MUMBAI: For offering more high-
definition (HD) channels, 4K and
interactive services, direct-to-home
(DTH) operator Tata Sky is going to
acquire transponder space on GSAT 10
Faced with bandwidth crunch, this is a
significant move to accommodate
carriage of more television channels.
Tata Sky, a joint venture between
Tata Group and Rupert Murdoch-
controlled 21st Century Fox, has also
completed moving its entire
subscribers to MPEG-4 set-top boxes
(STBs) in order to push additional
“We are chasing a new satellite [GSAT
10], which will give us space for more
HD, 4K, interactive services, and more
viewing services like optional subtitles
which we do not offer right now,”
Tata Sky chief content & business
development officer Paolo Agostinelli
While lamenting that capacity has
been a severe limitation for DTH
operators, Agostinelli said that Tata
Sky will be beaming from two
satellites. “Eventually we will be
beaming from two satellites so, yes,
we need more bandwidth and
capacity,” he stated.
Tata Sky is currently on INSAT 4A and
is testing the signals on GSAT 10. “We
are still on INSAT 4A. We are still
testing progressively increasing the
power of the satellite to see what the
impact of the reception is. Capacity
addition is not in our control, but it
will happen soon. We want to do things
properly,” Agostinelli noted.
The testing of GSAT10 satellite had
led to disruption of services in March
and April impacting thousands of
customers. The DTH operator had
immediately swung into action to
restore the services.
“In March and April, we had
interruptions because we were testing
the satellite. As a result, we were
beaming from two different satellites
although on the same orbit, so the
dish could receive signals from both
GSAT 10 and INSAT 4A. Because we
were sending two different signals,
you need to fix angle on your dish in a
particular way,” he explained.
The capacity addition will allow Tata
Sky to offer sophisticated products
like more HD channels besides 4K and
interactive services. Currently, it
offers 400 channels and services,
including 51 HD channels.
Launched in September 2012, GSAT 10
has 12 Ku, 12 C-band, and six lower
C-band transponders. At 83°, it is co-
located with INSAT 4A and GSAT-12.
INSAT 4A, on the other hand, has 12
Ku band and 12 C-band transponders
Earlier, the bandwidth crunch had
forced Tata Sky to upgrade its STBs to
MPEG-4 from MPEG-2 in order to push
“We were capable of expanding the
number of channels we carry up to
400, which is where we are today just
by our own investments and
technological upgrading. We migrated
from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4. As we
speak, there is no single MPEG-2 box
left in the network,” Agostinelli said.
He also said that people will watch
more and more on the go on multiple
devices and on demand away from
linear devices. This is the reason Tata
Sky has launched a slew of services on
Anywhere TV app and Transfer+.
According to Agostinelli, the reason
for growth of over-the-top (OTT)
platforms is the viewing experience
they offer to customers. “Learning
for pay TV platforms from OTT is that
viewing experience has to be great.
Besides content, they focus on
recommendation engine, beautiful
interface, convenience of watching,
on-demand, on the go,” he said.
He also pointed out that to launch
optional subtitles and to improve EPG
more bandwidth is required.
Recently, Tata Sky had launched an
HD service with Star Sports called
Star Sports Add-on HD, which allows
customers to watch matches that the
sportscaster is not able to broadcast
on its existing channels due to
The service is being offered to Tata
Sky subscribers at no extra cost. The
DTH operator is contemplating this
experiment with other broadcasters as
well, informed Agostinelli.
MUMBAI: For offering more high-