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Airtel & Samsung tie-up to launch TVs with built-in Airtel Digital TV smart cards

Airtel Digital TV has partnered Samsung to launch an Integrated Digital TV (iDTV) that will allow consumers access Airtel’s DTH services without installing an external set-top-box.

As part of the partnership, Samsung’s range of SmartDirect TVs will feature a built-in Airtel digital TV Smart Card along with a unified remote solution. Bharti Airtel CEO (DTH & Media) Shashi Arora also notes that Airtel Digital TV’s smart card will support direct signal reception from the dish antenna, due to which there is a lower signal loss between the set-top-box and the television.

Samsung SmartDirect TV

These televisions will be available across Samsung’s flagship stores and offline multi-retail outlets at prices starting at Rs 44,900. As an introductory offer, Airtel is also offering four months of free Airtel Digital TV subscription for new iDTV customers.

Videocon DDB enabled TVs: While both the companies claim this is the first such integrated television, its worth noting that Videocon had also launched DDB enabled LED TVs way back in August 2012, that featured integrated DDB chips eliminating the need for a digital set top box for direct digital transmissions.

This is an interesting move for Airtel, since it allows them to reduce the set-top box costs that is usually provided to consumers at subsidized costs, thereby affecting the profitability of the company. It will be interesting to see if more television manufacturers and DTH players adopt this integrated television approach in the future.

Airtel’s Chromecast clone: Airtel also recently piloted a Chromecast clone called Inferno in Gurgaon, that is powered by TV streaming startup Teewe. The device is currently available for Airtel broadband subscribers in Gurgaon for Rs 500.

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Besides this, the company has also been signing deals to offer various content services to its subscribers:

– It had tied up with Disney India to launch a Hollywood video on demand service called Disney Family Movies in May this year. It had also tied-up with UTV Motion Pictures (now owned by Disney) to offer a similar subscription-based video on demand service featuring Hindi movie titles from UTV Motion Pictures and a few titles acquired by UTV’s broadcast network in June 2012.

–  In March this year, it tied up with Digivive to launch a mobile TV service called Pocket TV that allows Airtel digital TV subscribers to watch live content from over 150 channels for a monthly fee of Rs 60. This was after its competitors Dish TV and Tata Sky had launched similar offerings.

– Edutainment television channel Da Vinci Learning had tied up with Airtel Digital TV to offer its content through the kids’ section of Airtel Digital TV’s Video on Demand service in January this year.

– Airtel Digital TV had also partnered BrizzTV to launch a new Freemium Pay Per View (PPV) movie channel for its customers in June last year.

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