India

TataSky+ HD DTH

Choosing a DTH provider in India is tougher than choosing a spouse. I have had a Full HD 32″ LCD TV for a year but I was still running on the old cable connection. Finally I thought it’s time to move on. Main lure was the presence of HD channels. Lots of channels are now available in High Definition and I also wanted a DVR to be able to record shows and pause live TV. So I began hunting for a DTH service.

I had following options to choose from

TataSky
Dish TV
Airtel Digital TV
Reliance Big TV
Videocon D2H
Sun Direct DTH

First I asked my cable guy if they have a Set top box. They do have but it’s not HD and no DVR so it was out of contention. Hathway Cable has started HD services but they are not available in my locality. (Cable guys have divided areas amongst themselves to avoid competition.)

Dish and TataSky are oldest in India. Airtel, Reliance, Videocon and Sun are new and boast of MPEG-4 compression which seemingly has better quality over MPEG-2 of the older players. So At first I decided to only look at the four new players.

Sun is strong in south but their HD offerings were least exciting. Their web site is also enough to put someone off instantly. So that was out immediately.

Reliance is boasting of providing 250 HD channels but all of them are upscaled. The real HD channels are only 6 whereas Airtel and Videocon have 10 and 11 respectively. So the choice was quickly narrowed down to Airtel and Videocon.

I was more interested in English movies and infotainment channels like Discovery and Nat Geo. Videocon had more HD channels that mattered to me. Airtel didn’t have ESPN, Star Cricket and Travel XP in HD instead they had UTV stars and History TV. Videocon didn’t have History TV in HD but had the other three. The main lure was Travel XP, because I had seen that one at a hotel and instantly liked it. Only Videocon and Dish TV carry Travel XP at the moment. Videocon had the best price. Their highest package (Platinum+HD) included all their channels and HD for Rs. 441 per month and even less if I prepaid for entire year. The same thing was costing Rs.486 at Airtel where HD had to be bought separately and all HD channels were not part of that bouquet. Videocon only had a 160 GB hard disk in the DVR against 320 GB of Airtel but I thought I could live with that.

Meanwhile I also checked out TataSky and Dish TV. Dish didn’t really have too much to offer in HD department and they didn’t have a HD DVR either (at least I couldn’t find one on their site) besides Dish’s highest plan was at 550 something so I put a cross mark against it. Then I looked at TataSky. They had 8 HD channels. The 3 missing ones were Colors, Movies Now and Travel XP. Missing Movies Now HD was a huge minus for me. TataSky was the first to introduce DVR in India and they have the largest capacity disk on DVR – 500 GB which can record 700 hours of SD programming. That was huge and they had a super annual package that included all of the channels including HD for one year and a fixed price for the entire year. Any new channels added in the next year will be part of this package as well. That was a huge advantage, but videocon was still cheaper and had two HD channels that I cared about – MoviesNow and TravelXP.

So I decided to go with Videocon. I went online to purchase and boom! The HD DVR was no longer available! I called the customer support to enquire for the same, the guy put me hold for 10 minutes and the call dropped. That kind of put me off. Next day I got a call from them and I was told the HD DVR is now available only in Mumbai so they have taken it off website and are selling it only in cash. I didn’t like it. I weighed different options again and once again came to the conclusion that Videocon was best. So I was ready to buy it. Then I decided to check out their Facebook account. And over there I read a comment from someone about History TV not being available! I knew History was not available in HD but not at all?? What the hell!!

History channel was recently relaunched and rebranded as History TV 18 and had some kick ass shows like Ice Road Truckers and was an absolute must! Even my cable guy provided it! Now this was too much. Videocon didn’t have a great website, DVR was not available online, customer support didn’t really look that good and the DVR had only 160 GB storage. Videocon was cancelled and I went back to drawing board. Now the choice was between Airtel and TataSky. I had called TataSky and confirmed, they too had switched to MPEG-4. Airtel had better HD package but was expensive, TataSky had a larger capacity disk and on the online forums I read they had been adding new HD channels regularly over last couple of months. Two months back they didn’t even have these many HD channels. They are slow in adding channels but they do add. And with the Mega Lite pack that I was considering I would get them all at no extra cost. TataSky also has a service called Video On Demand where I can connect the box to Internet and I can download videos, even movies and shows from the past 5 days and I would have ample space to store all the content. At this point I think its a unique feature provided only by TataSky.

So TataSky it was. TataSky+ HD to be specific. I paid Rs. 10,200 for which I got HD DVR with 500 GB hard disk, full year subscription for the Mega Lite pack which included all channels carried by TataSky including HD, 12 showcase movies and 1 year subscription to BusinessWorld magazine. And under a special offer I got 500 Rs. credit in my account. Paid it yesterday, and it was installed at my home today morning.

And I am loving it already! The HD clarity is awesome! Finally my HD TV is doing what it was supposed to do! The DVR is perfect, I have already set it up to record a couple of movies that will be telecast today. They have an app for Android phones where by I can give instructions to record any program from anywhere. In fact I set up one of the movies to be recorded from my mobile. Videocon and Airtel have such programs too but TataSky’s app is most polished and slick amongst all.

I am happy with my decision. Having a couple more HD channels would have been great but I am sure they will be added soon.

Isko laga dala to life jhingalala!

The real cost of Zero interest EMI on credit cards

Many banks offer zero interest EMIs on credit card transactions. They apparently don’t charge any interest but only take a one time processing fee which looks to be very reasonable.

Say you bought something for 6000 on a credit card and bank offers you an interest free option of paying it back in six months with a one time processing charge of Rs. 70 per thousand. Do you think its a good deal? 70 per 1000 doesn’t look like much although if you calculate you would see that its 7%. So on a 6000 sum your processing charges will be Rs. 420. You pay 420 up front and then pay 1000 every month. So 7% looks like the rate of interest that company charged you isn’t it? Even though they say its zero interest.

Wrong. Nothing comes for free. And there’s no such thing as a free lunch and no such thing as zero interest loan. And you think you just paid 7%? That looks really low compared to home loan rates of 11.5%, auto loans of 12%, personal loans at 24%. Lets calculate the real rate of interest you actually paid.

Remember you paid 7% for using 6000 for six months. So on a per annum basis the rate of interest comes out to 14%. But its not really 14% either because you are paying the interest in advance. Not unlike a typical loan where you pay the interest at the end of each month AFTER using the money for that month. Here you are paying the processing fee BEFORE using the money. You paid 420 on 6000 and you will still pay 1000 every month. In effect you only got to enjoy 5580 in the first month. And on that principle amount you will be paying an EMI of 1000 per month.

Using the Interest rate calculator at yash.info/emicalc you will see that a loan of 5580 for 6 months where you pay 1000 EMI is having a rate of interest of 25.36%! That’s the real cost of the supposedly zero interest EMI scheme on the card.

PS: How clever are the banks to disguise a 25% rate of interest in sweet words like Rs. 70 per thousand. They don’t even say Rs. 7 per 100 because that “sounds” too much. Anyone can instantly calculate that 7 per thousand is 7% but 70 per thousand doesn’t really sound like that much.

However Kotak Mahindra Bank is having a genuinely zero charge EMI option for three months where they don’t charge interest or processing fees. And so do ICICI, Citibank and HDFC for transactions on eBay (For 3 EMI option only). I have tried them and I know they are genuine zero charge but all those 6 months, 9 months are just hogwash.

Edit: Kotak has withdrawn the 3 months, zero charge, zero interest EMI option, however almost all major eCommerce vendors now have tie ups with credit card providers to offer 3 months zero charge EMIs. ICICI, HDFC and Citibank seem to be available on every major site.

Cricket unites the nation – India has arrived!

India won the Cricket World Cup last night and what followed that on the streets of Mumbai and rest of the country was just amazing.

People of all strata just poured onto the roads. On bikes, cars, auto rickshaws, trucks, waving flags, shouting, dancing, cheering, high fiving!!! People were stopping cars and congratulating strangers, young boys and girls were popping out of cars, people were sitting in car trunks with tailgates open and car stereos blaring at full volume!!!

It was euphoric! It was unprecedented. In my life of 29 years, I have never seen anything like this. It was something different!

I have never seen so many Indian flags on roads. It was middle of the night and no one was sleeping. There was a traffic jam on all roads and no one was minding. There were no quarrels, no fights, just pure jubilation!!!

Nothing unites this country as cricket does. The sense of Indianness, the sense of patriotism was in the air. Young people of India were chanting Jai Ho, Vande Mataram, Bharat Mata ki Jai and it wasn’t a political rally! It was the Gen X at its best! People were drinking beer, waving flags, whistling, shouting and there were no inhibitions!

I feel this is advent of a new India. We Indians have never been so confident. The celebrations last night were not just for winning a sport, it was a celebration for something much more.

It was an announcement by the India of today that we have arrived! The way team India won the world cup, it was a show of sheer determination. It was the will to fight against all odds. A strong resolve to prove all nay sayers wrong. Team India lead by the charismatic Mahendra Singh Dhoni was out to prove a point. They wanted to win it. Every individual of the team wanted it so badly that they just gave it their all. From the strong batting line up to their exceptional bowling skills, which they had probably sharpened every day with bowling machines from the Meulemans Cricket Centre (https://www.meulemans.com.au/product-category/bowling-machines/), everything worked in their favour; like the entire Universe was conspiring to get India that much deserved cup. Everyone wanted to do it for the team, the nation and ONE man that the nation loves – Sachin Tendulkar. This one man has been playing for the country for past 21 years, he has played in the six world cups and achieved almost every glory except the one that matters the most. The young Indian team was determined to do it for Sachin. AND DONE IT THEY HAVE!!!

The young members of the team showed yesterday that they are confidant of their abilities to win against all odds. After loosing the two match winning openers at the start of the game while chasing a huge total in a high pressure game, no one would have given team India a chance. Me including. But the young lads Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir rose to the occasion and showed the nation and the world that they CAN win! The captain of the ship, came on the ground and played the best innings of his cricketing history. He demonstrated to all those questioning his ability and his decisions on the field that he is the master and he knows what he is doing. Dhoni won the cup! He won it for a nation of 1.2 billion people.

And people erupted. 1.2 billion people are sick and tired of corruption, scams, terrorism, inflation and this team gave them a reason to rejoice. It gave them a moment of pride, a sense of Indianness and a really proud feeling that yes, we Indians have finally arrived at the stage. Our victories are not a fluke. It was a show of confidence. It was a show of consistency. Beating World Champions Australia, fierce Pakistan and competitive Sri Lanka on the trot was not a stroke of luck! It was pure brilliance and the way we came back in the final after the initial jolt – it was our moment!

Cricket is the religion in India and Sachin is the GOD. And yesterday the young lads gifted their GOD with the ultimate glory – one for which he had waited 20 years! It was team that paid its homage to the GOD of cricket when they carried him on his shoulders. It was the tribute for what he has done for the people of this nation. And they also demonstrated that they are now capable of winning even if he has an off day. That must be making Tendulkar really proud. That he is going to leave behind a team that is the champion and no more dependent on an individual’s genius.

It was a team effort, and people of India know it. If we can win the cup, we can do ANYTHING.

WE ARE THE WORLD

Takeaway from the Ind-Aus match

Ponting’s century in the face of all the criticism that he has had to take in lately. Can not take away the fact that it was a brilliant innings on a testing track.

Defiant Aussie nature – the way Lee was bleeding after that ball hit his eye, I thought he wouldn’t come back, but he was back after 2 overs and bowling with fire.

Sensible batting by Yuvi and Raina – After Dhoni got out, I thought it was all over. ANOTHER collapse looked imminent. But thanks to Yuvi and Raina, who batted sensible without taking any undue risks which made sure we got thorough.

Viru, Kohli and Dhoni gave away their wickets on stupid stroke play. Dhoni should have taken a cue from his Aussie counterpart and played a more responsible innings.

Gambhir, well I give him benefit of doubt. It was more of Yuvi’s fault. But he did his job well. All’s well that ends well.

And the GOD! It was GOOD to see GOD bowl after a long long time! Bowl more often sir. We can not get enough of you!

Why no revolution will take place in India?

Ever since Egypt has erupted, I have seen some Indians and some media people asking when will such a revolution take place in India keeping in light the scams of Kalmadi, Raja, Radia etc.

Such a revolution (thankfully) will not happen in India.

It’s because Indians are employed. Employed people have better things to do.

Look around. People are buying. Buying in big numbers and buying everything – food, apparel, electronics, gold, FMCG, insurance, cars, bikes, air tickets, movie tickets you name it and people are buying it! And the consumption is not led by a handful of of rich people, it’s the middle class that is buying. Go visit a Big Bazaar, Croma or Hypercity and you will see it literally thronged by people. People from all classes.

Gone are those days when jobs were scarce and even double graduates would find it difficult to land a job. The power has shifted to employees. I run a business and I know! Finding people from Peon or Project Manager is a daunting task. Finding and retaining people is becoming a challenge. Even finding a domestic help, a cook, baby sitter or a carpenter is becoming difficult. Everybody and anybody who has some education or some skill is able to find work, is earning and in turn SPENDING.

Indian democratic system, however corrupt or inept makes rotation of power possible. Our judicial process may be slow but our judiciary still has power. A corrupt democracy is better than a dictatorship where the money is engulfed by a single person. At least in a democracy, people will be wary of open corruption. It’s the power of democracy where ministers have to resign for a scam and get arrested. People don’t need to get on the streets like Egypt to remove the corrupt from power.

As long as there is democracy and hence rotation of power, economic progress will keep on going. Politicians need popular support to retain the power. In a democratic society the only way is to share the progress with people. As long as the economy is doing good, people won’t mind a few corrupt people. It’s better to have 10 corrupt people in charge and sharing the loot amongst themselves than having a dictator who runs the country as his personal kingdom.

Touching feet and gifting money – Stupid Indian Traditions

Touching the feet is one stupid Indian tradition. It’s meant to show respect towards the elders and it’s a way of seeking blessings.

Asking for blessings? Excuse me! What is that? Blessings? What does it do? You obviously don’t have any super power to make radical changes in my life, so put the blessing things away!

Respect? Sure I respect other people, not just people who are older than me but also people who are younger than me! There are other ways of showing respect. Touching the feet is NOT one of them! Smile, shake hand, say a few warm words, give a hug. That’s enough to show your respect. No individual deserves any special gesture like touching feet just by the virtue of being older! Radical? Yes!

I have always disliked this stupid practice. Partly because of my dad. Whenever someone would try to touch his feet, he would stop him or her and would rather shake hands or give a hug, but touching the feet? Big NO! That is what he inculcated in me I believe. (Something that my mom frowns upon, but we have our way). They should just do the normal thing and give a gift like a saw to the men. Because who doesn’t like tools that you can craft and fix new things. Here are some sliding mitre saw reviews. This is one of my favorite saws.

Most of the people don’t actually touch the feet, they only bend slightly and reach out till knees giving an impression of touching the feet. Cut the crap guys! Who are you fooling!!

It’s more of a cultural thing, I know. It’s how we Indians show respect towards elders. But not all cultural things are good or necessary. Sati was once in our culture, but that was the most stupid thing to have happened to human intelligence and it’s no longer there. Touching feet is another stupid thing. The oldies really get on my nerves when they equate the action with “Sanskar” – the familial value system. If you don’t touch feet, you lack Sanskar! If you do, you are a very “good” boy with good Sanskars! WTF!!!

Another Indian tradition is gifting the money. This one is amazing. You visit someone’s home on some good occasion, the elders give you money. These gifts for teen boys are awesome and easy to do. Some number ending with 1. Depending on the nature of the relationship and wealth of the giving party the amount could be Rs. 21, 51, 101, 151, 201 like that. When I and my wife visit our uncles’ homes, we get money. When their kids visit our home, my parents return the favour. The favour is mostly returned in the proportion of favours received! People actually keep track of money thus received in a diary!! Especially on occasions like wedding and reciprocate at a suitable occasion to the other party!! I don’t see any logic. I visit their home I get 100 Rupees, they come to our house they get 100 Rupees back. So why get in all such useless transactions?!!

We need to cut the useless crap! Can’t have stupidities rolling around in our daily life.

Update 1:

This is not an issue of hygiene at all. Me not liking the practice of touching feet has to do with me being an atheist. Touching feet somehow gives a deity like status to humans. And since I don’t believe in any deities and gods, I see no reason to make gods out of humans. As I have mentioned being older does not give any extra qualities to a person. And when it comes to parents we humans are not doing any favours to our kids by giving them birth or raising them. We are just performing a biological function which our genes make us do.

Update 2:

Troll comments, repetitive comments, COMMENTS IN ALL CAPS will be deleted. This is my blog, I decide what I publish. Got it? If you don’t like it, head to tumblr or wordpress and start your own blog.

If you don’t want to disappoint your friends or relatives with your present you should just visit https://www.productexpert.com/best-body-vibration-platform-machines/. You will find there a lot of good ideas.

Can we punish people behind 26/11?

It’s been two years since the ghastly attack on India took place in my Mumbai.

As usual our PM vows to bring 26/11 perpetrators to book.

Mr Singh, do you have courage to order RAW to start an insurgency in Pakistan and assassinate the perpetrators in their home? Like Israel did to perpetrators of Munich massacre?

We don’t need to “bring them to book” we know what is happening with Kasab in the name of judicial proceedings. That fucker is still alive and eating our food at the cost of taxpayers!

Can we do that Mr Singh?

India in 2030

  • Sachin plays his 300th test for India and scores 100th Century. Coach Ishant Sharma applauds him.
  • Abhishek Bachchan’s daughter debuts against Rajnikant in a Hollywood production.
  • Amir Khan has been making a movie for 5 years – perfectionist ha!
  • Salman Khan is still bachelor!
  • PM Rahul Gandhi introduces his teenaged son to politics, India has a new PM in making.
  • Advani is trying yet again to be the PM from the hospital bed.
  • Lalu is still in Bihar
  • Mayawati gets her name in Guinness Book of Records for being the person having maximum statues in the world. 12,374 at last count!
  • India hosts Olympic for the first time at the cost of 50% of Country’s GDP! Organiser Suresh Kalmadi buys an entire island in Dubai and settles there for ever. Indians are FINALLY happy to see him go!
  • Top 10 people in Forbes’ rich list are Indians – mostly living outside India.
  • Prince William and Prince Henry visit Mumbai, travel with the dubbawalas in AirTaxi and praise their service.
  • There are 3526 news channels and on any given day you can find more reporters on the road than beggars.
  • Mumbai has a population of 5 crores.
  • India has two mobile phones per person.
  • Nokia is PAYING people to use its phones!

Gandhi and 26/11? WTF!

Manas Kumar Sahu – the sand painting artist – and his team performed on India’s Got Talent. They started with a scene of 26/11, drew the Mumbai skyline, Tajmahal Hotel, Gateway of India, then drew a terrorist and finally ended with a portrait of Gandhi. Everybody gave them a standing ovation. Fair enough. But what message were they trying to convey? That we should reply to terrorism in Gandhi’s way? What’s the bloody connection of Gandhi with 26/11? Gandhian philosophy of non violence was good 50 years back against the British government. They were civilized people with a base and a civil society. The terrorists have no base, no society. Nothing that will make them introspect. They just understand one language – language of bullets! And they deserve just that! Stop bringing Gandhi as a solution to every fucking problem! Let him be on the currency notes only!

Tendulkar wants fans to react with responsibility and balance! My foot!

http://cricket.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/t20articleshow/4668306.cms

Tendulkar said he was disappointed with India’s failed title defence but at the same time felt the fans back home needed to show more “responsibility and balance” in their reaction.

“I feel there is very high emotions among the people when they react. But do these reactions help us to play better? Not really. These actually put more pressure on the players. We have got to be mature and be with the team,” Tendulkar said.

Dude since we have high emotions attached with this game, you and your ilk are so rich! Look at players of other sports. We are emotional? Hell yeah we are! you win, we’ll make you god, you lose, we’ll burn your effigies! We are like that. Take it or leave it! You have been playing for 20years, you should know better by now! Don’t teach us how to be good fans, learn to play better cricket!

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