Three days before the launch of Reliance Jio’s broadband service, Bharti Airtel announced its Xstream platform comprising video streaming apps for the home entertainment segment.
The company also announced a suite of streaming devices including set-top-box for watching content available on the Airtel Xstream app, formerly Airtel TV, on television sets and desktops. Bharti Airtel expects the new platform to provide it inroads in the market when 5G services are rolled out in the country.
“5G will start taking over broadband connections in many areas. As we enter 5G era, these are all IoT devices. They are able to connect to 5G networks now and stream high end content. Think this as preparation for future while it is a sensible decision for today’s market,” Bharti Airtel Chief Product Officer Adarsh Nair said after launching the platform.
The Airtel Xstream app comes bundled with entertainment streaming applications including ZEE5, Hooq, Hoi Choi, Eros Now, HungamaPlay, ShemarooMe, Ultra and Curiosity Stream, as well as songs from Wynk app.
The company also launched an Android-based Airtel Xstream Stick, similar to Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV stick, that will allow watching content on TVs and personal computers. Airtel Xstream Stick customers will get 30 days of Xstream app content for free and thereafter will need to pay Rs 999 for annual subscription.
“There are 18 million broadband homes. This number is going up everyday. There is an opportunity to put these devices in 18 million homes. Most of the OTT (over-the-top) content providers have optimised their services which means you dont require very data speeds. Today if you have 8-10 mbps, you can stream the content,” Airtel’s Wynk CEO Sameer Batra said.
The company also unveiled an Android-based set-top-box with wi-fi and bluetooth connectivity which will enable streaming of videos from mobiles to TV. It can also be connected to the direct-to-home service of Airtel to watch live TV.
“Customers can stream video of any app through Xstream stick and Xstream box on their television,” Batra said.
Billionaire Mukesh Ambani on August 13 announced the rollout of ‘Jio Fiber’ from September 5, promising free voice calls for life from landlines, 100 mbps minimum broadband speed at subscription starting from Rs 700 a month and free HD TV set on commitment to an annual plan.
Declaring that the plans will come at less than one-tenth of global rates, Ambani said Jio Fiber plans will be priced between Rs 700 to Rs 10,000 per month “to suit every budget”. The plans will also come bundled with subscriptions to most leading premium OTT applications.