Is sports streaming more expensive than traditional DStv?

Before I even begin I have to confess that I am not a fan of traditional DStv setup. Do not get me wrong, I am happy to admit that the whole satellite on your roof and no data costs set up does have its appeal. It’s especially important if you live in remote areas with patchy internet or in a country like ours where data prices can be exorbitant and downright unaffordable.

I have noticed that everyone seems to take it for granted that paying for the traditional DStv setup is cheaper than using streaming services. The financial analysis in me and my experience of four or five years using exclusively streaming platforms refuses to believe this assumption.

My set-up and how much it costs me?

One of the things that prompted me to ditch traditional DStv was the fact that I am not a homeowner. Every time I moved to a new place I would have to find and pay a guy to scale my roof so he could set up my dish. In comparison, the internet connection was so easy to set up. It was just a matter of plugging in my modem and turning it on.

So I started to use the HDMI port on my laptop to stream DStv Now after one such move. This was a bit inconvenient but I was to watch whole football matches while waiting for the usual dish guy to turn up at my house. But by then the seed had been planted. When I saved up a bit of money I experimented with the Xiaomi Mi Box and the rest as they say is history.

I sat down and did the Maths:

  • With DStv I was paying US$48 per month including FBC card fees. The internet is an unavoidable cost for me since I use it for work. The total cost of data for me was about US$60 per month for data. This is the biggest mistake people make when doing the comparison. You have to factor in the cost of data you already use per month if it’s a cost you have to pay either way. We call these unavoidable costs.
  • If I went the streaming route I wouldn’t have to pay for the DStv cost. My friend already had a similar package and DStv offers free DStv Now access if you have an account. So that would be US$0 to DSTV. ZOL Wibroniks LTE works very well when it comes to streaming and in order for me to get unlimited data I needed to pay the equivalent of about US$70. This cost flactuates according to rate movement. It can go as high as US$97 in some months. Since I would have unlimited internet I would not need to pay for data to use for work.

In the end, the winner was simple: Streaming would end up saving me as much as US$20 per month compared to traditional DStv. Naturally, your circumstances might be different from mine but let us look at a typical household led by an alpha male who is into every sport.

  • If you go the traditional route and engage an agent you have to pay about US$85 for DStv premium. Most people are working from home and students are also doing a lot of online lessons. You will see yourself easily spending US$50 on data every month on whatever capped package you are on. That’s almost US$130 on both entertainment and data needs.
  • In comparison if you go for an unlimited package you will pay about US$85 for Utande’s LTE (also awesome for streaming) or just about the same for ZOL’s Wibroniks. You can then just get ShowMax Pro for around $17.99 if you are not sharing and half that if you are sharing with someone. ShowMax Pro comes with just about any sport and like traditional DStv you get a 1080p stream. That’s about US$10 in savings right there.

Of course, your circumstances might be different. You might live in an area with poor or even nonexistent internet. In which case you will have to play the cards you are dealt with. Personally, I do not like the lack of control of traditional DStv. I still use MultiChoice products like ShowMax but I do not like someone dictating my bathroom breaks or what time I should watch a movie. It’s either that or pay ridiculous amounts of money for PVR.

The truth though is that you should never make presumptions. You need to sit down and do the Maths looking at your costs/potential costs for each route you choose. Who knows, just like me you might end up saving money and diving into the world of streaming versus traditional TV?


  1. Anonymous

    Thats one thing i never calculated thanks!!

  2. Patrick

    Streaming is very expensive.Traditional dstv is better

    1. Anon

      if you watch DSTV compact and all packages below ka

  3. Paul Walker

    Hi Dzoma, what internet speed would I need to stream 1080p videos comfortably? Can the packages you mentioned support this? I know 4K is too much, but have you tried streaming 4K videos? I’m asking because I see a lot of people have 4K capable TVs now. I’m sure they are keen on watching some 4K content. Netflix has some content in 4K.

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