DD Direct+ is the India’s one and one only free DTH service from the public service broadcaster Doordarshan launched in 2004. Here we review the service and what it offers to a viewer.
Hardware: The hardware like dish, antenna, assembly and set-top box is for the user to choose as per his budget. There are no appointed dealers or own branded set-top boxes. Any FTA satellite receiver with atleast MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 DVB-S standard will work fine.
Cost: The total one-time cost of installing DD Direct+ DTH may vary from Rs.500 to Rs.3000 and installation charges if installed by a technician. There is no activation charge or monthly subscription charge to be paid. Simple set-top boxes cost cheaper than the ones with some more features.
Support: There is no dedicated support for any issues/concerns and the troubleshooting of issues/scanning channels has to be done by a technician or customer himself.
Channel Line-Up: This is the most important consideration before buying a DTH. DD Direct+ has 59 TV channels and 24 radio services and are planning to introduce more channels over some time. 22 of these channels are the DD National and Doordarshan Regional channels, while the remaining 37 channels are from private broadcasters. There are no premium channels included right now, but maybe added later. Also there are occurences of channels often coming and leaving the platform, so this cannot be thought of as the complete DTH.
Recently there has been a concern amongst existing viewers about the delay in increasing channel capacity. But we can only hope this will be done soon after infrastructure is upgraded.
A few free channels from Dishtv like Zee Tamil, Zee Punjabi, ETC Punjabi can also be received due to nearby location of their satellite increasing the total channel count by a few channels.
Here are the channels names as per their genre currently being shown:
Hindi General Entertainment: DD National, DD India, DD Bharati, Star Utsav, Zee Smile, 9X
Movies: B4U Movies, Dangal, Enterr10, Firangi
Music: B4U Music, ETC, MH1 Music
News: DD News, Sahara Samay, News Express, P7News, Sadhana News, TV24, Day&Night News, PTC News
Sports: DD Sports
Educational: Gyan Darshan 1, Gyan Darshan 2, Vyas TV
Religious and Health/Lifestyle: Aastha, Aastha Bhajan, Zee Jagran, Sanskar, Sadhana, Divya, Katyayani, MH1 Shraddha, SVBC, Shakti TV
Others: Chardikla Time TV, Aalami Sahara, Zee Salaam, Whats On India
DD Regional: DD North-East, DD Kashir, DD Punjab, DD Urdu, DD Girnar, DD Sahyadri, DD Chandana, DD Saptagiri, DD Bangla, DD Oriya, DD Malayalam, DD Podhigai, Rajya Sabha TV, Lok Sabha TV
International: NHK World, DW-TV Asia+, Russia Today
Radio: AIR VBS, AIR Hindi, AIR North-East, AIR Punjabi, AIR Urdu, AIR Marathi, AIR Gujarati, AIR Telugu, AIR Tamil, AIR Kannada, AIR Bangla, AIR Oriya, AIR Malayalam, AIR Assamese, FM Gold, FM Gold Mumbai, FM Rainbow, Rainbow Bangalore, Rainbow Chennai, AIR Ragam, Radio Kashmir, Gyanvani Radio, DWS Radio1 and DWS Radio2
Verdict: Good for instant entertainment, easy setup, no activation/monthly charges. DD Direct+ can be used as primary source of entertainment or for viewing along with other private dth or cable tv.
Here are few images of the channels.