Tata Sky recently introduced its HD Services in selected cities of India. At the time of writing this post, the official website HD FAQ still shows that HD digicomps will be available in Mumbai, Delhi & Chennai to begin with. But, the digicomps are already available in Bangalore now. Some of the users (like me), have already got hold of the digicomps and also got the HD Channels activated. Here, I am sharing my personal experience of getting the digicomp and installing it:
Fri (18-Jun): Got to know, through News websites, about the New Tata Sky HD service launch. Saw the official note on Tata Sky HD website.
Sat (19-Jun): Public Internet forums reported that some people in Chennai/Mumbai already got the Digicomp from local vendors in their cities and awaiting activation. I called Customer Care(CC) and found that this is not available in Bangalore and will be available soon.
Sun (20-Jun): Public Internet forums reported that some people in Chennai/Mumbai got their HD channels activated. Every other anxious users around the country started inquiring about the Picture Quality and 5.1 digital output Tried calling Pai International, but nobody answered the phone.
Mon (21-Jun): Called CC to check the status on HD digicomp availability in Bangalore, but they had still same answer. Meanwhile, some Public forums already hinted that the digicomps are available at few dealers. I visited Pai International (Indiranagar, Bangalore) and got hold of the Sales Guy, who confirmed that the HD digicomps are expected the next day.
Tue (22-Jun): Purchased the HD Digicomp for Rs.2,599. The sales guys raised a request with Tata Sky CC to activate my Digicard. I got the Work Order Number SMS’ed immediately on my Mobile – “Thank you for calling Tata Sky, Your request is registered with WO No. 1-6969772XXX. Our Service team will notify you the work time by SMS or Phone call“. After few hours, received call from Service team about the installation. He told me that he is having many calls today and will come tomorrow by 12pm. (Parallely, I also got another SMS – Dear Customer, Your WO Number 1-6969772XXX request has been scheduled at 23-06-2010 12:30:00 and Service Engineer Mobile Number is 99017XXXXX. Thank you) I requested him, whether the installation can be done myself, with his online telephone support. He agreed for the same and I did the replacement of digicomp on my own. Below are the steps:
Disclaimer: Try the below steps at your own risk. To avoid any unexpected results, it is advised that you get your HD digicomp installed by Tata Sky Service Team.
1) Unboxed the New HD Digicomp – Was happy to notice that both the digicomp and remote were “bit” smaller in size than the earlier regular digicomp/remote. Contents of HD Set Top box:
- HD Set Top Box (digicomp)
- Smart Card (digicard)
- Remote Control (with 2 AA 1.5A batteries)
- 1.5m Component Cable
- 1.5m Stereo Audio Cable
- 1.5m HDMI Cable
- User Manual
Noticed that the HD Digicomp is having 2 USB Ports at back-side, for which the Usage is not known so far. I am yet to insert a USB drive and check! Should I take the risk? At present, I am assuming that the Support Team can use the USB port to install/upgrade the Set Top Box firmware/software.
2) Disconnected and removed all connections of my old digicomp and connected the New HD digicomp. I used the HDMI cable to connect the Digicomp to my LCD TV and powered on both TV and HD digicomp. First screen titled “DVB SSU+S Loader“, showed a Progress Bar with message “New software being downloaded. Do not switch off your box”. It took about 5-10 minutes to complete this process and later digicomp rebooted multiple times. The First Time Installation Setting screen appeared, with following steps (use select button to proceed to next screen – all default options):
- Language Setting – English
- HD Resolution Setting – Select a resolution – 576i, 576p, 720p, 1080i (in my case 1080i was selected indicating that it is the current resolution)
- Setup Checklist – Before proceeding, please check that the Set Top Box is connected to the mini dish according to the instructions in the user manual
- LNB Setting (LNB Type – Universal, # of LNBs – 1 LNB, Low Band LO Frequency – 09.750GHz, High Band LO Frequency – 10.600 GHz)
- Entry Point – Choose a transponder to configure. Many were listed, with the default IN4A-14 ticked.
- Signal Lock – showed Signal Strength and Signal Quality bar. Signal Level – 187, BER – 00E-7
- and finally the Channel Guide appeared with list of all channels. But there was no audio/video available for all the channels (Except the default channel # 100 – where I could hear only Audio). It was showing the message “To resume services, kindly leave your digicomp on ‘power on’ mode & recharge your account…“
3) Called the Service guy and updated him the status. He immediately activated my new Digicard (on the Phone) and I got all my channels. He told that I need to call CC to get the HD Gold Pack activated, then only I can view the HD Channels. HD Channels will be available free for 1 year for existing customers.
4) Tried calling CC and as usual I was left with On Hold music. I suspected that many customers (like me) are troubling the CC team Tried calling the CC again and at the same time, started navigating the channels one by one… suddenly landed on Channel 403 – BANG BANGGG (I banged my Phone receiver to end the call!)…. My HD Channels were already activated – HURRAY!. I am now getting these HD Channels:
- Showcase HD – Channel# 376
- ESPN HD – Channel# 415
- Star Sports HD – Channel# 417
- National Geographic HD – Channel# 565
- Discovery HD World – Channel# 567
Meanwhile, I received another SMS stating “Tata Sky package request completed & current balance: Rs.93; due date: 07/09/10. If you are unable to view channels, power on your digicomp and SMS SR to 56633“. BTW, I forgot to mention that I am having Mega Annual Pack and I am really not sure about the Due Date displayed in the above SMS. I will get this clarified with CC, once they become busy with the huge volume of calls
Coming back my review:-
- The picture quality is awesome and I could get better audio on my LCD which has 3.1 surround feature inbuilt. I am not posting any pictures here because I don’t have a HD Camera to take snaps
- National Geo HD channel shows the subtitles in Chinese language; there is no option to disable the subtitles!
- ESPN and Star Sports HD channels does not work 24 hours. They telecast only during the World Cup or Wimbledon match hours.
- All HD channels have low Audio Volume. We have to manually increase/decrease volume while going in and out of HD Channels.
- I don’t have any HD Audio Receiver, hence unable to test the real 5.1 audio, but found in public forums that Tata Sky HD is true HD and it does support Dolby Digital 5.1 through SPDIF coaxial as well as HDMI. For those who are interested to know about HD Receivers, check this link.
- The new On Screen Display menu is bit different from earlier and it would take a while for one to get used to it. I found the Page Up and Page Down options missing, while navigating the Channel List.
- Actve English channel is not working. It gives this message – Actve English is currently not supported on your digicomp. We will inform you when it is made available. Regret the inconvenience. Press “tv” to exit. I have mailed this problem to email@example.com last night. Today I received call from CC and they said they would help me fixing this once I am back home (which may involve swapping the digicards between old and new digicomps). My son also found problems with other ACTVE channels – The ACTV Games channels keep showing “Please wait…” and returns back to menu. I plan to discuss these problems when I get the call from CC again.
- There is no exchange for old digicomp. The Service guy informed that he will take it back for Rs.500, but today the CC told that this is only applicable for TataSky+ Recorders
- After getting HD digicomp, your account will have two connections – Primary and Secondary. Beware of this hidden future expense! If you are having only 1 TV, then please speak with CC and get this resolved (I am yet to do this).
Now, I can proudly say – HD ko laga dala, to life jingalala!!!
My other friends who are using TataSky+ are still waiting for New Digicomps which will have both Recording+HD features. I am sure, these new recorders will be available soon, so that their life can also become jingalala
Some Reference Links:
Tata Sky HD Offer with Terms and Conditions
Tata Sky Buy Online Offer (coming soon – HD Online Purchase)
Wed (23-Jun): That’s all for now. I will update this post later, based on my further developments on Tata Sky HD Experience.
Fri (25-Jun): Actve English channel is still not working, and CC has informed me on phone that this is a Problem at their end, which will be resolved in few days. My wife comments that the HD channels are very good, but she also feels that the regular channels (ESPN/Star) video quality has come down now. This is causing our eyes feel that the New HD Channels are really very crystal clear!!! Your opinion?
Wed (25-Aug): After repeated mails to TataSky Helpdesk, finally today (after 2 months) Tata Sky Customer Care called me and confirmed that ACTVE English is not working for all the customers who purchased the HD Set-Top boxes. They apologized for this problem! How can such a big organization forget to Test the product before releasing it in the market to customers?