Starting 2012, a new revolution hit Indian TV industry, when the Government made set-top boxes mandatory for watching cable TV.

At that time, there were mainly two options for the TV subscriber: Either install a set-top box from the local cable operator, or install DTH or Direct to Home via brands like Tata Sky, Dish TV, Airtel Digital, and Reliance D2H.

With DTH, users had to install a dish as well, whereas set-top boxes were wired connection from a central hub.

Last year, Govt. again stepped in, and announced mandatory slabs of pricing, for viewing various channels: Rs 20 for each slab of 20 SD channels.

After almost 5 years, it is still a mystery, as to which platform: Set-top box or DTH is more popular and provides more satisfaction.

Chrome Data Analytics & Media, a data analytics firm has carried out an interesting research, in order to find the best player between DTH and set-top box.

And broadly, in terms of penetration, it seems that digital set-top boxes are still winning against DTH operators.

This also means that the local cable TV operator proved to be more dominant, compared to big brands like Airtel, Tata and Reliance.

Here are few major highlights from the report:

DTH Is Less Prevalent Compared To Set Top Boxes

As per the replies received from the sample audience, set-top boxes are clearly more preferred. While 53 percent of the respondents shared that they watch TV via digital set-top boxes, 47 percent preferred DTH.

Interestingly, out of 53 percent who opted set-top boxes, 65 percent were those who had analogue cable connection earlier. Whereas out of 47 percent who opted for DTH, only 32 percent had an analogue connection earlier.

The Reason Behind The Shift

For those who shifted to digital set-top boxes, Govt.’s mandatory order to shift was the main reason, as 69 percent attributed this as the main reason for shifting. 43 percent shifted for more channels, and 31 percent shifted for the better audio-video quality.

Only 26 percent of digital set-top boxes shifted due to a disturbance in analogue signals.

On the other hand, 40 percent of DTH users shifted because of disturbance in analogue signals, and only 33 percent shifted due to Govt. order. The number of channels was a reason for only 20 percent of users.

This means, that for DTH users, the quality of TV viewing experience was more important, compared to users of set-top boxes.

What About Satisfaction?

It seems DTH services are winning the satisfaction race here.

Out of all users who opted for DTH, 96 percent are satisfied, whereas out of those who are using set-top boxes, only 83 percent are satisfied.

This means that although set-top boxes and cable TV operators have larger penetration, it is the DTH operators which are providing better services.

But, when asked whether they will switch their services: Set-top to DTH or DTH to set-top, then the answer was uniform: No.

98 percent of users of both set-top and DTH said that they do not want to switch. – Trak