We now all know that Kwese is now available in Zimbabwe. Before they came we had had but one option, DStv. Some had grown disillusioned with the South African pay-TV giant. Whether you feel DStv is a ripoff or not, serious competition is here and it is only befitting that a comparison of what each has to offer be done.
We already looked at how much the services cost, an almost impossible comparison. As we mentioned earlier, Kwese does not have a package comparable to DStv’s Premium and Compact Plus packages and so we will compare Kwese to DStv Compact.
From the onset let us acknowledge that if money is not an issue, nothing on the pay-TV market beats DStv Premium right now. For $65 you will get more channels than you will know what to do with. We would all want that but that $65 or even the $40 for Compact Plus are not as friendly on the pocket as we would like.
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The Compact bouquet costs $25 per month and no rocket science needed to understand why it is a popular package. The Kwese package costs $29 (incl VAT) per month and a comparison of the two seems fair.
It should be noted however that DStv made a mess of the payment options and to this day there is a lot of confusion. Some banks accept payment by transfer and some don’t, some require cash in foreign currency (not bond notes) and some don’t. On Kwese’s side things are a bit simpler, you can use whatever payment method you want. So depending on who you bank with (if you even have a bank account) it might be cheaper to pay for Kwese than for DStv Compact, not to mention more convenient.
DStv Compact vs Kwese TV
Entertainment and Movies
DStv offers 30 channels here: The main draws being Studio Universal, Universal, Sony (the repeat channel), BBC Brit, E! Entertainment, VUZU and Fox. There are other channels offering telenovelas, African soapies and dramas and of course the Indian Zee World. On the movies front there are the M-Net Movies channels Action +, All Stars and Zone. There also is Turner Classic Movies.
Kwese has about 15 channels here: The main draws being AMC (best known for Walking Dead,) Kwese Stories, Kwese Prime, Viceland and CBS Reality (this one is available on DStv too.) There is a telenovela channel and an Indian one too, as well as an African series channel. On the movies front there is Kwese Movies 1, 2 and 3, True Movies, African Movies Channel and Zee Bollymovies (Indian.)
DStv has about double the Kwese channels but their number of channels swells because of the Mzansi (3), AfricaMagic (3) and 3 telenovela channels. Unless you are really into those you won’t appreciate the multiple options.
So for most of us entertainment-wise it’s a toss up, a draw. Kwese has an edge on movies though.
Children and the young at heart
DStv offers 11 channels and Kwese offers 8 channels. They offer mostly the same channels. They both offer Cartoon Network, Jim Jam, Cbeebies and Boomerang.
Exclusive to DStv: Nickelodeon, Disney, Disney XD, Disney Junior, NickJr and NickTOONS
Exclusive to Kwese: Dreamworks, Toonami, POP and Kwese Kids.
This again feels like a draw. There is not much between them to base a decision off of.
DStv offers 6 channels here: TRACE Africa, TRACE Urban, Channel O, Sound City, Mzansi Magic Music and One Gospel.
Kwese offers 5 channels: TRACE Africa, TRACE Mziki, TRACE Gospel, The Box Africa and Revolt (Puff Daddy’s channel.)
Again, this feels like a draw unless you are a huge Hip Hop fan in which case Revolt on Kwese will serve you well. An international pop fan will be better off with TRACE Urban on DStv.
Factual and Lifestyle
DStv offers 14 channels here: Discovery, Discovery Family, National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild and History channel being the main factual ones. For Lifestyle fans the big ones are BBC Lifestyle, Discovery TLC Network and Food Network.
Kwese offers 10 channels: Animal Planet, Kwese Know, Kwese Inc, Discovery Science, Odisseia and DTX being the main factual ones. For Lifestyle you get Fashion TV and FLN.
They both offer Travel Channel and Discovery IDx.
For this category I feel DStv has the edge but that could have something to do with me being a Nat Geo fan. Kwese swings back with Animal Planet and Discovery Science and if we are being fair, this category can be judged to be a draw.
News and Religious
For news both have BBC World News, CNN, CNBC Africa, Sky News and Al Jazeera. You wont’ miss out on any world news on both DStv and Kwese.
For Religious content DStv has a clear edge. They have TBN, DayStar and Faith Broadcast Network and more.
Kwese is weaker in the religious department with Hillsong Channel and Flow TV.
Let us be frank. There is no competition here. DStv wipes the floor with Kwese here, especially if you are a football fan. If you are a basketball fan the tables are turned and Kwese wipes the floor with DStv as it does with the other American sports.
DStv offers: Supersport Blitz, 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9. For English football fans Supersport 3 delivers the biggest games in the EPL and that’s exclusive to DStv at the moment. La Liga fans can catch up on Messi and Ronaldo on Supersport 7.
Kwese has Kwese Sports 1 and 2, Kwese Free Sports 1, ESPN and NBA. For those English football fans we will say it again, at the moment you are better off with DStv. Kwese only shows one game per week live and it is hardly ever a big game they get to show. They then show a good number of games delayed. The same applies for Champions Leagu, La Liga and PSL matches where DStv is your best bet.
For the other non football sports it is a toss up. As mentioned above, Kwese offers NBA basketball which DStv does not offer. For the other sports like tennis, volleyball, netball and cycling you will get more or less the same.
DStv’s monopoly on sports is being challenged though. The relevant authority in South Africa, Icasa for instance started an inquiry into subscription-based television broadcasting services.
Where does that leave us?
If we are being honest, if you are not a football fan either DStv or Kwese will serve you well. There isn’t much between them in the other categories. Kwese being the new kid on the block, most will be willing to try them out but know that there is not much of a difference between them and DStv. Kwese does offer 5 free channels whether you subscribe or not, that is something.
For football fans you would do well to stick with DStv for the time being.
Some won’t like this but we have to mention ease of payment yet again. It is much easier to pay for Kwese than it is for DStv at the moment. We cannot expect people to open new bank accounts with banks that accept payment by transfer for DStv subscriptions just for those subscriptions.
Let us know in the comments below if you jumped ship to Kwese or you stayed put. We would like to know your reasons.