One car, many screens – Review Dish TV Mobile TV

With traffic jams getting longer by the day, we are slowly getting to a point where commuters in the metros spend up to three hours every day getting to office and back. As you tend to leave home early and return late, most of us end up missing news and other television programmes.

A DVR can record your favorite soap operas so that you can catch up when you finally reach home, but then you can also have a television in the car. While this is not an advisable option if you are planning to watch TV and drive, it makes more sense if you have an SUV or MUV with a chauffeur driving you about.
And now with Dish TV launching its Personal TV, everyone in the vehicle has the option of watching the channel of their choice.

However, priced at Rs 2,45,000 for the startup edition, this is not exactly cheap. The latest version uses a new antenna from Ray Sat and has four screens with individual DTH boxes that help you stream different channels on each screen.
To give you privacy, all TV sets are coupled with wired headphones which can be upgraded to a wireless model at an additional cost. The basic screens come from NECVOX and you can choose a better screen or larger screen if you want.

A single wire downlinks from the RaySat dish antenna to a dish controller in the back of your car which is powered by the car battery — but be careful, for if you run this system with the engine shut, the battery will drain in about an hour. The trunk will also hold the four receivers and Dish TV claims the wiring is done professionally by their trained dealers — but the wiring in the demo car didn’t seem all that professional. Each TV also comes with its individual remote control, just make sure you point it at the right screen.

Sadly, Dish TV hasn’t been able to do a really professional job. They use the same Zenega DTH set top box they use for home which means you will need to change the card after a few months and that won’t be all that easy. They are also not clear how the service will be outside the big cities. As of now, everything looks like a ‘jugaad’, especially the additional infra-red receivers that jut out from under the screens.

The single TV version costs you roughly Rs 1,90,000, while the four-screen variants start at Rs 2,45,000. The annual subscription of about Rs 10,000 is included in the first payment. Since television channels are broadcast on a DTH system using horizontal and vertical polarisation, not all channels are available at one go. You can get up to 162 channels if you put a single TV system in your car, but for multiple TVs, you will get only 81 “popular channels”.

The above review appeared in the Indian Express, on Sunday May 30, 2010