Difference between DTH, Free To Air & Cable Set Top Box

Difference between DTH, Free To Air & Cable Set Top Box

 What is DTH?

DTH stands for ‘Direct to Home’ Service which receives signals through satellite with a private dish antenna. These services does not require local cable operator as they receive signals from satellite. 
Generally DTH services are provided paid by the DTH operator and reason for DTH been paid is they have to pay to their broadcasters for taking channel broadcasting rights. DTH operators uplink the encrypted TV signals to the satellite and these signals are received by subscribers through DTH receiver having Dish antenna and customized set top Box which is digital decoder. From January 2019 new rate structure has been assigned by TRAI, consumer will have to pay up to  Rs.130 (plus taxes) for first set of 100 channels, which will be mostly free-to-air (FTA) channels. This doesn’t include any paid channels from top TV networks. You have option to choose various TV channels by subscribing and by paying only for those which you have selected. 
Leading DTH brands in the country are Dish TV, Tata Sky, Airtel Digital TV & Sun Direct. 

Advantages of Using DTH:-

1.DTH provide direct television services to homes which can be provided in any corner of the country.
2.There is no requirement of wires as DTH work on satellite. 
3.DTH service provides high quality digital signals.
4.In remote locations, DTH play vital role by providing signals.
5.In DTH service,we can choose our selected channels and can only pay for it. 
6.Due to high quality picture and sound in DTH, we do not get stress on our eyes and ears.
7.DTH services also provide their own educational and fitness channels. 

Disadvantages of using DTH:-

1.There is mandatory payment for ‘Free to Air’ channels and after that you can select channel of your choice.
2.Sometimes due to bad weather, DTH doesn’t provide signals hence users are unable to view their desired entertainment channels.
3.Set Top Box and dish antenna may cost higher in comparison to FTA box and Cable operator Box. DTH Service provider cannot be changed as set top box settings are linked with the same service provider. Users have to pay again for set top box if they want to change the service provider.
4.DTH monthly service charges are slightly higher which is sometimes not affordable by people. 

What is Free to Air Set Top Box?

Free to Air Set Top Box receives signal from DD Free Dish satellite. It is India’s only Free Direct to Home Service owned and operated by Public Service Broadcaster Prasar Bharati (Doordarshan). For using free to Air Set Top Box, no monthly subscription fee is payable by the viewers. According to TRAI there are 80-100 FTA or Free To Air channels at the moment. 
The channels offered are News Channels, Movie Channels, Music Channels, Radio Channels, Kids’channels, Religious/spiritual channels & much more. FTA channel lists consist of regional languages also such as Bengali, Marathi, Kannada, Odiya, Tamil, etc. FTA is very popular in rural areas due to its strong signals, connectivity & affordability. 
This set top box requires only a small one time investment in purchasing a Set-Top-Box and small sized Dish Antenna with LNB & it is very easy to install too as it doesn’t require long cabling and space. At present its capacity is 104 SDTV channels along with 40 Radio channels. DD Free Dish is available in Ku-Band on GSAT-15 (at 93.5°E).The coverage provided by Ku-Band DTH service is throughout the Indian territory (except Andaman & Nicobar Islands).
Future plans are also awaiting for expansion of DD Free Dish. Due to introduction of new MPEG-4,DVB-S2 stream, Entertainment and Radio channels are going to be increased in future. Introduction of HD channels are also proposed for DD Free Dish. 

Advantages of using Free to Air Set Top Box

1.The biggest advantage of Free to Air Set Top Box is that there are no recurring charges to be paid to view any of the program as these are broadcasted by Public Service Broadcaster Prasar Bharti.
2.There is comparatively less investment for free to air set top box as it is cheaper in price and installation.

Disadvantages of using Free to Air Set Top Box:-

1.The Limitation of Free To Air Set Top Box is that paid channels cannot be subscribed, only free to air channels can be viewed which are broadcasted by Public Service broadcaster Prashar Bharti.
2.There are no HD channels provided.

What is Cable Set Top Box?

Cable Set Top Box is a device that contains a TV- tuner as input and output is displayed on television set. These set top boxes receive signals through cables installed by cable operators. This whole system is run by MSO, also known as multiple system operator. MSO purchases exclusive broadcasting rights from channels and is directly responsible for the services being offered to users. MSO collects a monthly subscription fee from users in exchange of services being offered. A MSO can serve multiple cities or areas at a time depending upon the geographical size and location. MSO deploy local cable operators in the field to make the service reach to every home and also for collection of payments. These cable operators provide cable lines to every home and connect it with set top box they provide which has a particular company’s CAS (conditional access system) in it. Generally a CAS (conditional access system) is a small card that has a chip which decrypts signal coming through cables and shows the media to the users. Different cable operators work in different area or regions. 


1.Some people prefer cable set top box due to some local channels, which shows local news of city as well as state.
2.Cable Entertainment is generally cheaper as compared to DTH and also has more channels.


1.There is requirement of wires due to which expenses increase.
2.It sometime gives technical errors which may take much time to get resolved.
3.In case of breakage of cables or any technical issue, users are unable to take the services.



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