Why MPEG4? Why is Tata Sky enforcing us replace the old set top boxes with the new MPEG4 STBs, free of charge?

+1 vote
asked Jul 27, 2013 by Janaki Ram R (110 points)
edited Jul 28, 2013 by rams
Is it to give better experience to customer or some business reasons? What is MPEG4  vs MPEG2?

Your answer

Your name to display (optional):
Privacy: Your email address will only be used for sending these notifications.
Anti-spam verification:
To avoid this verification in future, please log in or register.

1 Answer

+1 vote
answered Jul 28, 2013 by anonymous
selected Jul 30, 2013 by rams
Best answer

Initially TataSky had chosen MPEG2 as their technology for broadcasting, eventhough MPEG4 was predominat at tht time (in 2006?). MPEG4 allows for better compression, that means, for a given quality, the size of an MPEG4 video would take less-storage or less bandwidth for broadcasting. MPEG4 supports various encoding standards and H.264 is popular amonst them.

Older IRDs (Integrated Receiver Decoders ie. STB) had chipsets that can understand and decode only MPEG2 content. However, HD Plus, HD STBs have always been having MPEG4 support and in fact all the high-definition channels are always transmitted in h.264, which is evident when  you carefully observe the static portions of the video such as the channel logos. But, all the SD channels transmitted by Tata Sky till 31st July 2013 were pure MPEG-2 channels.

The MPEG-2 Standard-Definition channels will migrate to MPEG-4 channels in phased manner, starting with channels of South Indian languages, in the phase-I, where (almost) all the old Tata Sky SD boxes in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala have been replaced with MPEG-4 boxes.

Why is Tata Sky doing this?

The bandwidth that is currently available to Tata Sky is very limited and the transponders Tata Sky supposed to get by 2013 have been delayed. Majority of Tata Sky's competitors, such as Airtel TV, Dish TV and importantly Sun Direct have more channels than Tata Sky has, especially the South Indian channels, which is the main reason for this switch over to MPEG4, which allows Tata Sky add more South Indian channels to its boquets, which is very important for Tata Sky to gain as many number of customer in South India, during the 2nd and 3rd phases of digitisation, otherwise, who will choose to go with Tata Sky while the competitors are providing more channels (over 50% than what Tata Sky has.  Tata Sky is expected to add several Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada channels to its boquet - at least 3 channels in each language?

Though this will help the existing customers watch more servies, the main motivation for Tata Sky doing this is not to miss the bus of 2nd and 3rd phase of digitisation and thus lose the market share.

As per the above analysis, Tata Sky replacing the old set top boxes with new MPEG4 ones, costing themselves a 1000 crore, is not for the existing-customer satisfaction. The user experience might improve in only one sense that they get to watch more services. Existing customer need not expect a better video quality, since the bandwidth saved may be used only for adding new channels rather than to improve the picture quality.

Disclaimer: All the above information is only based on analysis; truth is not guaranteed, unless Tata Sky acknowledges the same.

commented Feb 11, 2014 by vikrant
yes...same here...i also frustrated ..
commented Feb 21, 2014 by Pita
I don't want to change the set of box and want to extend my package on account of IBN Lokmat channel (not able to display) penalty.

TATA SKY - is not showing IBL Lokmat channel from 17-2-2014 on my box. I am able to get the voice but not able to see the picture. As they are changing technology to MPEG4. I have taken 1year package recently and am not able to see IBN Lokmat channel due to above change. So as to see that channel i have to replace set of box for 500/- with the new one which they are offering. This change they have not told at the time of purchasing the package. I don't want to change the set of box and want to extend my package on account of IBN Lokmat channel penalty.
commented Mar 21, 2014 by ashok
You r absltly right .  recently without informing us they had ad Engl movie pack prevsly it was Rs.30 thy hv increased.
I had requested to ad Lord Buddha channel til today not considered. in other all co. channl its availble. They should reduced the package price.
commented Mar 21, 2014 by ashok
MPEG4 settop box they r providing free of cost to the customers. with warranty with Rs.500/- 1 year .
As per my knowledge they should not charge warranty of rs,500   1 year ..should replace new one if its not working /damages . Becoz they r providing us.
commented Jun 6, 2015 by anonymous
My subscription no. is1071806879 &registered mobile is 9955566778. Sudenly TATA sky stopped all channels to MPEG4 & I am not able to see any channel since 1 months. I am thinking to go to consumer court. All phone no mentioned by them do not exist
commented Jun 9, 2015 by PRAVIN I KOLI
pl.change  set box MPEG4 upgrading
commented Jun 15, 2015 by anonymous
My subscription no. is1072299678 &registered mobile is 9926665825. Sudenly TATA sky stopped all channels to MPEG4 & I am not able to see any channel.I am already complaint customer care and he say me change setup book  within 1week but left 3 weeks no workman come at home.  I am thinking to go to consumer court.
commented Jun 26, 2015 by Bhuwan vikram

I struggling to replace those boxes in morbi (Rajkot). It may be due to huge number of house holds they need to replace. I am awaiting since about 20 days