Need digital TV operator suggestions for my stay-at-home Mom in karachi

Hi Guys,

Just stumbled upon this forum, it was great to see some constructive ideas floating around. I must say that this is a great forum for all-things-tech and I've bookmarked it already :)

Guys, I need some help regarding cable TV reception in karachi (Gulistan-e-jauhar to be more exact). I live overseas and wanted to get some decent TV entertainment for my Mom who has just bought an LCD TV, all by herself. So I did some research around and found that there are so many options floating list DTH, DWN (Previously SUN), PTCL smart TV, WorldCall and what not.

The factors I am considering are :

- As my mom is completely naive to anything with more than two options (on/off) on it so it has to be setup-once use-all-your-life thingi.

- secondly if the customer service is good/satisfactory, that will be a major plus.

- since I am also looking for broadband, wireless broadband plus TV so if all can be bundled into one, it would be great but its not my priority at the moment as I already have a PTCL boradband.

I had to cross-out any wireless transmitted options as I don't believe that wireless can give you a better quality than a dedicated cable. But I also have an impression that you need certain level of geeky-ness to setup and maintain everything. Please correct me if I am wrong.

I am leaning greatly towards Worldcall as it seems to be a major brand across Pakistan. But I can't get any reliable information about the service (TV and customer) online on any forums.

Since you guys are gurus on the topic any help will be greatly and truly appreciated.



Got something for you:

cable is unpredictable. Depends on the area you live in. If there's one major network in place (let's take the example of WorldCall here), some areas will be crystal clear (and all channels) while other areas may not. In short - depends on your area. Most cable operators have generators up and running. Indian channels - could be from 1 to 10 - depends on the cable operator.

If your mum has multiple TVs, then this is the best option. The others work on one TV only (otherwise the pic/audio gets degraded).

Sun TV: a decoder-based solution. Works wirelessly (via another type of antenna - it's like terrestrial, but isn't - it's all digital). You get ~70 channels on it. Reliable, clear wherever you are. You just need to ensure that you adjust the antenna so that you can receive the signals. Don't know what Indian channels it has - but I guess there are one or two.

PTCL's IPTV: generally reliable (our area seems to be in fits and stops working at times - but other areas are fine). Works over PTCL's DSL (won't choke your internet bandwidth btw). More expensive (monthly) than Sun TV or local cable. You can rewind and forward on more than half of the channels. And there are quite a whole bunch of channels (including a number of useless local language ones as well as some foreign language ones). (channels go over 100 in count). Has Star Plus and some inhouse channels (5 or 6). You need a set top box (~Rs. 10k) - PTCL does the installation.

Satellite: unless you've subscribed to a DTH provider, it's tricky. Indian DTH providers don't have Pakistani channels on their bouquet, and the service is almost twice as expensive as PTCL's. I haven't seen DTH here (but I've had when I used to live in a different continent).

I don't know how Worldcall's broadband is like in Karachi (it stinks in Lahore, that's for sure... or atleast where I've used it, it sucks there) but PTCL's service reliability greatly depends on the area you live in. One area can be tip-top while another area in the same city could be struggling. When it works, it generally works quite well. When it refuses to work, the customer service reps are a nightmare cause they don't know much. But if you're friends with the lineman, they're like an angel on earth.

Hi Shaheerk,

Thanks a ton for such a detailed info. Really can't express my gratitude enough...!!

Actually I called up Worldcall this morning and asked them to set up the whole thing (Cable + digital tv + broadband ) But later they called back home and told that they still don't have service in my area. I was pretty surprised to know that.

Any ways, I can only see two options from here on, Sun (dwn) or PTCL TV. I already have a broadband from PTCL at home which is actually quite reliable, and any line problems are solved quite earnestly as my mum "helps out" the line man every now and then ... B-). You are correct he is one heck of a important guy to be on good terms with :)

Can you just spare a few more minutes and clarify me a few more things, will appreciate it much:

Upfront / monthly cost estimates for SUN / PTCL: just a ball-park figure will do.

secondly does the wireless antenna/set top box needs to be adjusted quite often? also who will handle the installations/setups?

If I do get PTCL, i believe they won't install a fiber connection, so if my dsl line is down, my home will lose land-line phone, internet and cable... pretty darn bad, won't that be ?

In a nut-shell I just need an idiot-proof digital television connection at home, with decent quality for an lcd tv. Cost probably isn't much of a issue.

Cheers mate!!

I think for watching TV channels the best solution is to get a DTH service+Asiasat3S with one dish. Although it will cost you two receivers but you will have two benefits:

1. Quality of picture with 24hr/365 days service

2. In loadsheddings atleast your TV will work

And for DSL you should continue the use of PTCL DSL with telephoney service.

(I hate forum quoting... very primitive... anyway...)

No prob.

PTCL cost: 10k for the STB, 450 monthly. I don't know if they'll charge you ~500 as installation cost (cause when I re-signed up for IPTV and DSL, I applied for both in one shot - so... I guess keep the ~500 as a buffer in the costs). Total (one-time): 11000 (approx - IF you include the ~500). Billing done in the phonebill.

DWN/Sun: I've heard 10k for the decoder/STB (or if you have your own, ask them for the settings and see if it's compatible and all, because if it is compatible, you'd save this huge chunk of cash... just make sure it has MPEG4 and IRDETO - i think - decryption modes available ), 350 per month (I could be wrong - it may have gone up to 400 per month now), and that's it. Don't know how you're billed, but you can get scratch cards and recharge via the phone, which'll unblock your account.

PTCL: if your DSL is down, it does not necessarily mean your TV will be down. Sometimes the TV is down and the net's working. Sometimes both are down (even though your phone is working) (I've seen the latter case happen with me alot in the last few weeks). If your phoneline's down (e.g. you can't hear a dialtone), your DSL can continue to work.

In short - there's really no correlation between any of the things. If one thing is down, the other could be up and vice versa. So... if you're going to consider reliability as a statistical average of all three or four factors, it's very reliable. If you're going to consider the reliability of one of the factors in isolation of the rest - well - as I said earlier, it varies from area to area.


Installation for both is done by the teams. If the person is a little tech-oriented, they can do it themselves too. It's mostly a "set and forget" type of a system - like any other DTH service, minus the other frills of a DTH service. One plus point in Sun TV is that for some selected channels (haven't seen the box now, but I think it's applicable on Star's channels), you get a Now/Next program info.

Sun TV is usually easier. They'lll probably give you a pre-configured decoder and an antenna, set the direction yourself (they'll probably tell you which direction), hook up the wire, and you should be set. PTCL: you need to wait for them to activate the service on your phoneline, they give you a box, a 4-port ethernet/ADSL modem, and you're done. In both cases, it's mostly a plug-n-play thing.

I'm writing my facts on Sun TV based on what I recall. If you'd ask for my opinion - I'd opt for Sun TV (my experience with PTCL in my area hasn't been swell). Oh - and if watching 30 frames per second motion on television isn't important, you can use PTCL (because you can rewind/forward/pause live television on half of the channels).

^^^lil bit correction. Smart TV box now cost 5K (250 monthly if u go for installments).

As im using both services, i would also recommend DWN because of its reliability. WIll cost you bit more than any other service but its a peace of mind once you get all setup and running, for a long time. Whole setup will cost you no more than 12K (cost of their new MPEG-4 setup. Old STBs are replaceable with new ones at half price). You can get scratch cards from their authorized dealers.