DStv Explora 3 vs Explora 2 – Decoder comparison

MultiChoice recently launched a new version of its Explora decoder, the DStv Explora 3A, to replace the Explora 2A.

The Explora 3 went on sale in November 2018 without fanfare at a recommended retail price of R999 – the same price as the Explora 2.

While DStv’s new decoder retained most of the features of its predecessor, there are several key differences.

Similarities include that the Explora 2 and Explora 3 each sport three tuners – one for viewing, one for recording, and one for receiving Catch Up and BoxOffice content.

Both decoders also have 1TB hard drives, and offer up to 110 hours of recording space.

One of the big differences is that the Explora 3A has a smaller form factor and lacks a front-panel display. Instead, it has an LED to indicate whether it is powered on.


Supported LNBs

Another major difference is that the Explora 3 lacks some of the connectors included on older models, most notably the RF IN and RF OUT ports on the back.

Its Unicable port also has a lower current rating, supporting a maximum of 500 milliamps (mA), where the Explora 2 was rated for 750mA. This has an impact on the type of equipment the Explora 3 can be connected to.

MultiChoice said that the Explora 3 supports its DStv Smart LNB range on the market, noting that it no longer manufactures the older LMX 500 Smart LNB.

“We recommend using the latest standard DStv Smart LNB LMX 502 for new DStv Explora installations,” MultiChoice told MyBroadband.

“For our customers with more viewing environments we recommend the LMX 501 which allows up to three viewing environments linked up in XtraView.”


DStv Explora 2

DStv Explora 2


DStv Explora 3

DStv Explora 3


Passive cooling and USB ports

The Explora 3 also only has one USB port, while its predecessor had two. The USB ports of Explora decoders may currently be used to attach a DStv Wi-Fi Connector.

This allows the decoder to access the Internet using Wi-Fi, enabling features such as Catch Up Plus and setting remote recordings.

The Explora 3 has also done away with the fan the Explora 2 needed to cool its components.

Assuaging fears that the decoder will overheat, MultiChoice explained that the Explora 3 has a heatsink and was tested in a thermal oven.

However, the company still recommended that decoders not be placed in enclosed spaces.

A final difference to note between the Explora 3 and its predecessor is that it uses a smaller smart card – which looks similar to a large cellphone SIM card.

The table below summarises key differences between the Explora 3 and the Explora 2.

Features DStv Explora 3 DStv Explora 2
Viewing environments 1 1
Recording environments 1 1
On-demand environments 1 1
Hard drive/Recording space 1TB/110 hours 1TB/110 hours
Front panel display No Yes
Remote control A7, compatible with A5 and A6 A7, compatible with A5 and A6
Connections HDMI HDMI
Ethernet Ethernet
Optical Optical
USB USB x2
Unicable IN Unicable IN
RF IN/RF OUT
Power 12V DC, 2.5A (max) 12V DC, 3.33A (max)
Unicable IN power rating 19V, 500mA 19V, 750mA
Dimensions 225 x 158 x 50 (mm) 310 x 160 x 47 (mm)
Packaging dimensions 370 x 205 x 57 (mm) 378 x 278 x 85 (mm)
Gross package weight 1.784kg 1.784kg

Now read: Why the new DStv Explora has a smaller hard drive

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DStv Explora 3 vs Explora 2 – Decoder comparison