Tata Sky Binge+ review: A smart set-top-box for your living room
Brand: Tata Sky
Product: Tata Sky Binge+
We are watching more content online than ever before. From Netflix to Prime Video, OTT content has only gotten diverse and better. While you can always stream these on your phone, it does not compare with the immersive experience a TV delivers. Thanks to smart streaming devices such as Fire TV stick or Mi TV stick, watching OTT content on a TV is more fun than ever. Smart TVs, especially the budget ones, have played a pivotal role in changing how we consume content. So, it was only a matter of time conventional DTH players stepped up their game and offered something ‘smart'.
Take Tata Sky's Binge+ for example. I have been using the smart set-top-box for quite some time for watching OTT content on my TV. The set-top-box also gives access to platforms such as Disney+ Hotstar Premium, SunNxt, Hungama Play, Eros Now, ShemarooMe, ZEE5, VOOT Select, VOOT Kids, SonyLIV & CuriosityStream. Before you ask, no, Netflix is not part of the OTT catalogue on Tata Sky Binge+. We will elaborate the content catalogue in a bit, but first, let us quickly take a look at the key specifications of the device.
Tata Sky Binge+ runs on Android operating system. It comes with 2GB of RAM and 8GB of built-in storage. It supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2. The device has HDMI 2.a (Type A) with HDCP 2.2 and HDCP 1.4. & CEC 1.4b. It comes with two USB 2.0 ports, one ethernet port, and S/PDIF single port among other things. The two big highlights of the set-top-box are 4K support and built-in Chromecast. There is also remote bundled that also supports voice commands (via Google Assistant).
Tata Sky Binge+ is a hybrid that combines the capability of the conventional DTH box and a modern streaming device. The device aims to tap a growing audience for OTT content as well as those who have not given up on the live TV channels. As said earlier, it brings a set of diverse content (via different OTT apps) under a single roof. The access, however, requires you to pay a monthly fee.
As far as pricing goes, a user has to pay ₹2,999 for a new Tata Sky Binge+ box. The set-top box also gives access to OTT aggregating service Tata Sky Binge, that provides access to 10 OTT apps + access to Amazon Prime Video for three months. This service is available for free for the first six months on purchase of Tata Sky Binge+ smart set-top box. After six months, it can be availed at ₹299 per month. You can get access to Amazon's app for an additional ₹129 per month after the expiry of the free period.
As you launch the Tata Sky Binge+, you will notice a customised UI instead of the general Android UI you get on smart TVs. If you have been a Tata Sky subscriber, you will find the layout quite familiar. The interface is slick and easy to get started. Things such as content recommendations are quite useful and do remind you of Xiaomi's refined PatchWall OS. You can also use the voice controls to navigate the interface. The voice commands work fine as well. Since it supports 4K, you can watch a few contents in the said resolution if your TV is compatible. Performance-wise, there is not much to complain about. During our usage, we did not encounter any lags or app crashes. However, we would have liked the remote to be slightly smarter like we've seen with Fire TV stick or Xiaomi's Mi TVs. The remote also does not have shortcuts to OTT apps like YouTube or Prime Video.
As mentioned above, Tata Sky Binge+ gives access to a variety of OTT applications along with traditional DTH services. Netflix, however, is a big miss in the catalogue. Hopefully, the application will be available for users very soon.
Tata Sky Binge+ is a fine upgrade for existing Tata Sky subscribers who have the traditional set-top-box. Live TV access is another advantage.
Is it better than Amazon's Fire TV stick? Yes, if your content dependence is just on the OTT apps, Fire TV stick is a better alternative. It is a one-time investment, easy-to-use, and portable. Again, different households have different content preferences. From use case point of view, I believe Tata Sky Binge+ makes a fine smart box for your Living Room TV as it has a bit of everything for everyone.