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IndustryPay television
Founded1995; 25 years ago (1995)
HeadquartersFerndale, Gauteng, South Africa
Area served
Sub-Saharan Africa

DStv (Digital Satellite Television) is a Sub-Saharan African direct broadcast satellite service owned by MultiChoice. The service launched in 1995 provides multiple channels and services to their subscribers, which currently number around 20 million.[1] The majority of subscribers are in South Africa and Nigeria, with Kenya, Ghana, Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, Mauritius, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Lesotho, Ethiopia, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Swaziland and Botswana additionally served by the company.


In 1986 pay-television came to South Africa when an analogue, single-channel service, M-Net, was launched by Naspers. For almost seven years, all of M-Net's operations were handled by a single company until 1993 when a second subsidiary company, Multichoice, was created by Naspers. The decoder sales, subscriber services, account management and other business related matters were handled by Multichoice.[2]

In 1995 a new digital satellite service in South Africa was announced by Multichoice and on 6 October 1995 DStv was officially activated to subscribers. The original selection of channels included M-Net, MGM, TNT, Sci-Fi Universal, SuperSport, ESPN, Cartoon Network, BBC World News, CNN International and Sky News amongst others.

This was followed by the launch of new services including: W4 Eutelsat satellite with Ku-band services to sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands in 2000, Interactive Television in 2002, Dual View decoder in 2003, and the DStv PVR decoder and DStv Compact in 2005.

DStv's own high definition broadcasts, viewed via the HD PVR decoder were launched in 2008. This year also saw the introduction of the XtraView Decoder and the M-NET HD channel.

In 2010, DVB over IP (Digital Video Broadcast over Internet Protocol) and DStv on Demand services were launched. The HD PVR 2P decoder was launched in the same year and M-NET Movies 1 HD was broadcast for the first time. DStv BoxOffice (a movie on demand service) and DStv Mobile were launched in 2011.

In 2013, DStv subscribers across Africa reached 6.7 million, with 4.5 million within South Africa[3] and the Explora PVR was launched.[4]

Two Indian channels, Zee World and Glow (Hindi dubbed into English), were launched in 2015. A third, Star Life (an English-language Indian channel), was launched in 2018.

In 2018, across Sub-Saharan Africa there were 13.5 million DStv subscribers with 7 million in South Africa alone. The number of DStv PVR decoders reached 1.4 million in that year.

As of November 2020, DStv's overall subscriber base now stands at 20.1 million, split between 8.7 million in South Africa and 11.4 million in the rest of Africa.[1]

Channels and bouquets[edit]

DStv airs more than 200 television and audio/radio stations. The list of channels differs in all regions around Sub-Saharan Africa. There are six bouquets, each with a different price range, and two add-on packages for Indian and Portuguese channels.[5]

DStv Indian

This package offers Indian channels such as Zee TV, StarPlus and Colors TV.

DStv Portuguese

This package offers the best channels from Mexico and Latin America including Telemundo, TV5 Monde and TV Record.

DStv EasyView (South Africa only)

The basic package which allows clear viewing of the free-to-air channels from SABC and e.tv.

DStv Lite (Zimbabwe only)

The lowest package in the country, with a total of 25 TV channels including Zimbabwe's ZBC TV and e.tv Africa.

DStv Access[5]

The low-end package which includes movies (TNT, M-Net Movies 4, eMovies, Africa Magic Epic etc.), reality (RealTime, CBS Reality, TLC, etc.) cartoons (Cartoon Network, Disney Junior, Cbebies,etc), local music, religion, sport updates and audio channels.

DStv Family

A family-orientated package with a mix of channels like M-NET Movies 4 Moja Love, Africa Magic Family, Boomerang, Discovery Family, NickToons and Star Life.

DStv Compact

The mid-range tier from DStv. It is the most popular of all bouquets,[citation needed] due to the content from Mzansi Magic, BET, MTV, FOX , local and international soccer from PSL, EPL, Serie A, La Liga, live WWE wrestling and international music.

Part of the subscription grants access to JOOX music streaming[6] and more live channels on the DStv Now app, and a subsidised subscription on Showmax.

DStv Compact Plus

Previously DStv Extra, includes Comedy Central, 1Magic, CBS Justice, CuriosityStream, KykNET , Nickelodeon, WildEarth, MTV Music 24, international news from Sky News and more...

Like DStv Compact, viewers get access to JOOX and a wider choice of live channels to stream on the DStv Now App.

DStv Premium

The high-end tier of DStv. Premiere episodes of international HBO series on M-Net and wildlife from Discovery Channel , newly released movies on M-Net Movies 1, 2, fileKNET and music.

In addition to JOOX, subscribers get free access to subscription video-on-demand service Showmax.[7]

Reception equipment[edit]

DStv has their set-top boxes manufactured by domestic company Altech UEC, along with Arris International. The choice of boxes include a standard box with "XtraView" capabilities, an older personal video recorder, and the newest PVR box known as the Explora. An additional decoder known as the Drifta (discontinued) allows the conversion of a DStv DVB-H signal to another digital device such as a laptop, tablet or smartphone for portable in-home viewing.[8]

DStv App[edit]

DStv also offers the mobile app, DStv Now for mobile and tablet devices, along with PC to control DVRs and parental controls and allow access to recorded content and video on demand services.

In October 2020, DStv Now was officially rebranded to plain old "DStv" without any apparent changes in the features of the application.


  1. ^ a b "DStv rakes in subscribers, but they're spending less on average". techcentral.co.za. 11 November 2019. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  2. ^ "our-history". naspers.com. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  3. ^ "DStv – more subscribers, more money". mybroadband.co.za. 25 June 2013.
  4. ^ "DStv Explora to Revolutionise TV in SA – detail". Multichoice. Archived from the original on 2 December 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Compare DStv Packages". www.dstv.co.za. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  6. ^ "The Family Plan by DStv | Unlimited Free Music". JOOX. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  7. ^ "Add Showmax to DStv Premium". www.dstv.com. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  8. ^ Drifta – decoders

External links[edit]