Pay TV: A cost comparison


Johannesburg - It was 1986 – 29 years ago – and I still remember the excitement of watching M-Net ‘open time’, when the whole country could experience the ‘magic’ for just two hours a day.

DStv has monopolised the pay-TV market for the past three decades, but that is slowly starting to change. We look at some of the options available to you and what might work best for your pocket.

Note that when you compare the different options, you should factor in the cost of your data and internet connection per month. You do not need a smart TV to access any of the options below because you can view content on any device that has an internet capability, such as your laptop, smartphone or tablet.

However, you can use a high-definition TV set with a media-streaming device to access, for example, Netflix, writes Neesa Moodley

DStv, which has had a near monopoly on pay TV in the country until now, offers you different viewing bouquets with different prices to suit your monthly budget.

First, you have to factor in setup costs.

A DStv Explora decoder will cost you R1 999, excluding installation, while a high-definition (HD) decoder will cost you R799, including installation, or R499, excluding installation.

A DStv Explora decoder costs more because it boasts a 2-terabyte hard drive, which allows you to record up to 220 hours’ worth of programmes or movies. An HD PVR, on the other hand, only has a 500GB hard drive, which means you can record up to 50 hours of television.

You also have to buy a satellite dish. One online dish-installation company we found had quotes on its website for satellite dish plus installation ranging from R1 500 for a simple installation up to as much as R7 590 to connect a satellite dish with an HD PVR decoder in up to four points in your home.

DStv’s premium package will give you access to more than 130 channels, of which more than 20 are HD. Popular channels available on the premium package include Nickelodeon, all the SuperSport channels, Vuzu Amp, Discovery Channel and BBC Knowledge.

The monthly cost for the premium package is R699, with an additional R80 optional access fee. The optional access fee applies if you are watching on more than one television.

Or you can opt for DStv Compact, which gives you access to more than 85 channels, including SuperSport 4, SuperSport 3, M-Net Movie Action, Cartoon Network and Disney XD, for R319 a month, or R399 including the optional access fee.

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