TATA SKY DTH - A pleasant purchasing experience
Article Applicability : India
TATA SKY : One of the direct to home satellite tv service providers in India
My personal website : www.vishki.com
This article is for you if you are planning to get direct to home (dth) service, TATA SKY is one of your options or if you zeroed on TATA SKY.
TATA is one of the top most brands in India. Being a vast business group spread from consumer products to Information Technology, Worlds cheapest car Nano to Jaguar/Land Rover, light commercial vehicles to earch moving equipment, Power Production to Consumer retail, TATA is a common and trusted name in India. TATA SKY is their DTH division and is one of the initial entrants into the dth space in India.
After two years of really bad service received from SunDirect(I'll write a separate review about sundirect), I finally decided to discontinue sundirect service and move out. I had two primary options, 1. Local cable wala 2. DTH from another provider. The DTH providers other than Sun are Airtel, Big TV, Dish TV, TATA Sky and Videocon. While Dish TV and TATA Sky are old players in DTH, Airtel and Big TV are late entrants and Videocon is very new.
Cable guy was ruled out as my area had only one provider and he is not a kind guy due to his monopoly in the area. At Rs.250/- a month, this made no sense. If we choose an optimal package, we can get DTH for similar or a little more price. With DTH we also get a much better viewing experience. Videocon was ruled out as I did not want to go with such a new operator(after my experience with Sun). Airtel and Big TV are out because their packages did not suit me. BTW, Airtel offers discount for new connection if you are already their custmer. So if you are an Airtel customer already(mobile phone/landline/broadband), be sure to check special offers.
I'm left with Dish TV and TATA Sky. I have many friends who are using TATA sky and I haven't heard any one of them saying a negative thing about TATA Sky. All of them were satisfied with TATA Sky. While my research and comparision of Dish TV and TATA sky was still going, TATA Sky came out with a new offer of Rs.999/-(no conditions apply). The features of TATA Sky combined with TATAs brand value and this price immediately made vote for TATA Sky. As we were on vacation, I postponed the purchase. During this time they have added another cool package i.e., Ala Carte. They have made all the channels available under ala carte, the only condition is that the minimum monthly for these channels should be atleast Rs.150/-
Apart from these, TATA Sky is the only operator which offers some interactive channels for kids(games, maths, stories etc), channels for learning English, cooking etc. These interactive channels are not part of standard subscription. You need to subscribe to them seperately.
Other intersting offer was, If you purchase TATA Sky online for Rs.999/-, you get one month of their Grand package free which was Rs.350/- normally. If you buy TATA Sky outside, you'll not get any subscription, you will have to pay extra as per your selection of package. So I decided to go for paying online which will bring down my purchase cost to Rs.649/- and this will also give me a months time to decide on a package or to decide on which channels to go for in case of Ala Carte. The online/IVR purchase also gets you 4 showcase movies apart from one month grand pack. This will further reduce your price by Rs.200/- if you really want to see these movies.
On 24th Jan, I visited their website to go ahead with purchase. I went to their buy online page(http://www.tatasky.com/directSalesHome.do ). On the left of the page, there is something called "Click 2 Connect" which says "To know more about the offers or for assistance pleas enter your mobile number here and our associate will instantly call you". These kind of things are usually fancy on many Indian sites rather than functional. Not expecting a call,I entered my number clicked submit and was going ahead to press "buy now" at the bottom. My phone rang before I did that, that’s less than 2 seconds. I really loved this part.
The guy on phone was helpful, kind and gave me all the information I wanted. He also told me that one month free package will be available even if I place the order on this call using IVR, or I can place it online. The difference he said was the IVR order will be processed immediately and the online order process will take a little longer. If I complete the order now, he said the installation will be done tomorrow. Whether this guy was right or wrong about the delay of online purchase, I went ahead with the purchase on IVR as I was in no mood to wait after paying. It was around 10am on 24th Jan.
Purchase completed, and as per this guy on the phone I'll get a call next day and the installation will be completed on the same day, i.e., 25th Jan. To my surprice, I got a call exactly in one hour, i.e., 24th Jan at around 11am from local distributor. He was asking me if they can visit now to complete the installation. I asked him to come next day morning as I was going out. This seemed really fast.
Next day, 25th Jan, local distributor called me sharp at 10am, but I could not take the call. When I returned the call after some time, he said he has sent the service engineers to complete another installation as I did not take the call and that they will complete my installation in the afternoon. That’s fine with me, seemed genuine.
I got a call from their service engineer at around 2PM and the installation was completed by 3PM. The service engineers completed the installation, gave me all the basic details and explained the usage of different features, gave me his and his company contact numbers for service and left.
The installation experience was good and I was really happy with everything that happened so far.
The happiness did not last long, :(. Everything was working great till night, but next morning there was an issue with the remote/stb. After previewing a channel, a next press on "Select" button should take me to the full screen view of the channel. This was not happening. I had to press back button thrice to return to full screen mode. After two years with SunDirect, I was not ready for this crap again. There were a couple of questions in my mind at the point,
- How soon will thy attend to the problem(sun direct was really lazy),
- Will they accept this error or just try to escape saying "this is how it is"(another well known answer by various service providers here, be it mobile, landline, dth, whatever).
- If they accept the error,a) will they replace the box b) say "this is a minor problem we cant replace the box for this" or c) take the box to rectify it and get it back(leaving me without tv for few days).
I called the service engineer who gave me his number yesterday and the guy said he will visit by 12pm. He did not visit. Once the sale is done, skipping time lines and appointments is so common. I called the guy at 12:30 and asked him to come next morning as I was going out. The guy did not turn up till 1pm on the next day. I gave him a call and he said he will be visiting in some time. That’s ok.
The guy came around 2:30pm. Compared to my sun direct experience, this is infact very very fast and prompt. The guy checked the problem, tried power off and on again(the most common and first trouble shooting option of any issue in electronics). This did not help. He then tried resetting the box and alas, everything was working. Thank god.
TATA Sky is around 10 days old for me now, and so far the experience has been good. No hardware or signal issues after the remote issue mentioned above.
Last week, there was more interesting news for me,
- TATA Sky has slashed service and relocation charges by 64%. They have reduced the charges from Rs.350/- to Rs.125/-.Wow.
- They are running a cash back offer till the 7th of this month, i.e., 7th feb 2011. I need to recharge any way, and so this is good.
So that’s the experience I had so far with TATA Sky. I'll shortly write my review on Sun Direct, and TATA Sky usage.
Some Points of Interest:
- When I bought SUN DIRECT two years back, it was also for Rs.999/-, but there was a fine print where there was Rs.1000/- installation charges. But still, this Rs.1999/- included their one year of subscription to their basic south package. It was not bad if it had worked properly.
- TATA SKY Ala Carte - Though this seems very lucrative, its very expensive unless you don’t watch more 5 or 6 channels. This is only useful for the elderly who stick 3 or 4 channels.
- The reset process is not a menu option or a hardware button. It is part of TATA Sky secret menu. I came to know about this while the service guy was resetting my box. The secrect menu comes up when you press the following buttons without any gap, "Organiser" + "5" + "0" + "1" +"Select"