Sun Direct continues HD expansion with five more channels
Sun Direct may have been India’s first DTH platform to provide HD services in March 2010, but it lagged considerably behind Tata Sky, Airtel Digital TV and Dish TV for many years—offering only around a dozen channels, and only one Hindi HD channel, Star Plus HD—until it added a flurry of HD channels in January and February 2017 to keep up with the rest. Some more HD channels were added in 2018, but then there was a lull in HD channel additions for more than a year, even though it aggressively added SD channels in non-South Indian languages.
But it seems Sun Direct is back in action regarding HD channel additions. After adding three HD channels earlier this month—two in Bengali (Star Jalsha HD and Jalsha Movies HD) and one in Marathi (Colors Marathi HD)—it has added five more HD channels, three from the Star network and two from Zee, as first reported by DreamDTH. Four of the channels were added on 11 September, and the fifth, Star Suvarna HD, was added on 13 September.
|Star Suvarna HD||Kannada||GEC (entertainment)||862|
|Star Gold HD||Hindi||Movies||887|
|Zee Bangla HD||Bengali (Bangla)||GEC||893|
|Zee Marathi HD||Marathi||GEC||896|
|Nat Geo Wild HD||English, Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu||Knowledge/infotainment||959|
The channel numbers of the newly-added Star Jalsha HD and Jalsha Movies HD (originally 895 and 896, respectively) have been moved to 894 and 895, respectively.
In accordance with this, the DTH operator has launched curated Marathi and Bengali HD packs, as reported by DreamDTH.
Detailed information about individual channels.
Star Gold HD
This is the oldest HD Hindi movie channel. Star launched the channel on 15 April 2011 along with Star Plus HD, Star World HD, and Star Movies HD. Most DTHs were quick to add the channel by 2012, but Sun Direct did not have a single Hindi HD channel until December 2014, when it added Star Plus HD. Even then, that was the only Hindi HD channel on Sun Direct for more than two years, until several HD channels were added in 2017–18.
While four Hindi movie channels were among them (Zee Cinema HD, Sony Max HD, &pictures HD, and Colors Cineplex HD), there was neither Star Gold HD nor Star Gold Select HD (the latter is still not on Sun Direct). Therefore, Sun Direct subscribers were often forced to watch the Star network’s TV premieres of Hindi movies in standard definition (if Star Plus HD did not premiere it). In many cases Star Plus HD was the first to premiere a movie, but usually,Star Gold HD is the one to premiere movies, and Star Plus HD shows them much later, leaving Sun Direct subscribers in the lurch until now.
Star Suvarna HD
This is a comparatively new channel, launched only in July 2017. So DTHs other than Tata Sky have been slow to add Star Suvarna HD, especially as the channel is not very popular in the Kannada GEC segment, with Zee Kannada leading the pack followed by Colors Kannada and Colors Super. Notably, this is the first South Indian HD channel to be added on Sun Direct in more than a year as it has not added many South Indian channels for over a year now. Zee Kannada HD, which was launched even more recently (November 2018), is available only on Tata Sky and Airtel Digital TV.
Zee Bangla HD
With the recent addition of Star Jalsha HD and Jalsha Movies HD on Sun Direct, and with Colors Bangla HD already available for a long time, this was the only Bengali HD channel missing from Sun Direct. Zee Bangla is currently the most popular Bengali GEC, having overtaken Star Jalsha in June 2018 after the latter had a nine-year reign (2009–2018) at the top of the Bengali market, so this is a highly important addition. The addition of Zee Bangla HD practically makes the Bengali portfolio of Sun Direct the most comprehensive in India, with only Rupashi Bangla missing. Moreover, this addition means that all four Bengali HD channels are available on all five major pay DTH operators in India.
Zee Marathi HD
Sun Direct had no Marathi HD channels until Colors Marathi HD was added earlier this month. Zee Marathi has been the most popular Marathi GEC for nearly a decade, so Sun Direct has taken a major step in catering to its Marathi audience. However, Zee Talkies HD, a Marathi movie channel, remains to be added on Sun Direct, as is Star Pravah HD, another GEC.
Nat Geo Wild HD
For many years only Tata Sky, Dish TV and Videocon d2h (now d2h) carried this channel, though Airtel Digital TV added it a couple of months ago. Now that Sun Direct has finally added it, this means that all six HD infotainment channels in India are available on all five major pay DTH platforms. The other channels are National Geographic HD, Discovery HD, History TV18 HD, Animal Planet HD, and Sony BBC Earth HD.