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Home / Mint-lounge / Features /  Live streaming sports and more: Hotstar, Sony LIV, Ditto TV bring all the action

Online streaming services are no longer restricting themselves to just movies and TV series. Off late, one can watch a game of football or an Olympic Games rush for the gold medal, in real time, on their smartphone or laptops. Even if you don't have access to a cable or direct to home (DTH) connection at some point of time, you may not necessarily miss out on your favourite sports action.

While the likes of Ditto TV (owned by Zee TV) charge a monthly subscription for all its content, Hotstar (Star India) and Sony LIV (Sony Pictures) offer premium as well as free content. 

What makes these online streaming services as good as TV channels is the availability of all the content that people want to watch. For instance, Hotstar Premium will be broadcasting every single match of the English Premier League 2016-17, something which will be a herculean effort for the Star Select HD 1 and Select HD 2 TV channels together to even come close to.

But, this is where the fragmentation is still making matters a bit complicated. While Ditto TV will be able to broadcast matches that the Ten Sports network has the broadcast rights for, Sony LIV will be the go-to destination for live sports coverage from the rights that Sony Six and Sony ESPN channels currently have, for example. 

Live sports coverage: The scenario right now

When it comes to sports coverage, Hotstar has more content to offer than any if its rivals. It is the only service where you can watch the ongoing England-Pakistan cricket series, the Olympic games and all the 380 matches of the Premier League. Hotstar also the exclusive digital telecast rights of German Bundesliga football league, the current Formula 1 season and the Wimbledon tennis championships. While Hotstar also has a free tier where users can access some content including Live sports action, a lot of the content is currently available only to Premium subscribers who need to pay 199 per month. Either tier anyway get access to HD quality streaming. The only problem at present with Hotstar is that it is a pain to search for content. The interface looks cluttered, and there is still no clear segregation of different genres of content. During the Olympics, it was actually impossible to find the Live stream of the England vs. Pakistan cricket test match, unless you manually searched for it. 

Sony LIV has the digital broadcasting rights over La Liga football league from Spain as well as the Australian Open, some ATP and WTA tennis tournaments.

Incidentally, it was also the exclusive digital broadcaster for Euro 2016 and Copa America 2016 held earlier this summer. Sony LIV offers a lot of the Live sports content without charging a subscription fees at present, and also has the subscription pack that costs 149 per month for all the premium content which includes TV shows and more. 

Ditto TV streams live content from all Ten Sports channels (Ten 1, Ten 2, Ten 3 and Ten HD, for example) for a monthly subscription of 20. The ongoing Australia-Sri Lanka cricket series is being covered live by it, for example. They also have rights for more sports content, such as US Open tennis, UEFA Champions League and even the surprisingly very popular WWE wrestling shows.

TV series and movies: the basics, beyond sports

Hotstar, Sony LIV and Ditto TV have a wide-range of TV series and movies to offer. And that is expected, considering it is these two genres of content which put these streaming services on the map. Most of the TV series on Sony LIV are free and include those which are broadcast on the various Sony TV channels. These episodes are added after a few hours of their telecast on the TV.

Hotstar follows the same process and all its Indian TV series is basically a repeat telecast of what was shows on the Star channels. Under its Premium pack, it offers several international TV series and HBO Original shows such as True Detective, Game of Thrones and How I Met Your Mother. Episodes of Game of Thrones Season 6 were available on Hotstar within an hour of its broadcast on HBO in the US. Hotstar Premium also offers some of the recently released Hindi as well as English movies.

Sony LIV is very strong in movies and has huge library of Hollywood as well as Indian movies.

Meanwhile, Ditto TV has a significant advantage here because it is more of a broadcasting service which allows users to watch as many as 100 TV channels including Zee Studio, Zee Cafe, MTV, and a wide range of regional Indian channels as well.  

Live news: the next frontier?

Live News is immensely popular with Indian users. Ditto TV has an edge as it provides real time coverage from several Indian and international news channels such as India Today, Aaj Tak, Zee News, CNBC, CNN, BBC News and Al Jazeera.

Sony LIV doesn’t have live news TV channels or news channels in its portfolio at present.

Hotstar has every limited portfolio when it comes to news channels. The only two news channels on it are Fox News and Sky News, but interesting to note that both are available without the Premium subscription for the moment. 

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