Sun Network’s Telugu HD movie channel, Gemini Movies HD, has been added by the DTH operator Airtel Digital TV as of Friday, 8 November 2019. It is available on channel number 896.
Gemini Movies HD was actually supposed to have been added on Airtel Digital TV in July 2019, along with Gemini Music HD and four other HD channels (including Zee’s premium HD Hindi movie channel, &xplor HD, which is exclusive to Airtel). However, while those channels were added, the two Gemini HD channels were left out at the time.
Moreover, Gemini Movies HD, Gemini Music HD, Surya HD (Malayalam) and Udaya HD (Kannada) were added on the Airtel Xstream live-TV app (then known as AirtelTV) in January 2019, but it took a long time for Surya HD, Udaya HD and Gemini Movies HD to be added by the DTH platform, while Gemini Music HD is still not available.
Besides Airtel Digital TV, Gemini Movies HD is available on Sun Direct (LCN 822) and Tata Sky (LCN 1403). However, Gemini Music HD is exclusively available on Sun Direct (LCN 824), and it is unlikely that the Sun network is going to allow other DTH platforms to add it in the near future, as Tata Sky has not added it either.
Some background information:
Gemini Movies HD was launched on 15 March 2017 along with Gemini Music HD, Surya HD, and Udaya HD. Initially, they were exclusive to Sun Direct. Later Tata Sky added three of the four channels (except Gemini Music HD), while Videocon d2h (now d2h) added Surya HD and Udaya HD, but Airtel Digital TV was late to add the channels. Surya HD and Udaya HD are not formally available on Dish TV, the fifth major pay DTH operator, but they can be viewed as d2h channels by subscribers whose dish antennas are receiving signals from the ST2 satellite used by d2h, as Dish TV and d2h are owned by the same parent company (Essel Group).
The Telugu market is unique for having not one but four movie channels in HD. There are Gemini Movies HD, Star Maa Movies HD, Zee Cinemalu HD and ETV Cinema HD (which is not available on any DTH platform). The Telugu movie industry is huge enough to necessitate having four HD movie channels (one for each of the main networks: Sun, Star, Zee, and ETV) over and above the HD general entertainment channels, which already show the latest Telugu blockbusters in HD.
In fact, premieres of new movies are always on the entertainment channels (namely Gemini TV, Zee Telugu, Star Maa, and ETV) and not the movie channels. However, this has not stopped broadcasters from launching dedicated HD versions of their Telugu movie channels. As far as Airtel Digital TV is concerned, Zee Cinemalu HD and Star Maa Movies HD are already available.
Meanwhile, other regional languages do not have more than one HD movie channel.
- In Tamil, the Sun Network’s KTV is available in HD, but not Star’s Vijay Super. However, Zee is likely to launch a new Tamil movie channel called Zee Thirai in January 2020 (along with a Kannada movie channel, Zee Picchar), and they are rumored to have HD feeds.
- In Bengali, the Star network’s Jalsha Movies is available in SD and HD, while Zee Bangla Cinema, Sony Aath and Colors Bangla Cinema are available only in SD.
- In Marathi, Zee Talkies is the only movie channel from a major network (Viacom18 and Star do not have any Marathi movie channel), and it is available in HD.
- At present, there are no HD movie channels in either Kannada or Malayalam, though there are plenty of SD movie channels: Colors Kannada Cinema, Udaya Movies and Star Suvarna Plus in Kannada (as well as the upcoming Zee Picchar), and Asianet Movies and Surya Movies in Malayalam.