the Airtel Digital TV stores.
The digital set-top box has multiple options
The set-top box being offered by Airtel under its Internet TV scheme is capable of being connected to multiple streams to enable the contents to be beamed through your TV. There is the inbuilt Wi-Fi and Bluetooth provision. As for the ports, there is an HDMI port, a couple of USB ports and also the standard AV jack. The digital device has a RAM of 2GB and internal memory storage of 8GB. An SD card can expand this memory to 128GB and if you wish to connect an external hard disk, up to 2TB can be connected through the USB port. So you will never run out of options as far as content is concerned. This is in addition to the online resources you can draw upon, depending on what kind of broadband connectivity and plan you have with your service provider, in terms of the speed and download limits.
Airtel has tapped LG for making the set-top boxes and has included a microphone feature on the remote for Google voice search. There are plans to add Google Assistant also in the near future. Users can download and install an app on their mobile also to control the TV and to initiate searches.
According to this report, Airtel has indicated that customers must have a proper broadband connection to enjoy the features fully. If being connected through a Wi-Fi hotspot, then the device must be able to attain a speed of 4mbps at least.
Airtel is offering a lot of concessions to its existing subscribers, particularly their existing DTH customers and broadband combo plan subscribers. Even for first-time users, a year’s subscription is being offered if they make an upfront payment of Rs.7,999 which includes the cost of the set-top box.
The most interesting thing for the customers and observers, in this Airtel foray, is what Reliance Jio would do, as and when it comes up with its own Internet TV and what kind of pricing and undercutting it will do.