A handy guide to satellite capacity of Indian DTH operators in 2022
An in-depth guide on transponder capacity available to private and state-owned DTH operators in India along with the satellites used by them.
- Tata Play leads the single brand satellite capacity with 24 transponders
- Dish TV leads the multi-brand capacity with 30 transponders (DishTV+d2h)
A Geostationary communication satellite is the beating heart of a DTH system and the transponder capacity is its very lifeforce. Just like the spectrum holding capacity determines the efficiency of a telecom operator, the transponder capacity determines the efficiency of a DTH operator. A typical Ku band transponder in the DVB-S2 system can carry as many as 20 HD or 40 SD channels with MPEG-4 compression standard.
Currently, there is 1 state-owned and 4 private DTH operators (Dish TV operates under 2 brands) providing service in India. The department of space (DOS) permits DTH operators to only use satellites commissioned by Indian Space and Research Organisation (ISRO) or in case there isn’t sufficient capacity on ISRO satellites then they are permitted to use capacity leased by ISRO from foreign satellites.
Here we will enlist the satellites used and the transponder capacity available to all DTH operators along with their current TV channel count. This is intended to help potential subscribers get a birds-eye view and make an informed choice while picking a DTH service provider. Dish TV and d2h have been listed separately since they operate as individual brands and have separate satellites as well.
Tata Play has a total of 24 Ku band transponders from 2 satellites. 12 transponders from GSAT-10 located at 83° East, owned by ISRO launched in 2012 with a lifespan of 12 years and 12 transponders from GSAT-30 co-located at 83° East, owned by ISRO launched in 2020 with a lifespan of 15 years. Tata Play currently offers 671 channels of which 553 are SD, 91 are HD, 1 is 4K and 54 are service channels.
Airtel Digital TV:
Airtel Digital TV has a total of 21 Ku band transponders from 2 satellites. 12 transponders from SES-7 located at 108.2° East, owned by SES launched in 2009 with a lifespan of 15 years and 9 transponders from SES-9 co-located at 108.2° East, owned by SES launched in 2016 with a lifespan of 15 years. Airtel Digital TV currently offers 691 channels of which 533 are SD, 85 are HD, 32 are service channels and 36 are Airtel exclusive channels.
Dish TV has a total of 15 Ku band transponders from 2 satellites. 9 transponders from SES-8 located at 95° East, owned by SES launched in 2013 with a lifespan of 15 years and 6 transponders from GSAT-15 located at 93.5° East, owned by ISRO launched in 2015 with a lifespan of 12 years. Dish TV currently offers 587 TV channels of which 311 are SD, 63 are HD and 23 are service channels and 181 are FTA channels from DD free dish.
d2h has a total of 11 transponders from ST-2 satellite located at 88° East, owned by SingTel launched in 2011 with a lifespan of 15 years. d2h currently offers 545 TV channels of which 445 are SD, 71 are HD and 2 are service channels.
Sun Direct has a total of 13 transponders from MEASAT-3B located at 91.5° East, owned by MEA Satellite systems launched in 2014 with a lifespan of 15 years. Sun Direct currently offers 482 TV channels of which 405 are SD, and 77 are HD.
DD Free Dish:
DD Free Dish has a total of 9 transponders (Including 1 from Vande Gujarat and 2 from Swayam Prabha) from GSAT-15 satellite located at 93.5° East, owned by ISRO launched in 2015 with a lifespan of 12 years. DD currently offers 227 unencrypted free channels of which 175 are SD, 1 is HD,1 is a service channel and additionally, there are 50 Radio channels.
Note: The DTH satellite transponder details are sourced from LyngSat and are updated from time to time in tandem with the updates on the site. Dish TV and Sun Direct subscribers also get access to unencrypted free channels (from DD free dish, Swayam Prabha and Vande Gujarat) since they both share capacity on GSAT-15.
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