How to watch SABC channels for free on DStv

You cannot watch SABC channels for free on DStv, but the article will provide free ways to watch SABC channels on your television.

There is a misconception that in order to have access to SABC channels you need to have a DStv decoder. This misconception has become even more expensive with the ever-increasing cost of living in South Africa.

The truth is that you do not need to have a DStv decoder to access SABC channels. There are free ways through which you can access SABC 1, 2, 3 and e.tv channels without paying, which we have shared below. Moreover, there are other DStv channels which are currently available to watch for free.

What DStv channels are free to watch?

In March 2020, Multichoice made DStv Now available for non-subscribers. Initially, the availability only included the news channels available on DStv, but then in April 2020, it went on to make some of its educational programming, with a total of 16 free channels, available for free viewing.

The channels included:

Channel name Channel number
DStv 100
People’s Weather 180
SuperSport Play 238
PBS Kids 313
Mindset PoP 317
Channel O 320
TBN 343
BBC World News 400
CNN 401
Sky News 402
eNCA 403
SABC News 404
Newzroom Afrika 405
AlJazeera 406
Euronews Now 414
africanews 417

How to watch SABC channels for free on DStv?

As highlighted before, there is currently no way to watch SABC channels on DStv for free. The best you can do if you already have a subscription and want to cut down on the bouquet you are subscribed to, is to take the cheapest DStv subscription.

With this option, for R29 per month, you can access SABC channels via your DStv subscription. Though it is not free, the cost is relatively affordable for most middle-class citizens and those further up the economic tax bracket.

If this is unsatisfactory, below we share other ways for you to access SABC channels for free. Granted, there will be upfront costs to purchase either the decoder or device needed for free access to the channels, but for the most part, these are only once-off upfront payments and hereafter, you have access to popular SABC channels along with e.tv for free.

1. Set-top box

In March 2022, South Africa stopped broadcasting via analogue television transmission and transitioned to Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) broadcasting.

As a result, in order to watch SABC channels for free, you have to get a set-top box. The device functions similarly to a standard analogue aerial, as it does not need a satellite to access the channels.

Currently, for indigent households, the South African government subsidies access to the necessary set-top boxes. Specifically, households that have a monthly  income of R3 500 or less. Applications to get the subsidised set-top box can be completed at your nearest post office.

2. A DTT Ready TV (DVB-T2)

For those who do not fall under the stipulated income bracket to get a subsidised set-top box, the best option is to purchase a television that is already enabled with a Go Digital or DVB-T2.

To ascertain if the television is activated with this feature, most televisions have markers that confirm the availability of the systems.

The feature means that the television purchased already has the integrated decoder required to access SABC channels for free, without the need for add-ons like DStv. Therefore, you do not need to pay any additional cost upon purchasing this television.

3. Purchase OpenView

Alternatively, you can purchase an OpenView decoder. OpenView does not have monthly subscription fees to have the decoder.

All that is required is to purchase the decoder and satellite and pay for the installation, then you will have access to SABC channels for free.

Additionally to the SABC channels, OpenView gives you access to e.tv and other e-channels like eNCA, eMovies, eMovies Extra, and Zee One, just to name a few.

OpenView offers the decoder, satellite and installation services for a once-off total of R1 699.99. You can fill in an application for this package here.

Final thoughts

Currently, there is no way that DStv subscribers can access SABC channels for free. However, there is no need for the general public who want to watch free SABC channels to get a DStv subscription.

We shared three alternative ways you can access SABC channels for free or with a once-off payment. Thereafter, you will have free access to channels like SABC 1, 2 and 3, along with e.tv without the stress of monthly subscription fees to pay.