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Which DTH provider offers the best sports channel package? So, why should you have to deal with a cable or DTH service that doesn't offer all the channels you want?
Being a sports fan is a tough job! So many sports to follow, so many matches, so many teams, so many sports channels and the action is spread across the entire gamut.
To help you pick the right provider, we take a look at the popular DTH operators in India, and try to understand what they offer and which one will suit your viewing needs the best. Sports Channels: Who shows what?
Before you start ticking the channels you need, it's important to know which channel shows what. Within these sports, there is the issue of various tournaments and leagues, particularly with Football.
We will try to demystify that conundrum, by identifying which major events are broadcast on which channel. Who all are we considering?
Unfortunately, since there is really no way for us to have the details of the channel packages offered by every single cable TV service provider from every corner of India, we are restricting this guide to just the DTH sphere.
In terms of the channels, we are looking at all major sports networks in India, who show Live sports events, specifically in the Indian region. This rules out the likes of Trace Sports and Fox Sports News channels, but we still end up with 15 channels in the mix!
Many of the sports channels and networks have different set of broadcast rights for other markets in Asia, and a different set when it comes to India.
We have tried to illustrate which channel shows which events, to help you understand better as to which channels are the best for you.
SD Sports channels: Who offers the best deal? Now that you know which of your favorite sport events are on which channel, it is time to identify which DTH operator should you really be subscribing to. Let us take a look at each one, and what they offer.
Dish TV offers almost all the sports channels, except Star Sports 2. What you basically get are all Ten, Neo and Sony sports channels, and also the premium golf channel, Ten Golf.
Incidentally, there is no event that is exclusive to Star Sports 2, at least not at the present. Tata Sky recently removed the Neo channels - Prime and Sports, from its platform, which does leave a bit of a gaping hole, at least as far as this comparison is concerned.
However, unless you are a fan of the Bundesliga from Germany, and some of the Hockey and Tennis action it has on offer, you will probably not miss out on much. Airtel Digital TV is the undisputed leader in this bunch, since it offers all the channels that we have considered for this comparison.
Videocon d2h is missing out on Star Sports 2. And also Ten Golf, in case that sport appeals to you. There are currently 4 HD sports channels in India. The content shown on these channels is pretty much in line with what their standard definition counterparts show.
So, no gain or loss in terms of content, but there is always the factor of massively improved viewing experience with the high definition channels.
This takes away the lucrative and popular action featuring the Indian cricket team on home soil as well as the Barclays Premier League football action along with bits of the Spanish La Liga and the Italian Serie A.
If you are a fan of Formula-1, you miss out on the HD experience for that as well.
With the two Star Sports HD channels already there, the cream of the action is pretty much one channel away. So, there is always hope that the same will be repeated again this time around. Airtel Digital TV and Videocon d2h have all the four HD channels on the platform, making them the combined best option for a new customer.
The final choice may well be dependent on other options, like quality and the pricing structure. Channel Base Packages: Which DTH offers the best channel deal For this guide, we are working on the premise that the more sports channels available in the base pack, the better, at the lowest possible price.
Which is why, we have listed the minimum package you will have to subscribe to, per DTH operator, for each channel. We have realized that in certain cases, add-ons work better, rather than upgrading to a higher spec base pack, if your focus is only on sports channels.
In terms of the price advantage, no one can deny that Dish TV and Videocon d2h are the most affordable, and within the two, Videocon d2h has the easier to understand package. But, Airtel Digital TV is the surprise best bet, with an almost fully loaded pack at Rs per month. Or, you could simply get the Super Gold Pack that already gives you all sports channels, and add the Ten Golf a-la-carte at Rs 35 per month to that.
The Neo Sports top-up is available for an additional Rs 50 per month. But, if you want these channels as a part of the base pack, then you will have to subscribe to the Magnum pack for Rs per month.
No need to run around calculating the price of top-ups etc.! The New Gold Sports pack includes all sports channels except Star Sports 2 not on the platform, yet or Ten Cricket not available in any base pack.
Ten Cricket, for that matter, is not included in any base pack, which is a bit perplexing, and has to be subscribed at Rs 30 per month as an add-on. Which would we recommend?
To make your buying decision simpler, we have broken the entire conundrum down into the specific categories of channels and sports. For SD channels: Airtel Digital TV, undisputed While it is a fairly complicated package and pricing structure in some cases too many base packs on offer , it is very clear that Airtel Digital TV is the best deal - all channels available on board, and the simplest pricing structure.