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Discussion Installed a new Sun Direct HD connection

Ramesh DthSky

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Hey Guys,

I have been thinking for some time to install a Sun Direct HD connection mainly to experience the clarity of a video that is HEVC compressed. I was using Sun Direct HD in 2014-2015 when they were using MPEG-4 compression technology and then moved to d2h HD in 2015-16, Tata Sky HD (still using for 1 connection) and to Airtel HD from August 2017 (for 2 connections). Since the NCF is Rs.59 in Sun Direct for more than a year when compared to other operators' Rs.153, I thought it could be economical as well considering that I watch only Sports HD channels and Lifestyle & Infotainment HD channels and Tamil HD channels, everything on an a-la carte basis. I requested for a new connection on 10th November, 2021 and it was installed on 11th November, 2021. I thought I could give myself some 7 to 10 days to give a review on what I have experienced until now with the new HD connection.

Amount paid: Rs.1299 (Tamil Silver HD pack - One month)

HD Set Top Box : HEVC - Model HSG200
tBQioF0.jpg


Remote Control Unit:
ZigrkC6.jpg


User Interface after the most recent update on 23rd November 2021:

pS2KpGQ.jpg


SD Channel pictures:

ezv8MER.jpg
lYoeDpG.jpg


I rarely watch SD channels and hence cannot give a complete review on this front. Few SD channels looked watchable and in few channels like in the genre of News, the compression looked very evident and it is understandable considering the space crunch Sun Direct is having right now. Further, Standard Definition channels are technically not for high quality viewing experience in LED TVs because of lesser pixels sent by the broadcasters for SD channels and I don't think it will be honest from my side to comment on the same. Since my intention is only to experience the HEVC compressed HD video of Sun Direct HD, let us look at the review of HD channels.

HD Channels Pictures:
t5bh5Fr.jpg

WOpuj8V.jpg


HD channels' review:

Video quality:


At the outset, the quality of Sun TV HD looked really good. I watched the T20 World Cup semi-final and final on Star Sports 1 HD and did not feel anything inferior to Airtel HD's picture quality. The much transparent watermark of Sun Direct on HD channels is the best one among all the DTH operators. I got some more time to view other HD channels last weekend and checked them similar to how I checked the other DTHs' video quality when I installed those. I had some great expectations with Sun Direct HD's video quality but I must say that I am a bit disappointed on this front.

Reasons: The evidence of a good picture quality without compression is that the faces of the actors during long distant shots should not have graininess or blurriness.

The first issue I found was in the channel 'Star Vijay HD'. During the long-distant shots in Bigg Boss S5 and other reality shows, I found graininess and blurring on the faces of the actors, both during still and moving phases and I checked the same in Airtel HD to confirm but did not find the issue at all in the channel. This issue can be viewed easily when you get closer to the TV. I was aware that Sun Direct is not providing Zee Tamil HD and Colors Tamil HD but my expectation was to view the HD channels provided currently are in excellent quality. With respect to the Infotainment HD channels, from the distant look itself I found that the picture quality is not up to the mark. In Animal Planet HD, one could see some ghosting around the blue coloured elephant image in the logo of the channel and the edges of the logo were fluctuating during the moving shots. The other channels like Discovery HD and Nat Geo Wild HD are not much different as well. Sun Music HD also has the same issue. The issue is too much evident in MTV Beats HD.

From what I have seen, I believe the picture quality is good for channels like Sun TV HD, English Movies HD channels and Sports HD channels like Star Sports 1 and 2 HD though I did not get a chance until now to watch Sony's Sports HD channels. In the other HD channels in my current package, some like Sun Music HD are slightly compressed but you could still see the blurriness in long distant shots and some like MTV Beats HD, Animal Planet HD, etc. are more compressed impacting the picture quality a lot. It is really disappointing.

If any of you wanted to check this, please get closer to your TV and view the long distant shots in Star Vijay HD especially during Bigg Boss S5 and other reality shows, and other channels like MTV Beas HD, Animal Planet HD, Discovery HD, etc. and you could find graininess and blurriness on the faces of the actors and non-clear pictures of animals and other objects in the frame. Infotainment HD channels are mainly viewed for high quality HD viewing experience and Sun Direct HD is really found wanting here in this aspect.

The primary reason for this is not giving enough bandwidth for the HD channels even though they have the advantage of HEVC technology. If someone else is having other thoughts, you are requested to provide the same without hesitation.

HD channels' audio quality:

Even in the 2.1 channel stereo mode, I miss the depth, bass and quality in the audio when compared to Airtel HD and was aware that Sun Direct is doing some unnecessary conversion of the audio sent by the broadcaster and as a result of this the bit rate is reduced to 192 kbps for every channel to save the bandwidth. I was completely aware of this audio compression by Sun Direct and hence have no hard thoughts on the same and was ready for a compromise even before the purchase. If Sun Direct is compressing the audio of HD channels to save the bandwidth, I should have been sceptical that they might compress the video as well for the same purpose.

The only compromise I cannot have is on the picture quality of HD channels and my strongest understanding is that a DTH operator should give at least a minimum bandwidth to an HD channel without compromising the picture quality and avoid the issues like the one mentioned above. Even audio quality should also not be unnecessarily compressed for HD channels as those channels are for premium viewing experience. People spend more money for bigger size TVs and Home theatres to get the quality viewing experience.

A customer like me does not mind Sun Direct delaying the addition of Zee Tamil HD and Colors Tamil HD but my expectation before the purchase was about viewing the available HD channels in top class quality but that's not what I am experiencing now. Everything was fine when I used Sun Direct HD in 2014-15, but there were just around 15 -20 HD channels!
 
Last edited:

Kannadiga

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Congratulations bro.
Good Reviews bro..

Another is sundirect never compress picture quality of their own channel.they may have compressed the quality due to bandwidth issues.
 

Rahul Rao Boinpalli

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Hey Guys,

I have been thinking for some time to install a Sun Direct HD connection mainly to experience the clarity of a video that is HEVC compressed. I was using Sun Direct HD in 2014-2015 when they were using MPEG-4 compression technology and then moved to d2h HD in 2015-16, Tata Sky HD (still using for 1 connection) and to Airtel HD from August 2017 (for 2 connections). Since the NCF is Rs.59 in Sun Direct for more than a year when compared to other operators' Rs.153, I thought it could be economical as well considering that I watch only Sports HD channels and Lifestyle & Infotainment HD channels and Tamil HD channels, everything on an a-la carte basis. I requested for a new connection on 10th November, 2021 and it was installed on 11th November, 2021. I thought I could give myself some 7 to 10 days to give a review on what I have experienced until now with the new HD connection.

Amount paid: Rs.1299 (Tamil Silver HD pack - One month)

HD Set Top Box : HEVC - Model HSG200
tBQioF0.jpg


Remote Control Unit:
ZigrkC6.jpg


User Interface after the most recent update on 23rd November 2021:

pS2KpGQ.jpg


SD Channel pictures:

ezv8MER.jpg
lYoeDpG.jpg


I rarely watch SD channels and hence cannot give a complete review on this front. Few SD channels looked watchable and in few channels like in the genre of News, the compression looked very evident and it is understandable considering the space crunch Sun Direct is having right now. Further, Standard Definition channels are technically not for high quality viewing experience in LED TVs because of lesser pixels sent by the broadcasters for SD channels and I don't think it will be honest from my side to comment on the same. Since my intention is only to experience the HEVC compressed HD video of Sun Direct HD, let us look at the review of HD channels.

HD Channels Pictures:
t5bh5Fr.jpg

WOpuj8V.jpg


HD channels' review:

Video quality:


At the outset, the quality of Sun TV HD looked really good. I watched the T20 World Cup semi-final and final on Star Sports 1 HD and did not feel anything inferior to Airtel HD's picture quality. The much transparent watermark of Sun Direct on HD channels is the best one among all the DTH operators. I got some more time to view other HD channels last weekend and checked them similar to how I checked the other DTHs' video quality when I installed those. I had some great expectations with Sun Direct HD's video quality but I must say that I am a bit disappointed on this front.

Reasons: The evidence of a good picture quality without compression is that the faces of the actors during long distant shots should not have graininess or blurriness.

The first issue I found was in the channel 'Star Vijay HD'. During the long-distant shots in Bigg Boss S5 and other reality shows, I found graininess and blurring on the faces of the actors, both during still and moving phases and I checked the same in Airtel HD to confirm but did not find the issue at all in the channel. This issue can be viewed easily when you get closer to the TV. I was aware that Sun Direct is not providing Zee Tamil HD and Colors Tamil HD but my expectation was to view the HD channels provided currently are in excellent quality. With respect to the Infotainment HD channels, from the distant look itself I found that the picture quality is not up to the mark. In Animal Planet HD, one could see some ghosting around the blue coloured elephant image in the logo of the channel and the edges of the logo were fluctuating during the moving shots. The other channels like Discovery HD and Nat Geo Wild HD are not much different as well. Sun Music HD also has the same issue. The issue is too much evident in MTV Beats HD.

From what I have seen, I believe the picture quality is good for channels like Sun TV HD, English Movies HD channels and Sports HD channels like Star Sports 1 and 2 HD though I did not get a chance until now to watch Sony's Sports HD channels. In the other HD channels in my current package, some like Sun Music HD are slightly compressed but you could still see the blurriness in long distant shots and some like MTV Beats HD, Animal Planet HD, etc. are more compressed impacting the picture quality a lot. It is really disappointing.

If any of you wanted to check this, please get closer to your TV and view the long distant shots in Star Vijay HD especially during Bigg Boss S5 and other reality shows, and other channels like MTV Beas HD, Animal Planet HD, Discovery HD, etc. and you could find graininess and blurriness on the faces of the actors and non-clear pictures of animals and other objects in the frame. Infotainment HD channels are mainly viewed for high quality HD viewing experience and Sun Direct HD is really found wanting here in this aspect.

The primary reason for this is not giving enough bandwidth for the HD channels even though they have the advantage of HEVC technology. If someone else is having other thoughts, you are requested to provide the same without hesitation.

HD channels' audio quality:

Even in the 2.1 channel stereo mode, I miss the depth, bass and quality in the audio when compared to Airtel HD and was aware that Sun Direct is doing some unnecessary conversion of the audio sent by the broadcaster and as a result of this the bit rate is reduced to 192 kbps for every channel to save the bandwidth. I was completely aware of this audio compression by Sun Direct and hence have no hard thoughts on the same and was ready for a compromise even before the purchase. If Sun Direct is compressing the audio of HD channels to save the bandwidth, I should have been sceptical that they might compress the video as well for the same purpose.

The only compromise I cannot have is on the picture quality of HD channels and my strongest understanding is that a DTH operator should give at least a minimum bandwidth to an HD channel without compromising the picture quality and avoid the issues like the one mentioned above. Even audio quality should also not be unnecessarily compressed for HD channels as those channels are for premium viewing experience. People spend more money for bigger size TVs and Home theatres to get the quality viewing experience.

A customer like me does not mind Sun Direct delaying the addition of Zee Tamil HD and Colors Tamil HD but my expectation before the purchase was about viewing the available HD channels in top class quality but that's not what I am experiencing now. Everything was fine when I used Sun Direct HD in 2014-15, but there were just around 15 -20 HD channels!
Great & in-depth review...
In the bway can you review b/w Tata sky & Airtel
 

stiwari

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Great review just can you compare picture quality with other DTH operators
 

hike

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Congratulations!!! Wish they add more ROI channels on their platform so they can attract more customers to buy it.

 

Ramesh DthSky

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Congratulations bro.
Good Reviews bro..

Another is sundirect never compress picture quality of their own channel.they may have compressed the quality due to bandwidth issues.
Back in those days when they started to advertise as "India's first DTH with MPEG-4 compression technology", I installed Sun Direct as my first DTH on January 2008. I always found the picture quality of their channels better when compared to other channels in their platform. Yeah, you are correct that they never compress their own network's channels and this is what confused me now when I checked the Sun Music HD's video quality and was in for a surprise to see the quality not up to the mark. I think Sun Direct should seriously do something to increase the bandwidth for HD channels because compressing the HD channels below the benchmark level will easily compromise video and audio quality and will be evidently visible which you can very well see in MTV Beats HD and infotainment HD channels like Discovery HD, Animal Planet HD, Nat Geo Wild HD, etc.

Most of us will look for quality first and then only quantity comes into picture. I was never concerned when Airtel took time to add Zee Tamil HD exactly one year after its launch by the broadcaster and had some delay in adding Colors Tamil HD as well. They were/are still giving superior video and audio quality in all the other available HD channels in the mean time. I expected a similar quality in the available HD channels of Sun Direct as well. But currently they are not giving the quality that is expected and for Customers like me who give much more importance to viewing HD channels will be disappointed a lot. I hope they address this bandwidth issues sooner. I fear that even if they add Zee Tamil HD and Colors Tamil HD in the future without addressing the bandwidth issues, those HD channels will also suffer the same problem currently seen in Star Vijay HD.
 
Last edited:
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