MULTI TV: D2h to charge only Rs 50; Tata Sky, Airtel yet to announce plans

D2h, a DTH brand from Dish TV India, said it will give a discount of Rs 80 to all additional connections to its existing customers under its Multi TV scheme.

In other words, if you already have a D2h connection, you can get a second one at Rs 50.

The first connection will cost you Rs 130, plus taxes of Rs 23 and pay TV charges.

The second and all subsequent connections will cost you only Rs 50 plus taxes of Rs 9 and pay TV costs.

However, it should be kept in mind that there will not be any ‘mirroring’ of plans from the primary connection to the secondary connections, unlike earlier.

In other words, just because you have activated 150 channels on the first connection, you will not automatically get those channels on your other connections.

Under the new TRAI TV channel rules, each extra connection is considered a separate customer for purposes of calculating pay TV or content charges.

It is only for calculating the network charge or NCF that they are considered as add-on connections.

D2h is the only DTH player to announce a multi-TV scheme under the new TRAI rules so far, with others such as Tata Sky, Airtel Digital and Sun Direct yet to do so.

In pre-Tariff Order times, Tata Sky used to provide multiple connections at the rate of Rs 250 each from the second one onward, while the others used to charge anywhere from Rs 150 to 300 per month for subsequent connections.

Multi TV connections are used by relatively well off customers who have multiple TVs in their homes.

Instead of sharing their entertainment in front of one TV, they can get extra set-top-boxes and automatically get all the channels on the first set-top-box on all other TVs as well.

It was possible for companies like Tata Sky to make such offers because they were not paying pay channels by the number of viewers, but used to pay them a lump-sum amount every year, irrespective of how many viewers were watching those pay channels.

Under the new tariff scheme, DTH players have to pay a channel owner based on the number of connections that have access to that channel.

As a result, if three set-top-boxes in a home have a particular pay channel activated, Tata Sky, or Airtel Digital or D2h has to pay content charge to the channel owner three times — once for each TV.

This has prevented DTH players from offering the traditional multi-TV mirroring plans, all of which stand withdrawn.

On the other hand, the new scheme — in which the second connection is being offered at Rs 50 or even less — is also suitable for multi-TV customers.

This is because they can now activate a certain type of channels — say English movie channels — on their bedroom TV, while keeping their living room TV for kids channels and entertainment channels.

Such an arrangement can result in considerable savings as well, as the second connection will only cost around Rs 200-250, depending on the channel selection.

The new plan also helps bring down the cost of the primary connection, unlike earlier schemes where the primary connection had to have all the channels that were required in all the other TVs.

It is expected that Tata Sky, Airtel Digital and others will unveil their own multi-TV plans in the coming days.