- DStv introduction
- Where is it available?
- How can a VPN unblock DStv?
- Which VPNs are best for the job?
- VPN alternative: Smart DNS
- DStv performance against Netflix and co.
- DStv fights back
The US has AT&T, the UK has Virgin Media, and South Africa has DStv. Yes, these are some of the most dominant pay-television providers. And even though they have millions of satellite and cable subscribers, they also launched their own streaming services.
But when it comes to online channels, it is Netflix who reigns supreme, claiming the largest market share. Still, DStv, with its extensive list of international and local programs, is quite popular. It has over 15 million subscribers across Sub-Saharan Africa, with seven million in South Africa alone.
Unfortunately, though, the service is only available in a few countries across Africa. So those who try to access it from abroad will face an error message instead. But in this modern age, nothing is impossible. Even online geographic restrictions can be avoided with the right tools.
So scroll down to find out how you can stream DStv when you’re abroad with a VPN or a Smart DNS.
- What Is DStv?
- Who Can Access DStv?
- Are VPNs Legal?
- How to Install a VPN
- Free vs. Paid – Which One Is Better?
- Unblock DStv with Smart DNS
- DStv Fights Against Streaming Channels
- What Will DStv Do to Compete?
- DStv Channels
- DStv Compatible Devices
What Is DStv?
Digital Satellite Television, better known as DStv, is a pay-TV satellite service that operates in Sub-Saharan Africa. MultiChoice launched it in 1995, and it went on to be a huge success.
Today, MultiChoice dominates the market in South Africa and the region, with over 15 million subscribers to its name. That’s mostly thanks to DStv’s exquisite lineup of programs and channels that bring viewers the best in entertainment, news, sports, and much more.
I’m talking about the likes of M-Net Movies, Fox, Comedy Central, MTV, Discovery, eMovies, ITV, and SuperSport. These channels aren’t just available via satellite subscription. You can also access them with DStv Now, a streaming service similar yet different to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
It allows existing DStv subscribers to watch their favorite shows online through apps and web browsers. You can either stream programs live or on-demand. The Catch-up feature stores DStv movies and series up to 28 days, in case you missed any live episodes.
DStv Now went under the knife last year as MultiChoice decided it was time for a new interface. The makeover would optimize users’ ability to “discover content.” The service also introduced lower bitrates to give subscribers more options to manage data usage.
Pricing and Packages
DStv offers multiple subscription plans to fit everyone’s budget. That’s another significant reason behind its success and popularity. You can purchase the service for as low as $1.93 or go for the most expensive package at the cost of $53.91.
- EasyView: 37 channels (R29 – $1.93).
- Access: 68 channels (R105 – $7.00).
- Family: 86 channels (R265 – $17.66).
- Compact: 117 channels (R399 – $26.60).
- Compact Plus: 131 channels (R519 – $34.59).
- Premium: 148 channels (R809 – $53.91).
Each plan will give you access to a different set of channels. The higher you go, the more content you’ll receive. You can visit the DStv website and compare packages.
But in short, the basic plan only unlocks a limited number of options like TNT Africa, SABC Encore, e.TV Extra, and SuperSport Blitz. As for the premium subscription, it allows you to watch every channel. That includes every SuperSport and M-Net service, as well as international outlets like BBC, ITV, Comedy Central, Fox, MTV, and Discovery.
Who Can Access DStv?
As you can see, DStv is an excellent service that provides the South African people with their daily dosage of television. But it is not just restricted to RSA; it’s also available in other countries in the region like Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana.
The lousy part is that both DStv and DStv Now are unavailable outside that particular region. Due to licensing agreements, the streaming service must block viewers who live outside its coverage area from accessing its content. Therefore, when you try to watch any program from the US, for example, the following message will appear on your screen:
“Sorry, DStv Now isn’t available in your region.”
Your device’s IP address reveals your location to the Internet. So once DStv Now sees that you are outside its broadcasting zone, it will deny your access.
Is There a Way Around It?
Your geographic position is obviously the problem here. But since you cannot keep going back and forth between your current location and South Africa, you need a much practical solution.
Instead of changing your physical whereabouts, why don’t you switch to a South African IP address? Sounds much easier, right?
The only way to hide your actual Internet Protocol address and replace it with another one is with a VPN. This tool will also redirect your traffic to a foreign server of your choice, making it appear as if you were there. And this entire process requires the minimum effort from your part.
Just connect to a server from South Africa, open the DStv website or app, and enjoy your favorite programs no matter where you are.
Are VPNs Legal?
Virtual private networks, aka VPNs, don’t just allow you to bypass geo-blocks. They also offer the toughest encryptions to prevent anyone who tries to monitor your online activity or data. Moreover, these programs can help you avoid online censorship that governments impose.
As a result, a lot of users question the legitimacy of these brilliant tools.
Well, allow me to calm your fears and confirm that VPN usage is perfectly legal, as long as you’re not using it to break the law, of course. But some countries ban the usage of VPNs, like North Korea and Iraq, And you could get in trouble with the law if you get caught.
There’s nothing wrong with keeping track of your favorite shows, even if you were abroad. And it’s perfectly fine if you try to access certain websites that your government has banned. And what if you want to protect yourself when you connect to public WiFi? Your only solution is a VPN.
However, if you use a VPN for illegal purposes, you’re breaking the law. Simply put, anything unlawful without a VPN is still that way when using one. For example:
Torrenting and P2P File-sharing
VPNs are a great way to hide your identity and cover your tracks. That’s why torrent users love it so much. However, sharing copyrighted material is illegal and could result in fines and/or prison time.
Besides, torrent websites and links often contain dangerous malware. Therefore, I recommend you avoid them.
Illegal Activities on the Dark Web
If you’ve never heard of the dark web, it’s basically the ugly side of the Internet. Since it’s under the radar, a lot of illegal operations like drug, organ, and weapon trafficking. Using a VPN to conceal your identity on the dark web could get you in huge trouble.
Cyberstalking or Blackmailing
Extortion, blackmail, and stalking are against the law, even online. Severe punishments await those who engage in such crimes.
The unauthorized access to other users’ devices and data is forbidden and punishable by law. Perpetrators face severe fines and jail time, depending on the severity of the crime. In the United States, under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, fines could reach up to $250,000 and imprisonment as long as 20 years.
How to Install a VPN and Access DStv Now
The majority of people who wish to watch DStv from abroad are expats from South Africa and other nearby countries. And I can understand their frustrations when it comes to geo-blocks and restricted content.
After all, DStv is home to some fantastic shows like Ray Donovan, Orange Is the New Black, Watchmen, Trackers, Warrior, The Handmaid’s Tale, Grand Hotel, South Park, Game of Thrones, and The Walking Dead. It also features exclusive homegrown content such as Big Brother Naija, Idols (South Africa), Our Perfect Wedding, The River, and Tinsel.
And did I mention that it is the go-to destination for sports? Its SuperSport channel covers the English Premier League, Champions League, Euro 2020, ICC Cricket World Cup, Super Rugby, Roland Garros, and much more.
With so much entertaining content on the line, who wouldn’t want to subscribe to DStv Now?
- Search for a VPN service that can unblock DStv from abroad. Or you can choose one from my suggestion list, which features the best VPNs for DStv Now.
- After you register, download the VPN app and install it on your device. You can use any of the popular operating systems as reputable VPN applications are compatible with Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, and more.
- Once the installation is complete, open your app and connect to a server where DStv Now is available (ideally from South Africa).
- When the big button on the home screen says “Connected,” open the DStv Now website or app and click on the video you want to watch.
- The error message has disappeared, and you can now stream your favorite programs as you were in South Africa.
Free VPNs vs. Paid VPNs – Which Ones Are Better?
If we put free and paid VPNs together in a ring, who do you think would win the fight? Well, let’s take a look at the stats, shall we?
- Military-Grade encryption.
- No collection or sharing of sensitive information.
- High levels of speed.
- Ability to avoid censorship and geo-blocks.
- Refund policies.
- 24/7 customer support.
- A kill-switch to disconnect you from the Internet in case of a VPN malfunction.
- Compatibility with the most popular platforms.
- Weak or no encryption.
- Keep records of sensitive data.
- Share your personal information with third parties.
- Might contain malware.
- Slow and limited server network.
- Can’t unblock the biggest streaming services.
There’s only one clear winner in this fight. Paid VPNs are a safer, faster, and more reliable option, and I recommend you sign up for these services instead of using a free VPN. They may be a bit pricey, but you’ll get your money’s worth.
And if you don’t know where to start, choose any of the elite providers below.
If you’re interested in getting the best VPN that money can buy, then look no further than ExpressVPN. It offers the highest levels of security, privacy, and speed features to optimize your online experience.
Users can benefit from an extensive network of 3,000+ servers spread across 160 locations in 94 countries. South Africa and Kenya are among those nations, a place where DStv is available. You can also access any Netflix or Prime Video library because their VPN ban does not apply to ExpressVPN.
And if we move on to security and privacy, the company provides a kill switch and DNS leak protection to avoid any data leakage. It also uses the Advanced Encryption Standard with 256-bit keys, better known as AES 256-bit. This encryption offers trillions of possible combinations to ensure no one can crack it.
Furthermore, ExpressVPN does not store or share sensitive information like activity or connection records, thanks to a stern zero-logging policy.
Customers can contact the company at any time via email, live chat, or support ticket. And subscribers also benefit from a 30-day money-back guarantee if they don’t like the features on offer, something that I really doubt.
(For a more detailed description, check out the ExpressVPN review).
- High-speed servers.
- The most robust encryption.
- Apps for PC, Mac, Android, iOS, Kindle Fire, and Linux.
- MediaStreamer: DNS proxy.
- No-logs policy.
- Wide server network.
- Torrent and P2P support.
- Works with every popular streaming channel.
- DNS leak protection and a kill switch.
- 30-day refund program.
- Round-the-clock support.
- Five simultaneous device connections.
- Expensive subscription plans.
If you search for the best VPN providers online, NordVPN should be among the top results. It is a very well-known brand in the industry, and reliable enough to strike a partnership deal with English Premier League side Liverpool.
The company has more than 5,000 servers operating in 62 countries, which makes one of the largest networks in the business. Therefore, it will give you access to DStv, Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Prime Video, and any other streaming channel you want.
It also offers a free Smart DNS proxy called SmartPlay, in case you have a device that does not support the NordVPN app. Another useful tool is CyberSec, an ad and malware blocker.
But the highlight of these services is the double VPN feature. NordVPN takes security and privacy to the next level with this one, as it encrypts your traffic twice. And of course, it uses the AES 256-bit encryption. Moreover, it doesn’t keep any records of your online activity or connection.
- AES 256-bit encryption.
- 5,000+ servers in 62 countries.
- Award-winning customer support service.
- Double VPN feature.
- Kill switch and DNS leak protection.
- Free Smart DNS.
- Six device connections at the same time.
- Compatible with Netflix and other services.
- Support for the majority of operating systems.
- No-logging policy.
- 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Slow connection when using certain servers.
BulletVPN is earning quite a reputation in the VPN world, and it seems like the company will continue its upward trajectory. The provider isn’t as experienced as other elite VPNs, but it does provide excellent, premium features.
That includes the highest level of encryption, a strict no-logs policy, fast speed rates, and 24/7 live chat support. There’s also a kill switch + BulletShield feature, which only allows Internet access when you’re connected to a BulletVPN server.
Despite being the new kid on the block, this service can give you access to the most prominent streaming channels, regardless of the VPN ban. And you can install iPhones, iPads, Mac, Android devices, and Windows.
Perhaps its only disadvantage is the limited area coverage, although it’s expanding with every passing day. BulletVPN has 71 servers in 37 countries and counting.
(The full BulletVPN review will give you an in-depth analysis of the service).
- Unlimited server switching and bandwidth.
- Zero-logging policy.
- Blazing fast speeds.
- 30-day refund policy.
- Kill switch + BulletShield.
- High compatibility.
- Streaming, torrenting, and P2P support.
- Free Smart DNS.
- Military-grade encryption.
- 24/7 customer support.
- Small server network.
How Else Can I Unblock DStv?
Not a fan of virtual private networks? Is your only concern the DStv access? Then maybe a VPN isn’t the right tool for you. What you need instead is a Smart DNS proxy, a program that can spoof your online location by rerouting part of your Internet connection.
You just have to make sure that the service you subscribed to supports DStv. You see, unlike VPNs, Smart DNS proxies cannot bypass all geo-blocks. They have a list of supported channels that they can access. And if your ISP uses DNS hijacking or transparent proxies, there’s a good chance your provider won’t function properly.
Another thing you should note is that your Internet speed won’t be affected because these tools don’t encrypt your traffic. But if you’re concerned about your privacy, Smart DNS proxies can’t help you. They also don’t hide your IP address.
Which Smart DNS Has Massive Channel Support?
The answer to that question is Unlocator, a Smart DNS proxy that can unblock over 220 channels. That includes DStv, HBO Now, Hulu, Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, ESPN+, BT Sport, beIN Sports, and a lot more.
You can try it out for free during the first week, thanks to the 7-day trial period. And you don’t even have to submit your credit card information during that period.
- Visit Unlocator and sign up.
- Use the various setup guides and videos on the website to install the service without any hassle.
- You can set up Unlocator on almost any device. That includes smartphones, tablets, computers, Smart TVs, routers, and gaming consoles.
- Enjoy DStv on any device from outside South Africa.
How is DStv Faring Against the Likes of Netflix?
MultiChoice, the company behind DStv, is Africa’s largest TV operator with over 15 million subscribers. But despite all these numbers, the company is losing customers to streaming giants Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. It tried to compete by launching similar channels, but it couldn’t keep up with their pace.
That’s partly due to the fact that Netflix offers cheaper packages than DStv. Its basic plan costs less than $7, around $9 for the standard, and almost $12 for the premium.
But according to MultiChoice CEO Calvo Mawela, there’s a much more significant reason. Mawela blames the regulations imposed on his company by the government, and the lack of it on Netflix.
“So they are here, they are challenging us in our business on a day-to-day basis, and yet they do not have to comply with any of the regulations the country has made.”Calvo Mawela, CEO of MultiChoice
He added that US streaming services did not have to comply with South Africa’s post-apartheid regulations, like Black Economic Empowerment.
And for Mawela, the solution is simple. He asks for the same treatment as Netflix and other similar companies. “I am saying bring the likes of Netflix in the same net. Netflix does not employ even one person in this country; it doesn’t pay tax. They do not have to do any local content,“ he stated.
DStv Continues to Grow
Despite all the lobbying attempts to force regulations on Netflix and Amazon Prime, MultiChoice and DStv continue to grow.
According to the parent company’s financial results, the number of DStv subscribers has increased over the past 12 months. However, it struggled to maintain its premium subscriptions as figures continued to decline.
“The South African business delivered subscriber growth of 8% year-on-year or 500 000 subscribers and generated revenues of R33.7 billion, up 3% (4% organic) from the prior year,” The MultiChoice Group said.
“The DStv Premium segment remained under pressure as consumers were impacted by rising fuel and other costs, and we competed for a share of wallet.”MultiChoice
Can DStv Compete on the Streaming Front?
In an attempt to combat streaming channels like Netflix and Prime Video, MultiChoice plans to launch a standalone service. However, details for this new channel are still unclear, as securing the streaming rights for all DStv content will take some time.
MultiChoice already has two online services, ShowMax and DStv Now. But to take the fight to their competitors, they will launch a new product. The company also introduced a new unit for OTT services called Connected Video, led by CEO Niclas Ekdahl.
You can’t be the dominant force in Africa without offering premium content. And that’s precisely what DStv does. Whether it’s sports, news, documentaries, reality TV, or entertainment, DStv has it all.
- M-Net Movies Premiere
- M-Net Movies Comedy
- Fox HD
- M-Net Movies Showcase
- M-Net Series Showcase
- M-Net Movies Action
- BBC First
- Nick Junior
- Cartoon Network
- Fashion TV
- Travel Channel
- Nat Geo Wild
- CNN International
- Sky News
- Bloomberg TV
DStv Compatible Devices
Whether you’re at home or on the go, you can stream follow your favorite DStv and DStv Now programs on several devices.
- Android TV
- Apple TV
- Samsung Smart TV
Stream DStv Outside South Africa – Final Thoughts
DStv is a television king in Africa. It is your go-to destination for premium-quality television, no matter what your interests are. SuperSport will quench your sporting thirst, with live coverage of the biggest tournaments in football, cricket, rugby, tennis, basketball, and motorsports.
As for TV lovers, the service brings you a binge-worthy set of the latest and most popular series and movies. That includes Ray Donovan, Watchmen, Warrior, The Handmaid’s Tale, South Park, Game of Thrones, and The Walking Dead.
But unfortunately, DStv is beyond reach outside the realms of South Africa and a few other countries. Therefore, if you don’t want to miss a thing, you have to become a VPN or Smart DNS user. Otherwise, you can’t access it from abroad.
Which channel do you watch most on DStv? Mine is SuperSport. Tell us yours in the comment box below.