Bharti Airtel, the leading domestic mobile network provider, today unveiled its own version of the Android-based Set Top Box (STB). This service may be used to turn any TV into a Smart TV. What’s more, the prices are not too high either. The Android-based STBs come with their own pre-bundled data as well as content apps for various digital services like Netflix and Youtube. Soon, support for Chromecast, which will ensure that content can be viewed on a large TV as well, and Amazon Prime, will arrive as well.
The Android-based STB is essentially an Internet TV enabler. The charges for the service have been kept on the low end. Prices start at Rs 4,999 for three months and Rs 7,999 for an entire year for all new users. The charges are Rs 3,999 for all existing Airtel users; this includes all content and TV channels thrown in.
The emergence of the new service means that Bharti Airtel will have to face off against the likes of Dish TV, Tata Skt, and Videocon D2H. On the flip side, Airtel’s service will have more content providers, many of them providing original quality content. With streaming services including Netflix and YouTube, and with Amazon Prime promised to arrive soon, expect users to view content from these sites plus regular TV channels as well.
Internet TV Also Bundled in
Airtel Internet TV will arrive with comes with inbuilt-Wi- Fi receiver, besides a Bluetooth-based remote control. The entire service is integrated with Google voice search feature. This unique feature will be activated when you talk to the touchscreen remote. This service will enable voice-activated search as well.
Airtel’s new Android-based Internet TV-compliant STB will offer a sleek and neat interface. The new service is 4K content ready and will also allow you to pause live TV, record it or even rewind. It will also support external content to be played via USB (or external HD) and Bluetooth. Customers will also be able to cast and mirror content from mobile devices, tablets, and laptops to the TV screen.
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When Chromecast support is brought in, users will be able to switch to a bigger TV screen as well. You need a minimum of 2Mbps broadband speed to use Airtel’s new STB service. Barring that, you can use a 4G hotspot.