DStv: SuperSport to go simulcast

Garikai Dzoma Avatar


According to a post made two days ago on their website, DStv has said that starting from the 12th of August, SuperSport 1-7 will be changed to simulcast from dual cast channels. This means channels from 201 up to 207 will be merged with their HDTV counterparts i.e. 211-217. This means HD channels will share the same channel number with the SD channels.

HDTV decoders will pick up the HDTV signal automatically while SD decoders will pick up the SD signal. The channels names will change to SuperSport* HD in your program list if you have an HD decoder and SuperSport* if you have a normal decoder, where * is the channel number. Only channels 1-7 will have an HD feed. For those who like the local and other African leagues like the Netone Charity shield which are normally broadcast on SuperSport 9 there will be no HD stream for you yet unless the matches are broadcast on channels 3-4.

Ever since the start of 2014, the SuperSport channels have been broadcasting in dual-cast mode ostensibly in preparation for this upgrade. The content on these HD channels has been virtually identical to the content that is shown on the SD channels so this change is purely cosmetic for the most part. Those with Standard Decoders will have noticed that their SuperSport 3 was usually shown as SuperSport 3A in the channel list and attempting to tune in to the actual SuperSport 3 channel usually yielded the infamous E16 error even if you were a Premium subscriber.

Also when making payments via EcoCash, premium bouquet subscribers are asked to pick their decoder from the USSD list. This can present a challenge to those who are not particularly tech savvy so hopefully the need to do this will go with this change. There is also a small chance that a couple of premium bouquet subscribers with HD decoders might have failed to take advantage of the HD channels.

What it means for you as a Subscribe

  • As I have said, the changes are more or less cosmetic. The Sports Channels join the MNET channels (101, 103,105,106,107,108,113) which are already broadcast in Simulcast mode. This means you will spent less time changing channels. It also means the less tech saavy will be able to watch HD channels automatically.
  • This leaves Discovery HD (channel 180) in the cold as the only dual-cast HD channel on DSTV. Maybe because there are slight differences in content between the HD channel and its SD content.
  • Those with the South African Compact accounts (please don’t give me any of that “It’s illegal stuff” we know what you did.) can now watch SuperSport 3 and 4 in HD.
  • Only the rich can view content in HD. The Zimbabwean bouquets are arranged in such a clever way that only those with a Premium ($77) bouquet can watch the HD channels.
  • Local league matches and other minor leagues will continue to be shown in pathetic SD on Supersport 9. Probably not a bad thing given the pathetic state of our stadiums.
  • There is still a lot of content that is not in HD. So programs like Football Funnies will show up in SD quality even when broadcast in HD.

With the whole world moving towards HD and 3D like this it is hard not to criticize ZBC and its monopolistic hold on our market – these are the folks that never adopted wide-screen! They are being left behind with each passing day, and despite assurances that the our broadcasting infrastructure will improve in 2015, we all know it’s not going to happen.

Meanwhile as an aside to fellow internet users, DStv now has an Express from America feature. This means popular American TV shows like Under the Dome are shown on MNET channel 101 within 24 hours of their release in America. Since this is a simulcast channel it means you can watch these in HD without visiting The Piratebay or Torrentday. This might not be an exactly zero day release that you are used to but at least it’s legal and timely. With a PVR capable decoder you can greatly reduce your torrenting and downloading activities and do something legal for once in your life.


  1. Anonymous

    i dont even see the difference, maybe its my eyes. but watching from sd, hd e.t.c is more of the same things fro me

    1. Kusaziva

      If your TV doesnt have HD, or you are not using an HDMI cable, then you will get the same ol pic qual.

      The difference is more pronounced on sports e.g. Premier League (yeku UK, kwete ye Hwange vs Chiredzi)

  2. tariq

    useless article just a copy paste. u could have just distilled the most important aspects of the article

  3. Anonymous

    I like this part “Those with the South African Compact accounts can now watch SuperSport 3 and 4 in HD. This is good for some of us.

  4. Farai

    Hate the fact they charge for HD. When 3D comes out, get ready to chop off that leg.

    As for local soccer in SD, should anyone complain? At least it is being broadcast to Africa. The stadiums are actually better than the ones you see from Nigeria or Kenya, etc. I do not think ours have things that crawl out of them during a match

  5. Tavarwisa

    HD as in 1080p all the way? yes one needs an HDMI cable, HD decoder + HDTV 😉 wow, technonology is moving fast. The question is, will everybody catch up?

  6. Kungurirai

    Can anyone confirm that compact subscribers will now enjoy HD or it does not change current setup, where yu only need to be a premium subscriber

    1. Garikai

      From the post here http://forum.dstv.com/showthread.php?t=22777 it is clear that the access will be decoder based as opposed to subscriber based. The only reason why only premium subscribers could watch in HD was because there were seperate HD channels that only Premium subscribers could watch. All the Mnet HD channels are not available to premium subscribers. Since Supersport 3 and 4 are available on the SA compact bouquet it means in all certainty they will be able to watch in HD as long as they have the right equipment.

      1. Kungurirai

        Thanks man, now, its worth getting the explora

  7. Anthony Somerset

    A Big +1 from me for recommending legal PVR usage over Illegal Torrenting 🙂 its great that DSTV are getting there act together in small ways like getting big shows on air pretty much in the same time frame as US and UK to help eliminate this

  8. Steve

    Loved the line ” please don’t give me any of that “It’s illegal stuff” we know what you did. ” –

  9. Anonymous

    I checked yesterday Madrid playing Sevilla the picture quality has not changed its still standard. l have all the equipment connected properly and south african compact account unless if the HD is for premium subscribers

    1. Its_working

      watched the openning games of the EPL in HD and its happening ne $30 pa SA Compact

  10. John Gouws

    I just recently got a Explorer decoder and decided a week ago to “splash” out on 48″ HG led tv. I was seriously impressed with my picture quality. On Friday the 15th I found channel 211 no longer available, did some searching and found articles related to the merging of channels.
    Now, watching on 201, I am convinced the picture quality is not as it was prior to the merge. Can this be the case or is it my imagination?

    1. Garikai

      No you are not imagining it. The changeover for other bouquets happened on the 14th for HD channels.

  11. Anonymous

    Mine still has not changed to hd but i used to have full bouquet hd channels with the same equipment. What is the problem isnt it supposed to be hd for everyone with the right equipment and South African compact.

  12. Anonymous

    So in a nutshell there are still upgrading from the 12th of august some have receievd and it will go on untill everyone with the right equipment gets hd, because l know someone who still does not have it and got his installation and equipment checked found to be ok but no hd yet.

  13. geno

    hello guys….i have a problem with my hd pvr decoder…..and my supersport hd 3/4 dont seem to work it sumtimes play for a second and get stuck…n it says must check settings ……. please help……………..

    1. Garikai

      Multichoice made the piece of crap so take it to them and have them fix it! I have found that to be usually the simplest solution. Just make sure to scream and yell at them first otherwise they will somehow convince you it’s your fault.

  14. kelvin mwenda

    this is ma best channel so i can do all to get latest sport news