Everything To Know About Free-to-air Set Top Box In 2022

Typically, DTH operators worldwide impose activation fees and monthly subscription services based on the channels/Bouquets to be seen by customers. DD Free Dish is a one-of-a-kind Free-to-Air (FTA) DTH platform that does not bill subscribers' activation or monthly membership fees.

DD Free Dish has become a type of lifeline for individuals in India who wish to watch TV channels for free. Mostly during the epidemic, the massive network of channels is indeed keeping Indians updated and offering general entertainment material. It is also assisting in the delivery of education to people without a broadband connection.

In this blog, we’ll discuss what a free-to-air set-top box is and how you can avail of this offer.

What is Free to Air Set Top Box?

The DD Free Dish satellite sends a signal to the Free to Air Set Top Box. It is India's sole free direct-to-home service, created and controlled by Prasar Bharati, the Public Service Television station (Doordarshan). Viewers do not have to pay a monthly membership fee to use a free-to-air set-top box. As per TRAI, there are now 80-100 FTA or Free To Air channels.

News networks, movie channels, music services, radio stations, children's channels, religious/spiritual channels, and much more are available. Regional languages like Bengali, Marathi, Kannada, Odiya, Tamil, and others are also included in FTA channel listings. Because of its strong signals, connection, and cost, FTA is highly popular in rural regions.

DD Free Dish is a Government of India-approved initiative implemented by Prasar Bharati. On November 19, 2003, the proposal was approved by the Cabinet. DD On December 16, 2004, the Prime Minister of India publicly launched the Free Dish service.

The DD Direct+ DTH - free-to-air set-top box price is minimal as it charges only a one-time expenditure for the set-top box as well as a small-sized Dish Antenna with LNB, and it is also very simple to install due to the lack of extensive wiring and space. It now has a capacity of 104 SDTV channels and 40 radio stations. On GSAT-15, DD Free Dish is accessible in Ku-Band. Ku-Band DTH service provides connectivity across the Indian territory (besides Andaman & Nicobar Islands).

Long-term plans for DD Free Dish growth are now in the works. The launch of the new MPEG-4, DVB-S2 broadcast will lead to a rise of Entertainment and Radio channels in the upcoming future. The addition of HD channels to DD Free Dish is also suggested.

The Benefits of Using a Free-to-Air Set-Top Box

  • The significant advantage of a Free to Air Set Top Box is that there are no recurrent costs to see any of the shows because they are transmitted by Prasar Bharti, a Public Service Television network.
  • There is a lower investment for free-to-air set-top boxes since they are less expensive and easier to install.

The Drawbacks of Using a Free-to-Air Set-Top Box

  • The constraint of the Free-To-Air Set-Top Box would be that charged channels could not be subscribed to; just free to air channels transmitted by Public Service Television channel Prasar Bharti may be seen.
  • There are no HD channels available.

What Equipment Do You Receive With DD Free Dish?

The DD Free Dish equipment supplied includes the following items/accessories:

  1. Satellite Antenna
  2. A set-top box including a remote control
  3. RF Wire (to attach Set-Top-Box with the Dish Antenna)

How to Obtain Free-to-Air Channels

The customer must pay a set cost of Rs 160/- as just a monthly membership charge for all free-to-air channels. According to the Hindustan Times, customers with who have registered multiple devices and connections under the same name would be billed a total of 40% of the stated Network Capacity Fee (for additional TV connections).

The free-to-air HD set-top box price has been reduced to Rs 130 for 200 channels, as well as the cost is tax-free.

How & Where To Watch FTA TV Channels

In India, free-to-air (FTA) channels are now offered on three platforms. As a result, you may watch free TV channels by selecting one of the alternatives listed below.


Approximately 600+ free-to-air TV channels are accessible in India through satellite Ku-band as well as C-band transmitters. To get Ku-Band DTH programs, you'll need a minimum 60cm DTH antenna and even a free-to-air set-up box, such as the DD Free dish, which can acquire 150+ free television stations from the GSAT 15 satellite.

If you wish to get C-Band free-to-air TV stations, you may purchase a free-to-air set-top box along with a dish antenna to access FTA channels; free Television networks are accessible on GSAT17, GSAT 15, Asiasat 5, Intelsat 17, and some other satellites.

Digital Terrestrial Platform

Prasar Bharati recently began digitally broadcasting Doordarshan and other DD stations using this technique. Prasar Bharati has already ended analog broadcasting and switched the infrastructure to digital. There are now around 5+ free-to-air channels in various places across India.

Free-to-air channels On The Internet

You can watch these free TV channels by using an internet connection. There are several apps and TV stations that stream their official channels through their own websites. A few examples are Sony LIV, Disney+ Hotstar, Jio TV, 9XM music, MX Player, Airtel TV, and many more.

Types of Free Dish Set-top Box

You can easily stream FTA TV channels on your DTH set-top box, however, you will need to recharge it regularly. On the other hand, you can purchase set-top boxes that are specially used to broadcast only FTA channels through a dish antenna. Please find below the top three free-to-air HD set-top box prices and other details:

1. Belton Alpine DD Free Dish Set-top Box

One of the top FTA set-top boxes, this Belton product costs only INR 1,200 and is packed with multiple features. It is fully compliant with DVB-S2 reception standards and supports IP TV, VOD, WiFi 3G modem and DVR IP camera. Moreover, you can even stream applications like YouTube on this device.

Belton’s FTA set-top box has the capacity to store up to 2000 transponders and 5000 channels, with ports of USB 2.0, MP3, AVI, DAT, MKV, MP4, MPG, VDB, WMA, BMP, JPG photo playback.

2. SOLID Full HD Digital IT-BOX

SOLID is one of the most popular FTA set-top boxes as it provides multiple free-to-air HD set-top boxes in varying price ranges. The SOLID Full HD set-top box is for INR 1950 and provides 1 GB Ram. Furthermore, it is fully compliant with DVB-S reception standards.

This set-top box supports RJ45 ETHERNET LAN & EXTERNAL USB WiFi Antenna, which allows you to connect to the internet and enjoy network apps like YouTube. The device also supports MPEG2/MPEG4/H.264/H.265 HEVC decoding, with a capacity for up to 2000 transponders and 4000 channels.

You can also avail reception for SCPC/MCPC.C+Ku Band reception Support USB 2.0 and OTA software upgrade with this set-top box.

3. GT MEDIA Receiver V8 NOVA

While GT Media offers FTA set-top boxes that cost more than its counterparts, the performance usually justifies the cost. The V8 NOVA costs INR 4,935 and comes with a Full HD digital DVB-S3 receiver, HD STB decoders, and supports AVS+, H.265. However, it’s important to note that this device is exclusively created and supported for free Dish MPEG4 purpose only.

You can save up to 10000 channels, including TV and radio, along with 32 different groups selection. As the device has a built-in WiFi module, you can connect to the internet using Ethernet or using a USB dongle.


Choosing a DTH connection over cable TV has a lot of perks, and being able to stream content without having to pay large bills is definitely a cherry on the cake. With a free-to-air set-top box at low prices in India, you can now enjoy FTA channels without any worries. To learn more about the FTA channel list, keep reading Selectra.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How does DD Free Dish function?

First and foremost, as the name implies, DD's Free Dish DTH service is completely free. This implies that if you purchase the necessary equipment (a set-top box and a dish) to receive DD Free Dish signals, you will not be required to pay a monthly membership fee, as is the case with private DTH platforms.

How many channels are offered by DD Free Dish?

DD Free Dish includes 116 TV channels, 94 of which are in MPEG-2 format and 22 of which are in MPEG-4 format.

How can I obtain access to free-to-air channels?

Over 600 free-to-air TV stations are accessible in India through satellite Ku-band and C-band transponders. To get Ku-Band DTH channels, you'll need a minimum 60cm DTH antenna and a free-to-air set-top box, such as the DD Free dish, which can receive 150+ free TV channels from the GSAT15 satellite.

Can I watch the premium channel with a free dish?

You cannot see paid channels on a free DD free dish since it lacks a frequency range to connect to their satellite.

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