Users looking for a new streaming device that can make a dumb TV smart are currently spoilt for choice. While Google’s Chromecast and Fire Sticks are compelling options on their own, the likes of the Tata Sky Fire Stick and now Airtel’s Xstream Stick makes the deal even more exciting with a bevy of subsidized and free content offered by Tata Sky and Airtel.
Powered by Google’s Chromecast, the Xstream Stick uses HDMI for connectivity and has a round form-factor on the lines of Chromecast but with Airtel branding. It will essentially turn your television into a version of Google’s Android TV operating system.
Priced at ₹3,999, the Xstream Stick costs as much as the standalone Chromecast, but comes with a whole host of movies and shows from platforms such as Hooq, Eros Now, Shemaroo, Zee5 and Hungama. However, it isn’t free and will cost ₹999 annually. It’s a double-edged sword here. Separately, these platforms will cost you more, but paying extra for content after spending nearly ₹4,000 may put off some users. Having said that, you have to do that on an Amazon Fire TV Stick too, so the value proposition remains almost the same.
The Xstream Stick also gets you free access to movies, TV shows and music from Airtel’s own streaming platforms Xstream (previously known as Airtel TV) and Wynk. However, to access all these goodies, users will have to sign up with an Airtel mobile number and also download the app on their smartphones.
Once the Stick is activated, users can access the content directly, using the hand-held remote (bundled with the Stick) or turn to Google Assistant and get things done with simple voice commands.
The fact that Airtel is bundling its own platforms through this seems to be a result of Reliance Jio’s bundling of its streaming services with various Jio subscriptions.
The Chromecast connection allows users to access other streaming platform such as Prime Video, Netflix, Hotstar and YouTube, and also stream content directly on the TV without involving the smartphone. While the Xstream is clearly a more wholesome version of Chromecast, access to Live TV channels is available on the Airtel
Xstream only on your smartphone.