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ADTV Pros & Cons; You pay for their mistakes
Oct 10, 2012 12:48 AM 3049 Views
(Updated Oct 10, 2012 01:04 AM)

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I have seen many unhappy ADTV customers and their reviews here. But fortunately, for me, am having a not so bad experience with Airtel DTH.  Before buying, I have compared other DTHs and liked Airtel for its picture clarity.  Tatasky was close but, it either didn’t have my required channels or were expensive. We are in Hyd and mostly see telugu, Hindi Zee, Sony and English movies, Discovery, TLC channels, and no sports.

I have had ADTV since August, 2009 (Standard Definition). Satisfied with its quality and service, I upgraded to HD with recorder in August 2011. I have a 42" LG Plasma TV and Yamaha AVR (home theater) at home and enjoy the 5.1 channel sound from the HD channels. The overall HDTV experience is great. I don’t know whether other DTHs have the following but am giving the features which I like and dislike in ADTV below:


1. Universal remote: Control your TV’s ‘On/Off’, ‘Vol’, ‘Mute’, ‘AV input’ from Airtel STB remote.

2. Recorder: It says record 2 channels simultaneously while watching 3rd channel. But, in my experience I saw that the 2nd recording doesn’t occur if you are seeing any of the ‘being recorded’ channels.

3. Schedule Series Recorder: You can schedule a recording of a particular program and all its series (daily/weekly).

4. Record even in Standby/Power cut: Schedule your recording and forget. The recording will start even when the STB is on Standby and even when the TV is off. If there’s a power cut, the recording will resume if it gets power during the scheduled recording period.

5. Reminder: Set reminder for your favourite programme and forget. Even if you are seeing other channel, it will remind and switch over to your program and channel at the set time.

6. Play, Pause Live TV: When you select a channel, it automatically starts recording in the background. If you get a call, simply pause, answer the phone, come back resume from paused position. The program will be recording itself even if you didn’t press ‘Record’, until you change the channel. If you like the program, you can press ‘Record’ anytime during the program and it will be recorded from the moment you switched to the channel.

7. Ala carte: You can select only the channels (even the HD channels) you would like to see without selecting the default channel packages to make up to a min of Rs. 150/month and then add any top-ups you like there-after.

8. Selfcare portal: You can  add a channel or order a daily movie, from their website, right at home and you can see the subscribed channel/ movie almost instantly. Need not wait for activation. Its instant.


1. Surrond (5.1) Audio only via co-axial cable: Airtel STB’s HDMI out doesn’t output 5.1 audio, you have to connect the STB’s co-axial out to your home theatre/AVR’s co-axial input to experience true surround 5.1 audio.

2. Customizing Recorded programs: There’s no option to change the names of the recorded programs or arrange them into certain groups or folders like Movies Eng/Hindi, Children, Lifestyle, etc All recorded programs are clubbed and you’ll have difficulty searching them to play back.

3. No Balance in TV: Though they say you can see your balance in your TV’s “My Menu”, I have never found it.

4. Not many Telugu Channels: Not many telugu channels to see even if you choose the costliest package. I found that no DTH provides all the available telugu channels as does your local cable operator. My mom isn’t satisfied with Airtel’s (only 10-12) telugu channels. So, we have a local cable connection for telugu channels and Airtel ADTV for Hindi, English and HD channels.

5. Cant Copy recorded Videos: You can do nothing with the recorded videos but to watch them on TV. They are encrypted and can’t be copied to another storage device. The only way to extract the recorded content is to connect it to your PC and copy via ‘Video Capture’ in real time using your PC’s TV tuner card.

6. Memorize the Channel No.s: In SD STB you could arrange your frequently viewed channels in 4 groups of 15 each and select them easily with 4 coloured buttons. After upgrading to HD recorder, there’s no option to assaign favourites and you’ll have to memorize the numbers of the channels. This is very annoying. That’s my mom and dad never see ADTV on their own. We have to switch it on for them.

7. During rains: The interruption to signal was only for few seconds for the SD STB. Even during heavy rains, I could see TV. But, after I upgraded to HD Recorder, even if it drizzles, I lose signal and get very annoying, hanging picture which doesn’t recover even after prolong periods. For heavy rains, there’s no signal at all. My ‘Signal Strength’ and ‘Signal Quality’ were below 40%.  I called CC to check the antenna. They came, said the antenna is in the best position, did nothing and charged me Rs.100

8. Selfcare portal:

i) No Daily Balance: See your last 10 transactions. They simply give the date and amount. You cant understand whether the amount is debited or credited and you can’t know what was your balance after each of that transactions.

ii) Server busy only for statements: They say you can see your last 6 months statement. But 99% times it says “Server is busy, please try after sometime”. All other pages of the portal like recharging, ordering a movie, etc. work absolutely fine but for statements. When I called, the CC said please try after 2hrs. But, even after days its the same situation.

iii) Monthly Statements: The ‘Monthly statements’ has different “Opening Balance” and “Closing balance” without any particulars of deductions. Its ridiculous, if there are no deductions, why is the closing balance different from opening balance. I don’t know whats the use of such monthly statements.

iv) Miscalculations: My connection was discontinued due to insufficient funds. It was their mistake as they miscalculated and deducted extra amount. I had a very tough week dealling with customer care. The monthly statements doesn’t help as they have only opening and closing balance, moreover not all 6 months is available from selfcare portal. When I called the CC and asked them to send me my previous statements, they said they can’t do it. They said they’ll check and call back but they never called back. After escalating the issue, I got a call and the CC rep talks only in Hiindi and can’t speak in English. I had a hard time understanding the digits in Hindi. I have to believe him on his oral explanation as I don’t have any online statements. He apologized for miscalculating and wrongly deducting excess amount from my a/c and refunded the amount. But, I was charged Rs.20 for ‘Re-instatement Charges’.

Yes, I had to lose my ADTV connection for a week, fight with the CC making calls daily, have to prove the calculations myself, get the refund, and pay Rs.20 as Re-instatement charges for their mistake of wrong calculation, even when I have Rs.150 left in my a/c. The CC executive was very unprofessional as he lied to me that he’ll refund that Rs. 20 also, which he never did.

I have suggested them many times to improve their accounting system in selfcare portal to show the balance in the statements. But, it always goes with a unfulfilled commitment.

So, would I suggest you to take ADTV? Yes, because the overall TV experience is great. But, if you get a problem and need to call the Customer Care, then, I am sorry, may God help you.

You may also see my other review “BSNL IPTV vs Airtel DTH” in mouthshut.

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