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Old 1st April 2018, 12:48   #1
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Default How do you watch TV?

I have been a Tata Sky DTH subscriber for the last 10 years - infact ever since the service was introduced in my city (Jalandhar,PB). And in its 10th year, I am finally ending the subscription. I have no issues with TataSky DTH services, but the problem is that both the set top boxes in our house have not been powered on for over an year. The last time I watched 'direct' TV was sometime in January 2017 when Federer defeated Nadal in the finals of the AO. Ever since, and especially due to the deluge of broadband/4G data caused by the entry of Jio, we as a family have been watching all content through the internet using one platform or the other. Indeed, internet or web based platforms have become our exclusive source of information and entertainment.

Just two years back I remember, i had to switch off the broadband at night or else I would run the risk of my sister exhausting the quota of high speed data and me being left to struggle with speeds of 512kbps. And now, as i check my Airtel account I see that I have 543 GB of unused data! Whats more all this data can fly at speeds of 16mbps. And the party doesn't end there - I am paying half the price for this than what I was paying for that clogged pipe two years back.

I calculated that together between the 5 members of my family, every month we get access to almost 600- 700GB of broadband/4G data at a total price of about Rs 2100/-. Since everything is Airtel so the above includes freebies like annual retention incentives, free broadband data for each post paid mobile connection and carry forward data.

What this has led to is a radical transformation of how we consume content.
I will describe below how the different types of content gets consumed now:

General Entertainment (GEC): Two things have happened. The type of content being watched has changed and the way its watched has changed. The former relates to a shift from Indian content to global content. It can again be attributed to deteriorating quality of GEC content on air, that my family is happier watching Pakistani dramas or American sitcoms or British TV. At first these were mostly sourced from Youtube and watched by connecting the mobile/ laptop to TV, but now almost always casted from a mobile/tab or connected through mobile when using Amazon Prime.

Movies:Cinema halls for that irresistible Friday release and Amazon Prime/Netflix/Google Play and Youtube for everything else.

Sports:Now this is where TV added value till very recently. I knew no other way of watching a live premier league/ La liga or Champions League match than on TV. But given these matches are mostly held at night and due to other things taking precedence, I am content reading about the happenings and watching highlights on Youtube the next day.

Learning & Knowledge: Me and my daughter get our fill through Youtube. There is great choice and almost every topic that comes to mind is covered. It is always watched directly on the laptop or iPad.

News: This matters the least. Mostly due to falling quality levels and the way reporting was done we stopped watching Hindi/Punjabi news ages ago. And then Arnab Goswami happened to English news and post 2014, I don't think any of us ever switched on a news channel. All news is now consumed through mobile websites and the newspaper.

Apart from the content and way it is watched, I have also observed some other changes in our common behavior:

- In general we as a family are spending more time together in front of the TV now than probably anytime since the first two seasons of KBC were aired!

- Instead of regular TV, it is now watched in one go on some weekend or a holiday.

- This change probably occurred to us because we didn't watch much TV - not more than 4 -5 hours in a fortnight. DTH could have been still relevant, had we been watching more TV.

- Entertainment through TV/Movies in general is on a downward decline. We are travelling more often/ going out on dinner or lunches more often and also pursuing individual hobbies more intensely. I dont know if age is a contributing factor to this.

Overall I am rather surprised at how swiftly our TV watching experience has changed. Just two years back the thought of having no DTH connection was unimaginable (even if we watched TV sparsely) - for, wasn't that the reason why the TV was hanging in the family room?!

I am just curious to know how prevalent is this trend? is it just our family or have viewing habits in generally changed dramatically in the recent past.
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Old 1st April 2018, 14:20   #2
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Default Re: How do you watch TV?

Apologies but I am not clear over the objective.
Assume you meant that you watch most of the content over the internet and hence, requirement of having a physical TV set has reduced. If yes, I would say it could be mostly applicable to metro areas or college going kids with unlimited data connection.

For most parts of India, physical TV set is still a requirement.

Internet revolution that you are talking about is more due to Reliance Jio and it's free/ cheap prices. Just before Jio started its operations, unlimited data plan was costing nearly 1000 bucks. Yes, today you have the option to watch your favourite program over YouTube or other video sharing applications and I too watch online content throughout the day. But it's not the case for many.

Watching TV together has its fun. Besides I would say many people watch online content only when they couldn't watch it on TV due to some reasons.

Last edited by GTO : 2nd April 2018 at 10:18. Reason: Grammar, language
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Old 2nd April 2018, 10:24   #3
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Default Re: How do you watch TV?

Originally Posted by rrsteer View Post
And in its 10th year, I am finally ending the subscription.
Aha, a "cord cutter" eh? Congratulations.

I have Tata Sky and use it only for two purposes:

1. Movies - the best movies are on TV (not Netflix etc.). It also helps that they curate the best flicks for you, especially channels like & Prive, MN+, Star Select HD etc. I simply select the best ones and set it on recording - related thread. My Tata Sky recorder box has about 30 - 40 movies at any point in time.

2. Sports, in particular F1 & MotoGP.

What this has led to is a radical transformation of how we consume content.
Totally agreed. Except for the two points I listed, all other content is watched via the internet (YouTube, Prime Video etc.).
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Old 2nd April 2018, 17:44   #4
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Default Re: How do you watch TV?

Even I have started thinking on these lines. In general our TV viewing has gone down significantly.

The only things we watch our:
1) My wife and 3 year old daughter watch Music and Baby TV. This can easily be replaced by YouTube.
2) My father, when he visits us watches news. Again can be replaced by Youtube or something online.
3) I watch Motogp. This is the only thing that I am waiting to appear on Internet and then I think my Tatasky days would be over too.
4) Amazon Prime can do an acceptable job for Movies. We anyways have lost touch of movies as my daughter is small and we haven't been in a theater in 3 years. I get my weekly dose of English movies online.

The money I save from Tata Sky subscription can easily used for a FireTV and increased Internet Bandwidth.

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Old 3rd April 2018, 09:28   #5
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Default Re: How do you watch TV?

I've technically been a cord cutter for the last 5-7 years. There is a set-top-box in the family living room that my parents use, but personally, I've been used to just downloading/streaming all my shows (I watch a lot of American shows. Can't wait for the censored and butchered version to hit Indian TV).

The only change in my TV watching lifestyle is that with the entrance of Hotstar, Netflix, Amazon Prime, I no longer have to pirate my shows, as I can stream them legit.

Hotstar offering the entire HBO lineup + Premiere League @₹200/month is a steal.
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Old 3rd April 2018, 09:41   #6
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Default Re: How do you watch TV?

Last October, our set top box went bad due to a lightning strike or something. Instead of getting it repaired/replaced, we decided to experiment with no cable for a while. We had a Chromecast then, with Youtube and Hotstar being our primary media sources. We didn't see any issue with this arrangement.

Now we have shifted to a dedicated PC(a NUC) connected to our TV. We don't watch a lot of TV (~4-5 hrs per week). The only things we watch are:
1. Movies/TV series: Amazon Prime/Hotstar
2. Sports: Hotstar/Youtube/other online sources
3. News: Youtube

The money we were spending on cable now goes to Amazon Prime and Hotstar. I'm also very happy with this arrangement because
1. We choose what to watch and when to watch
2. No ads at all
3. Most of our content are HD
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Old 3rd April 2018, 09:51   #7
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Default Re: How do you watch TV?

The paradigm shift that is getting discussed here is very well in the minds of large DTH platform operators also and that is the very reason every platform operator is developing their inhouse channels, movies and music on demand and even education and game options to keep their services relevant.

Airtel for one has even changed its set top box which has can make use of screen casting, recording, use of broadband data and multiple other possibilities by offering a bloc of facilities to the end user.

It is quite possible that a consolidation of services may happen across platforms and technologies in due course of time very similar to what happened in the US about a decade ago.

At the end user will get benefited with all these changes. I am happy with DTH+Broadband combo and would continue without unplugging anything as of now.
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Old 3rd April 2018, 09:52   #8
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Default Re: How do you watch TV?

Even though I have a Sun Direct connection, my TV watching is very negligible.

My son watches cartoons, my parents and in-laws watch the news and my wife watches movies or award shows on the weekends. If Iím in the living room, I may watch TV for some time if the TVís switched on and after that Iím bored.

I think it has to do with, firstly, the content: thereís nothing worthwhile to watch, secondly, I prefer cooking in the kitchen, and thirdly, I get bored very soon. So the content I watch, if at all, are cooking videos on youtube.

When my friends ask me why I have a TV if I donít watch anything on it, I respond with a slightly different reference to Joey Tribianiís response from Friends, ďWhat would all my furniture be pointed at?Ē

Watch the original response here:
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Old 3rd April 2018, 09:53   #9
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Default Re: How do you watch TV?

I have been a long standing customer of tatasky and it was coming up for its annual renewal.
For all the channels that i wanted, the total cost comes to 9K annually and an add-on TV for my parents was coming to an additional 3K annually.
So, this time, i have switched the current tata sky subscription to a basic pack for my parents and dropped the add-on TV and the HD pack. They are anyway only watching news channels and regional channels.
And for the main television, we have switched to Netflix. I wonder why I did not do this earlier.

Last edited by starter : 3rd April 2018 at 10:12.
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Old 3rd April 2018, 09:54   #10
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Default Re: How do you watch TV?

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Last edited by GTO : 3rd April 2018 at 10:02.
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Old 3rd April 2018, 10:02   #11
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Default Re: How do you watch TV?

While I still haven't disconnected my DTH service, I have hardly used it in the past 2 years after the advent of Jio combined with Amazon Prime/Hotstar/Netflix. This Holy Trinity tends to provide for all my entertainment needs. However, I won't be disconnecting my DTH any time soon for the following reasons:

1. My parents who occassionally visit, find it a hassle to use/navigate the FireTV stick remote as compared to the simple(?) numbered interface of the Tata Sky remote. My mom has all her favourite channel numbers memorized and is already watching her show by the time I click on my favourite show icon.

2. The rare issues with broadband speed sometimes leads to buffering induced stress.

3. I am still addicted to channel surfing. The joy of stumbling upon something interesting while changing channels is absent in the user interface of streaming libraries with neatly divided categories and genres.
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Old 3rd April 2018, 10:04   #12
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Default Re: How do you watch TV?

Have been a subscriber of Tata Sky, since last 6 years. My daily TV viewing is only 1 hour (max), not more than that, along with F1 (only if possible) on Sundays. Ironically I am subscribed to Grand Sports pack which costs around 6K a year.
I also use a android tv box, which has all apps (Prime, Hotstar, Airtel TV etc etc installed) recently. I have realized that I have been wasting money with Tata Sky heavy subscriptions amount, when all the material that I am watching is available free (any time any place). Unless I have to watch it live (F1 specially). So this year I will be bidding a good bye to DTH for sure.

Another Android box is used by my parents, who utilize it by watching old movies via youtube or prime.
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Old 3rd April 2018, 11:01   #13
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I have stopped using television from 2013, just prior to my daughters arrival. The decision was based on preventing her getting addicted. Looking back it was a great decision as I have stopped wasting time over wildlife documentaries and silly songs. It helped me to take up reading, which was on a backseat and devoured a whole lot of books.

Whenever I need , I use Hotstar for sports and Amazon Prime for others. I used to think it would be too difficult to get off television, but it wasn't that difficult. I do miss the big screen for occasional sports. But the satisfaction of spending quality time with daughter offsets all the disadvantages.
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Old 3rd April 2018, 11:19   #14
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Default Re: How do you watch TV?

I guess I am still very traditional when it comes to TV. I am an Airtel DTH subscriber and haven't felt the need to experiment with online streaming. Sports consumes 90% of my TV watching time and I don't think that any online channel matches the convenience & reliability of traditional TV here.

Even if I convert to a "cord cutter", I am sure my parents would continue to watch TV the traditional DTH way.
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Old 3rd April 2018, 11:41   #15
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Myself and my brother, in Bangalore, are thinking of going this route of cutting-off the DTH and finding other options, we are doing the research these days.

I am having a VideoCon South Platinum HD package costing around 8K INR/year and my Brother is having Airtel South package costing 6K/year. The issue with these DTH providers are they are now having issues with channels and some channels are being taken off (like star). Of course the charges seem to be only going upwards.

Based on our current research we are considering the following options.
1. Amazon Fire with Kodi installed (Jio TV can also be installed)
2. Android TV like, Nvidia Shield (a bit expensive)

So far, the Amazon Fire with Kodi seem to be a better option and have a descent number of channels. The only issue with Kodi is that the URL for channels keep changing so we need to be always on lookout for new URLs. Also this needs a high-speed internet connection with 150+GB data/month package. We will take the plunge based on further research and doing some trails and few attempts with these options.
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