It appears that DTH services are phasing out standard cable TV. Many major brands in India, such as Reliance, Tata and Airtel have all launched their services. These DTH services are not just limited to the metros, but are spread across the length and breadth of the country. A few months ago we saw the Reliance BIG TV, which offered direct to home services, such as HD content and the ability to record content onto its 160GB internal drive. Today, we will take a look at a DTH service from one of its competitors.
Vents do not really take care of cooling
Airtel, primarily known for the cellular service for mobiles is also a big player in the DTH service game. We have recently received the Airtel DTH HD receiver, which boasts of features like the ability to playback full HD 1080i content, 7.1 Dolby surround sound capabilities, MPEG4 playback capabilities and other features. Read on to know if this is the right option for you.
Design and Build Quality
The set top box (STB) looks similar to others available in the market and there is no prominent design change here. It features an all black finish with a hint of silver at the ridge below the plastic front panel. The face of the STB features the Airtel branding as well as the controls. There is a large sensor located to the right of the front panel. The top of it has a metallic finish and cooling is taken care by vents located at the top back area as well as slots on the sides.
Universal remote bundled with the STB
Connectivity options are featured on the side as well as at the back. To the right side of the STB, there is a USB port and the rest of the connections are found at the back, which include ports for component, composite, S/PDIF, HDMI, Ethernet, a common interface slot, antenna in, TV out and a charging port. The remote that comes bundled with the STB is pretty stylish and the buttons are well-spaced. There are buttons for common options for menu, iTV, favorites, etc., which makes navigating through the interface easy. Like the STB, the remote also features the Airtel branding at the bottom. The overall design of this STB is pretty simple and slimmer than other set top boxes found in the market.
The features are by far the most important part of any set top box. In features, the package one chooses is what matters to any consumer. These packages are usually costlier than standard cable TV because of services, such as HD channels, which is more expensive than SD channels.
Fair amount of connections at the back
The interface of the Airtel DTH HD is broken up into various categories, making it easy to sift through the various channels easily. The options include Airtel Live, channels, what’s playing now, my search, my favorites, my settings, my account and help. The first thing one notices when one is in the interface is an advertisement located in the middle of the screen. Airtel could have done better with this image, as it is of a really low resolution and looks pretty bad on an HDTV. The interface is predominantly black and features options that are in tabs. There is a preview pane to the top right of the screen that displays which channel is selected and what is playing on that channel. Apart from the advertisement onscreen, the interface looks neat.
An interesting feature of the set top box is that if a movie is selected, a reminder is shown on the bar at the bottom of the screen. This is the same bar, which shows what is currently going on, on the television. There are a bunch of HD channels available with this DTH service and when one is in a channel, an Airtel branding appears at the right bottom of the screen.
The main interface
Apart from this there are other features, such as the ability to stream movies, interactive services and a universal remote. Rounding up the features bit, this is a good amount of features offered by Airtel for the cost.