In an era where online content consumption has surged, not everyone prefers to watch videos on their mobile devices. Many crave the immersive experience of streaming content on a large TV screen, surrounded by family. However, this often necessitates owning a Smart TV, which can be a costly affair when combined with the expenses of various OTT subscriptions. Fortunately, a solution comes in the form of a hybrid set-top box, transforming your regular TV into a Smart TV. In this comprehensive review, we take a closer look at the Tata Sky Binge+ set-top box.
Tata Sky Binge+ Price and Benefits
The Tata Sky Binge+ set-top box is priced at Rs 2,499 for existing customers looking to upgrade from the standard version. New customers, on the other hand, will need to pay Rs 2,999 for the box. Along with the box, Tata Sky offers a generous package of six months of free subscription to ten leading OTT apps, including Disney+Hotstar Premium, Sony Liv, Zee5, Voot Select, Voot Kids, Eros Now, Sun NXT, Hungama Play, Curiosity Stream, and ShemarooMe. Moreover, customers also enjoy a three-month free Amazon Prime membership.
Upon the expiration of the free subscription period, you will be charged a reasonable Rs 299 per month for access to all the aforementioned OTT apps. Importantly, it is not mandatory to spend Rs 299 on the OTT apps if you already possess a separate subscription for Amazon Prime, Disney+Hotstar Premium, or other video streaming services. These apps will remain accessible on your TV.
For basic TV channels, a monthly expenditure of Rs 153 is required. This results in a total cost of approximately Rs 581 for those desiring access to all the listed OTT apps, basic TV channels, and Amazon Prime membership.
Flexible Choices for Accessing Premium Content
If you wish to avoid paying for some of the popular subscriptions, you can explore prepaid or postpaid mobile recharge plans that provide free access to Prime, Disney+Hotstar, Zee5, and Netflix. This alternative allows you to enjoy regular TV channels for just Rs 153 per month, making it an attractive option for cost-conscious consumers.
User-Friendly Interface with a Few Hiccups
The user interface of Tata Sky Binge+ is notably user-friendly and intuitive. It takes less than 30 minutes to get acquainted with the interface, making it accessible for users of all technical levels. However, at times, the interface may exhibit sluggish performance, emphasizing the importance of a stable and fast internet connection for an optimal viewing experience.
One interesting feature of this device is the built-in Chromecast functionality, allowing users to mirror content from compatible devices. Although the Tata Sky remote lacks a dedicated Prime hot-key, you can easily control the TV with your mobile phone, a convenient alternative. While tech-savvy individuals can utilize Google Assistant for TV control, those less familiar with technology might find the remote less user-friendly. In such cases, using a mobile phone to type, search, and cast content to the TV proves to be the most efficient method.
Netflix Access via a Clever Workaround
One limitation of Tata Sky Binge+ is the absence of direct support for the Netflix app. However, we've found a workaround for Netflix enthusiasts. By downloading the Rave - Watch Party app from the Play Store, you can easily watch Netflix content with friends online. After installing the app, creating an account (if you don't have one), and logging into Netflix, you can enjoy your favorite shows and movies in just a few minutes. While this workaround is effective, it is our hope that Tata Sky will incorporate native support for Netflix in the future, given its popularity.
It's worth noting that viewers with a basic Netflix mobile plan won't be able to watch content on their TV. To access Netflix on the big screen, a subscription of Rs 499 or higher is necessary.
Tata Sky Binge+ vs. Airtel Xstream Box
When comparing Tata Sky Binge+ to the Airtel Xstream Box, the former offers a compelling advantage. With Tata Sky Binge+, users gain access not only to regular TV channels but also a selection of OTT apps. This comprehensive package surpasses the capabilities of a Fire TV stick. Tata Sky provides one month of free basic channels, free installation, six months of free subscription to popular OTT apps, and a three-month free Prime Video membership.
In contrast, Airtel Xstream Box offers only a one-month free trial of Airtel Xstream Premium. To extend this subscription for a year, an additional Rs 499 is required. If users desire access to Disney+Hotstar VIP, Zee5, and Xstream Premium for a year, an additional expense of Rs 1,699 applies. It's essential to remember that users of Airtel Xstream Box will also need to spend on basic channels. The set-top box itself is priced at Rs 2,499, although some Airtel Xstream Fiber customers may be eligible for a discounted rate of Rs 1,500.
Given the added benefits and cost-effectiveness, Tata Sky Binge+ emerges as the preferred choice for many users.
Key Considerations Before Choosing Tata Sky Binge+
For seamless video streaming, a reliable Wi-Fi connection is essential. Without it, loading times may be frustratingly slow, potentially interrupting your viewing experience. This requirement holds true for any smart set-top box; a stable Wi-Fi connection is non-negotiable.
Furthermore, if you are using Tata Sky Binge+ on a non-Smart TV without recharging, access to OTT apps will be restricted. These apps are accessible through the service, not the TV itself. To maintain service access, a basic monthly Tata Sky recharge is mandatory. Smart TV owners need not purchase the smart set-top box, as they can opt for the regular Tata Sky set-top box.
For Smart TV owners without a Tata Sky connection, accessing OTT apps is still possible. However, it's crucial to maintain valid subscriptions to enable content streaming. Payment for channels is another option, allowing you to watch live TV channels instead of committing to a yearly plan.
In summary, Tata Sky Binge+ presents an enticing option for transforming your regular TV into a Smart TV and gaining access to an array of OTT apps. Its affordability, user-friendly interface, and workaround for Netflix make it a compelling choice for those seeking a rich entertainment experience without the expense of a Smart TV. With the right considerations in mind, Tata Sky Binge+ offers a seamless transition into the world of OTT content, right in the comfort of your living room.