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DTH ops gear up for HD price war
Quote:India's direct-to-home (DTH) operators are gearing up for a cut-throat price war on the High Definition (HD) front, a service aimed at tapping top-end customers in an industry that is plagued by low ARPUs (average revenue per user).

Tata Sky, the joint venture between the Tata Group and Star, has set the ball rolling with the launch of its High Definition (HD) service at a price of Rs 2,599, the most aggressive in the DTH sector.

While Sun Direct is offering the HD set-top-box bundled with subscription package at Rs 10,000, Big TV's service comes at Rs 7,490 (HD with DVR technology) and Dish TV's at Rs 5,990.

Says Tata Sky MD and CEO Vikram Kaushik, “We were the first to break the Rs 100 price barrier, first to launch a host of customised innovative interactive service, first to launch India’s PVR and now, Tata Sky HD at an unimaginable affordable price point. Nowhere in the world has HD technology been offered at such great value by any DTH operator. Our aim is to make Tata Sky HD part of a colossal number of Indian households across the country.”

The price point will open up the market, limited at this stage by both the high cost of the HD box and the content.

Says Big TV CEO Sanjay Behl, "Though it is just the basic HD box, Tata Sky's aggressiveness is a welcome move as the market will expand. There aren't many channels available now on HD. But with a pressure on the pricing of the HD box, channels will see a potential to take this route. We, of course, are targeting the upper end of the customers at this stage as we offer HD with DVR technology."

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