Why DStv’s one-device streaming limit is so bad

DStv’s one-device streaming is particularly bad compared to the simultaneous stream restrictions of rival video streaming services, a comparison by MyBroadband shows.

South Africa’s largest pay-TV broadcaster MultiChoice implemented a single-stream concurrent cap on DStv accounts around a year ago.

It argued that this was necessary to combat password sharing and password selling but received heavy backlash for the decision.

However, numerous subscribers have complained about the measure’s impact when using the service legitimately.

Since the strict limit was imposed, streaming live DStv channels on two screens has been impossible.

The broadcaster has since said it is working on addressing this issue through a system dubbed “Proximity Control”.

MultiChoice Group chief operating officer Simon Camerer recently said it planned to roll out the system by mid-2023.

While it’s unclear exactly how it would work, MultiChoice South Africa chief executive officer Nyiko Shiburi previously said they would be able to detect whether streams are taking place in the same location as one of the primary accountholder’s devices.

It is still possible to watch live DStv content with one account on more than one screen — provided at least one of the viewing environments uses satellite broadcasting on a decoder.

But DStv’s streaming limit crackdown has significantly undermined the value proposition of the DStv streaming-only packages, which takes the decoder out of the picture altogether.

DStv streaming-only packages

We compared the DStv streaming-only packages’ concurrent screen limit with other streaming services.

MultiChoice’s one-device limit looked terrible when pitted against the approaches of major global streaming services and local rivals.

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+, Britbox, and even MultiChoice’s own Showmax streaming service supported multiple simultaneous streams on their standard packages.

These range from two to six concurrent streams per account.

To compare DStv’s streaming-only packages’ concurrent stream feature with its rivals, we divided monthly subscription prices by the number of simultaneous streams.

Naturally, all the DStv packages’ price per stream numbers were equivalent to their subscription costs.

We found that among the general video streaming services, the Apple TV+ subscription offered the best value for concurrent streams, at a price of R20.83 per stream compared to DStv Premium’s R699 per stream.

However, comparing Apple TV+ to DStv Premium might not be fair, as Apple TV+ does not offer the amount of content available on DStv Premium.

However, Apple TV+’s price per stream was also less than DStv’s most affordable package — EasyView — which primarily comprises free-to-air channels.

In addition, you can subscribe to Netflix Standard, Amazon Prime Video, Showmax, Disney+, Apple TV+, and Britbox for around R18 less than DStv Premium streaming-only and have at least two concurrent streams on each of those services.

The table below compares the price per stream of DStv’s streaming-only packages with those of prominent local and international video streaming services available in South Africa.

Concurrent stream limit comparison
Service Maximum concurrent streams Monthly price Price per stream
Crunchyroll Mega Fan Plan 4 R49.00 R12.25
eVOD 2 R29.99 R15.00
Apple TV+ 6 R124.99 R20.83
SABC+ 2 R49.00 R24.50
Britbox 4 R99.99 R24.75
Amazon Prime Video 3 R79.00 R26.33
DStv EasyView streaming-only 1 R29.00 R29.00
Disney+ 4 R119.00 R29.75
Crunchyroll Fan Plan 1 R39.00 R39.00
Showmax Mobile 1 R39.00 R39.00
Netflix Mobile 1 R49.00 R49.00
Showmax 2 R99.00 R49.50
Netflix Premium 4 R199.00 R49.75
DAZN 2 R149.99 R75.00
Netflix Standard 2 R159.00 R79.50
F1 TV Pro 1 (main race) $4.99 (R90.60) R90.60
Netflix Basic 1 R99.00 R99.00
DStv Access streaming-only 1 R99.00 R99.00
DStv Family streaming only 1 R269.00 R269.00
DStv Compact streaming-only 1 R369.00 R369.00
DStv Compact Plus streaming-only 1 R469.00 R469.00
DStv Premium streaming-only 1 R699.00 R699.00

Now read: DStv-owner MultiChoice announces massive streaming video deal

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Why DStv’s one-device streaming limit is so bad