DTH vs OTT: Which is better and why?

Television holds a particular place in Indians’ hearts, whether a neighborhood gathering on a Sunday morning to watch the Mahabharata, relaxing afternoons with Shanti, or thought-provoking evenings with Amul Surabhi.

Our relationship with television has altered due to the ability to consume content across several mediums and at any time in the digital age. Television is a technology that extends the digital medium due to the flood of digital content thanks to innovations like Google Chromecast and Amazon Stick.

In this article, we will assess which is better in DTH vs OTT & why. We look at the history and stats of the two platforms & lastly, will compare the price structures of streaming services like Netflix, Sony Liv, Hotstar, and Amazon Prime with those of DTH providers like tata sky recharge plans, sun direct recharge plans, etc.

When it comes to television, India has a massive audience:

Growing digital material and internet use may give the appearance that audiences are abandoning TV. Nope. India has 780 million TV viewers, according to a report. Despite the increased interest in digital material, young people spend 224 minutes each day watching TV. One of the reasons apart from entertainment is also that paying digital bills via platforms like MobiKwik is an added advantage.

Anyway, the audiences’ expectations from both mediums are different, which explains this pattern. Most smartphone video is digital. This shortens viewers’ attention spans as they switch between apps. Most digital entertainment is consumed while commuting. Therefore, shorter episodes or online series work. TV viewers expect lengthier episodes. Television is part of Indians’ everyday family routine, a space that digital media platforms can’t fill yet.

The rural markets have not yet fully embraced digitization

Regarding the overall distribution of OTT viewers, urban India makes up the majority. India’s rural areas continue to be a sizable television market.

The low fixed broadband penetration is one of the causes of this. According to a recent survey, Internet penetration increased in India to 47% in 2022. This situation is anticipated to snowball with low-cost network providers like Reliance Jio. Jio subscribers are growing, and video is a major contributor to Reliance Jio’s high mobile data traffic. Although low-cost network providers like Jio will further increase the consumption of digital material, it is currently unlikely that they would impact the number of people watching television.

Hotstar, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Sony Liv prices

The monthly HD tata sky recharge plans & Airtel Digital TV, which includes Star, Zee, Viacom18, Sony, and others, costs about Rs 800, comparable to DishTV.

DishNXT HD is $1,590. Tata Sky’s HD Digital set-top boxes cost Rs 1,699. In Delhi/NCR, Airtel TV’s HD box costs Rs 769. This pricing excludes NCF, installation, and activation.

DishTV’s 285-channel Titanium HD pack costs Rs 617 for DTH operators. The pack includes most Star, Network, Zee, and Viacom18 channels for individuals without specialized likes. Sports networks are included. After NCF, GST, etc., the total is about Rs 729 and Rs 536 for SD channels.

The monthly HD bundle from Airtel Digital TV and Tata Sky contains channels from Star, Zee, Viacom18, Sony, and others for about Rs 800, comparable to DishTV.

Sun Direct HD recharge plan includes 223 channels for Rs 322.03 (including GST).

This implies that the OTT players will have to compete with the lower cost of Cable/Dish TV subscriptions and provide compelling content for viewers. The prior reasons stated in the article will also play a role in this transformation.

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There is no straightforward answer as to which is better among DTH vs OTT as TV and digital video will continue to expand soon. The number of people watching television will steadily rise, and OTT video as a second screen will expand. Additionally, as the number of people watching digital media grows, advertisers will start to spend more money on it. However, compared to OTT media, television will continue to receive the lion’s share of ad spending.

As India’s wireless 5G ecosystem develops, ad-led online video platforms will also grow significantly, while subscription-based online video platforms will grow as fixed broadband infrastructure advances.

Furthermore, we observe an increase in the consumption of OTT content thanks to affordable data network providers like Jio and platforms such as MobiKwik where recharges are one click away. It is unlikely to have a significant effect on the share that television has, though.

Since most of the existing audience base is young, OTT players will also push for more regional original content on the portals to appeal to their tastes.

The OTT market currently has a wide range of players, including pure OTT players (Netflix), channels and media companies (Viacom’s Voot, Hotstar), and telcos (Jio TV, Airtel TV), among others. A more cooperative environment will start to form in the upcoming years.

India is a significant market for international OTT firms, and improvements in infrastructure and digitalization will undoubtedly further change how media is consumed across platforms. Moreover, platforms like MobiKwik make it easier to recharge both DTH and OTT. There are numerous chances at this pivotal time for both TV and OTT. This growth will benefit all stakeholders, and TV and video OTT platforms will find the ideal environment in India to coexist.