While Netflix and Amazon Prime Video might be more popular the world over, Hotstar is the leading streaming service in India. The service's success is largely down to its competitive pricing and extensive catalogue of India-friendly content, including movies and TV shows in various Indian languages, live sports, and popular global TV shows. Hotstar has now expanded the availability of various live TV channels from the Star network on its mobile apps to all paid subscribers. Some of these channels are Star Plus, Star Jalsa, Star Vijay, Asianet, Star Sports 1, and Star Sports 1 Hindi. Hotstar has been offering Star Network channels live for some time now but earlier the channels were limited to users from certain mobile operators.
Gadgets 360 can confirm that select Star channels are now available live to all paid Hotstar subscribers on both of its Android and iOS apps. Live TV channels can be accessed through the Hotstar app by tapping on the TV section, and then selecting Popular Channels. The list of channels that are streaming live include Star Plus, Star Jalsha, Star Vijay, Star Bharat, Asianet, Star Maa, Star Pravah, Asianet Plus, Star Suvarna, Maa Gold, Star Utsav, Star Sports 1, Star Sports 2, Star Sports Select 1 HD, Star Sports Hindi 1, and Star Spots Select 2 HD. It seems you will need a subscription to Hotstar Premium or Hotstar VIP paid plans to access the live TV channels. The Premium plan is priced at Rs. 299 per month or a heavily discounted price of Rs. 999 per year, while the VIP plan is priced at Rs. 365 per year, with access to only Star network content. We have reached out to Hotstar for more clarity on the matter and will update the report once we hear back.
The live channels stream exactly as what you'll see if you're subscribed to these channels on a cable or DTH TV connection. This is good for users who don't want to select what to watch and prefer to watch what is programmed. Additionally, the availability of sports channels means that users will now be able to stream sports that may not have been separately available on the Hotstar service directly.
Notably, the Star channels aren't the first TV channels to be offered live by Hotstar, the service also allows its users to check out news channels like India Today, Republic TV, Sky News, Fox News, Fox Business, Aaj Tak, ABP News, News Nation, TV9 Bharatvarash, Asianet news, and more live. In fact, the news channels can be watched on the Web version of Hotstar as well, something that is not available for the Star channels right now.
Meanwhile, Disney+ is also getting ready to bring its content to Hotstar on March 29, although there is no word on whether it will impact the Hotstar pricing. The service's name will, however, be changed to Disney+ Hotstar.
Editor's Note: The story has been updated to clarify that the live Star channels have been expanded to all paid subscribers, and are not a new feature.