DStv vs Kwese TV Round 2: Channels / Content comparison

Leonard Sengere Avatar
DStv vs Kwese Dstv poster advertising their packages

We now all know that Kwese is now available in Zimbabwe. Before they came we had had but one option, DStv. Some had grown disillusioned with the South African pay-TV giant. Whether you feel DStv is a ripoff or not, serious competition is here and it is only befitting that a comparison of what each has to offer be done.

We already looked at how much the services cost, an almost impossible comparison. As we mentioned earlier, Kwese does not have a package comparable to DStv’s Premium and Compact Plus packages and so we will compare Kwese to DStv Compact.

From the onset let us acknowledge that if money is not an issue, nothing on the pay-TV market beats DStv Premium right now. For $65 you will get more channels than you will know what to do with. We would all want that but that $65 or even the $40 for Compact Plus are not as friendly on the pocket as we would like.

The Compact bouquet costs $25 per month and no rocket science needed to understand why it is a popular package. The Kwese package costs $29 (incl VAT) per month and a comparison of the two seems fair.

It should be noted however that DStv made a mess of the payment options and to this day there is a lot of confusion. Some banks accept payment by transfer and some don’t, some require cash in foreign currency (not bond notes) and some don’t. On Kwese’s side things are a bit simpler, you can use whatever payment method you want. So depending on who you bank with (if you even have a bank account) it might be cheaper to pay for Kwese than for DStv Compact, not to mention more convenient.

DStv Compact vs Kwese TV

Entertainment and Movies

DStv offers 30 channels here: The main draws being Studio Universal, Universal, Sony (the repeat channel), BBC Brit, E! Entertainment, VUZU and Fox. There are other channels offering telenovelas, African soapies and dramas and of course the Indian Zee World. On the movies front there are the M-Net Movies channels Action +, All Stars and Zone. There also is Turner Classic Movies.

Kwese has about 15 channels here: The main draws being AMC (best known for Walking Dead,) Kwese Stories, Kwese Prime, Viceland and CBS Reality (this one is available on DStv too.) There is a telenovela channel and an Indian one too, as well as an African series channel. On the movies front there is Kwese Movies 1, 2 and 3, True Movies, African Movies Channel and Zee Bollymovies (Indian.)

DStv has about double the Kwese channels but their number of channels swells because of the Mzansi (3), AfricaMagic (3) and 3 telenovela channels. Unless you are really into those you won’t appreciate the multiple options.

So for most of us entertainment-wise it’s a toss up, a draw. Kwese has an edge on movies though.

Children and the young at heart

DStv offers 11 channels and Kwese offers 8 channels. They offer mostly the same channels. They both offer Cartoon Network, Jim Jam, Cbeebies and Boomerang.

Exclusive to DStv: Nickelodeon, Disney, Disney XD, Disney Junior, NickJr and NickTOONS

Exclusive to Kwese: Dreamworks, Toonami, POP and Kwese Kids.

This again feels like a draw. There is not much between them to base a decision off of.


DStv offers 6 channels here: TRACE Africa, TRACE Urban, Channel O, Sound City, Mzansi Magic Music and One Gospel.

Kwese offers 5 channels: TRACE Africa, TRACE Mziki, TRACE Gospel, The Box Africa and Revolt (Puff Daddy’s channel.)

Again, this feels like a draw unless you are a huge Hip Hop fan in which case Revolt on Kwese will serve you well. An international pop fan will be better off with TRACE Urban on DStv.

Factual and Lifestyle

DStv offers 14 channels here: Discovery, Discovery Family, National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild and History channel being the main factual ones. For Lifestyle fans the big ones are BBC Lifestyle, Discovery TLC Network and Food Network.

Kwese offers 10 channels: Animal Planet, Kwese Know, Kwese Inc, Discovery Science, Odisseia and DTX being the main factual ones. For Lifestyle you get Fashion TV and FLN.

They both offer Travel Channel and Discovery IDx.

For this category I feel DStv has the edge but that could have something to do with me being a Nat Geo fan. Kwese swings back with Animal Planet and Discovery Science and if we are being fair, this category can be judged to be a draw.

News and Religious

For news both have BBC World News, CNN, CNBC Africa, Sky News and Al Jazeera. You wont’ miss out on any world news on both DStv and Kwese.

For Religious content DStv has a clear edge. They have TBN, DayStar and Faith Broadcast Network and more.

Kwese is weaker in the religious department with Hillsong Channel and Flow TV.


Let us be frank. There is no competition here. DStv wipes the floor with Kwese here, especially if you are a football fan. If you are a basketball fan the tables are turned and Kwese wipes the floor with DStv as it does with the other American sports.

DStv offers: Supersport Blitz, 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9. For English football fans Supersport 3 delivers the biggest games in the EPL and that’s exclusive to DStv at the moment. La Liga fans can catch up on Messi and Ronaldo on Supersport 7.

Kwese has Kwese Sports 1 and 2, Kwese Free Sports 1, ESPN and NBA. For those English football fans we will say it again, at the moment you are better off with DStv. Kwese only shows one game per week live and it is hardly ever a big game they get to show. They then show a good number of games delayed. The same applies for Champions Leagu, La Liga and PSL matches where DStv is your best bet.

For the other non football sports it is a toss up. As mentioned above, Kwese offers NBA basketball which DStv does not offer. For the other sports like tennis, volleyball, netball and cycling you will get more or less the same.

DStv’s monopoly on sports is being challenged though. The relevant authority in South Africa, Icasa for instance started an inquiry into subscription-based television broadcasting services.

Where does that leave us?

If we are being honest, if you are not a football fan either DStv or Kwese will serve you well. There isn’t much between them in the other categories. Kwese being the new kid on the block, most will be willing to try them out but know that there is not much of a difference between them and DStv. Kwese does offer 5 free channels whether you subscribe or not, that is something.

For football fans you would do well to stick with DStv for the time being.

Some won’t like this but we have to mention ease of payment yet again. It is much easier to pay for Kwese than it is for DStv at the moment. We cannot expect people to open new bank accounts with banks that accept payment by transfer for DStv subscriptions just for those subscriptions.

Let us know in the comments below if you jumped ship to Kwese or you stayed put. We would like to know your reasons.


  1. Tawanda Mashava

    I have dropped DsTV for Kwese, I love my football, and this gives me an advantage, I get to leave home and watch it at the bar without a lot of questions from Madam, so its a perfect arrangement

    1. Victor


  2. Lehlohonolo

    I think the comparison has really been a fair one. Except that Kwese has EWTN and X2D on the religious category which are unmentioned in the article.

  3. Anonymous

    does compact have history???? don’t think so unless its a recent addition

  4. Batman

    Lazy me would have appreciated to see an infographic

    1. Tau

      Same here Batman….

  5. Raymond uganda

    DSTV has alot instock to keep us on the edge of our seats. cant just quit it for kwesi tv.

    1. SiD

      A lot more sport .Nothing more

  6. Tomboy

    Am not overly excited as yet to ditch DSTV,Kwese has to build exclusive to die for content before l can even think of making the switch.DSTV also has an edge with the DMX audio and a bevy of radio channels bundled with the compact package

  7. Janet Veru

    I think I have been wairing for a competitor like Kwese DSTV had been so unfair to its costumers in Zimbabwe the pricrs were too high and when they were hosting competitions we were left behind as if we were watching for free thank u Mr Strive hands up for u .Im moving to Kwese with pleasure even if they were offerring Five channels Viva Zimbabwe

  8. Munya Skillz

    Kwese promise great entertainment in the future if they their on kwese sports channels that show EPL, LA liga, bundasiliga etc but for now I will stick with dstv cause who would want to miss on messi cr7 cavani lukaku

  9. Miki

    Soccer the number one pull factor for one to subscribe to any broadcasting entity

  10. adiza

    i think kwese has to improve on football. how do i watch just one match a week and no champions league. this is total disaster. strive has to know that we facing challenges with DSTV. These includes prices and accessiblity. he needs now to offer an alternative. i mean how is one low profile epl match an alternative? i went to ask about kwese from one econet shop in byo,the girls were clueless and didnt even care on explaining to me. i think its only simple to put a big plasma screen and whenever people come ,you just show them the channels and try to explain

  11. Sagitarr

    It’s most likely that DStv has exclusive rights to those Sports channels that Kwese will not be providing. This comes as a no-brainer. I’m hopeful with time, Kwese will improve their soccer offering. Are you able to specify the type of content that will be screened on the generic-named Kwese x channels? EW needs to be more creative in their channel-naming conventions – personally I’m averse to the generic-naming convention, i find nothing particularly creative in that. Apart from that, the competition is most welcome!!

  12. Lionel

    Kwese has nothin rlly to offer its jus the hype that we zim pple get esp with new stuff emergin. Kwese a total let down esp to all felaz seriously who watches basketball in africa and all those american sports….

    1. Tafirenyika

      True yu hav anlyzd this expertly dstv cannot be compared to anything or anyone currently . Its just a lot of hype about nothng .typicall of zim pple.

  13. Truth

    Dstv versus Kwese/ Koos Bekker vs Strive Masiyiwa is not a case of David (kwese) versus Goliath (dstv). It actually a case of God (dstv) versus Buddha (kwese). We can compare packages, logos and founders but the fact still remains that dstv is not only the best in Sub Saharan Africa but in the world.

    Top Tv entered the sa market with the exact same hype but where are they now. Kwese has content that has acquired low ratings on dstv. Dstv has managed to beat its biggest competition “the internet and street dvds” with express view. Dstv is a Beast.

    1. SiD

      Thats nonsense .Up until Now Dstv has not faced any competiton with the financial means that Kwese has.If you havent noticed Dstv has reduced their Zim prices whichcomes at a time whena new competitor has entered the scene. Unlike GTV who once took away EPL rights from DSTv ,Kwese has way more financial muscle and will not be pushovers .And After Dstv has continuously ripped customers with their monopolistic behavior expect Kwese to be a big hit especially as they add more channels

      1. Hilton

        totally agree with you

  14. BTM

    There is a huge market for african content which has not yet been tapped into.Any game changer in the market needs to focus on this.So much potential and so much happening out there

  15. Andie

    You didn’t mention entreprenuerial angle, are there no business men in Zimbabwe? Kwese TV is moving mountains here in Nigeria cos of Kwese Inc. There are many CNBC and business programs like Shark Tank, The Profit, How I made my first million, The Partner etc. That is the game changer. Entertainment is good but it doesn’t pay bills so I ditched my DStv and watch the important soccer matches at a bar while I enjoy my Kwese TV at home and learn to grow my business and finances. We need to get our priorities right. Plus TSTV Africa just launched in Nigeria so it’s only a matter of time before we are done with DSTV and their exploitive tendencies.

    1. Ash

      Thank you

    2. Walter Musakanye

      Good analysis


    Guys let’s give kwese 5 stars this is just bigging and I hope kwese is trying to give more and more interesting .kwese guys please lmprove and meet the desire of people am sure you make it than dstv we always there for you keep it up guys

  17. Mugove Chirangwi

    As it stands, Kwese is good and DStv is the best

    1. kenny manwere

      acual i concar with you home grown is good but DSTV is the best regardless of difficulties we face in paying.

  18. Ash

    I switched on to Kwesé and i know they are not there yet but us subscribing to it will improve it’s capacity to screen all EPL games and in HD too… For a firm that is still on the rise they are doing great and DStv knows knows that reason why they are slashing prices. The DStv payment queue at Joina is no more and people are queued up at Econet shops…Watch the space

  19. bibi

    thanks for the article. now i know to stay with dstv because i just can’t do without my EPL.

  20. Anonymous

    Hi, this is just the beginning for Kwese TV. Give them time and i am sure they will beat DSTV at their own game

  21. DEE

    Me being a fan of IDOLS i would rather stick to DSTV

  22. Minister Fungie

    The analysis is fair….. However, speaking from a Zim perspective I’m sure it’s wise to embrace our very own Kwese”.

  23. Petros

    Question. Can one get Kwese with the current dstv dish or will it need realignment?

  24. Kibuuka

    I am for Kwese TV, I love shack tank. Don’t compare a one year company and 20 year old company

  25. Tafirenyika

    True yu hav anlyzd this expertly dstv cannot be compared to anything or anyone currently . Its just a lot of hype about nothng .typicall of zim pple.

  26. Mtha

    I currently have kwese however I have been a long time DStv user,kwese is not bad for a start up company and for its cost but however Dstv’s full bouquet has better content than kwese for now,kwese is too American based in terms of showing us uncommon american content e.g sports content,music channels and a slot more etc…for someone who has never experienced DStv ever it will be amazing for them but for EX full bouquet DStv users they won’t survive…my own view..

  27. Diaz

    Sport, especially the EPL, being the major crowd puller, is lacking on Kwese. I must say Kwese content is not bad for a recently launched company and if they can improve on their sports channels by matching the content on DSTv blow for blow then they will definitely have the upper hand. Sports channels is what is currently separating these two giants with DSTv having the upper hand because of the live EPL and LaLiga games. However in all fairness, much praise should be given to Kwese for challenging the monopoly of DSTv. I have subscribed to Kwese to cater for the madam and the kids but have kept and moved my DSTv decoder to the bedroom so that i can watch my EPL and LaLiga without complaints from the kids and the madam boss.

  28. masimba chikuvire

    kwese needs to work on the price for their few channels. There is a great market in Zim

  29. prof

    kwese is great but i edge them to add mzansi channels especially mzansi bioscop.On prices, we need each subscription to last a month giving us channels equivalent to that subscription.

  30. Victor

    Just bought kwese upon realising I can’t even watch a full 90 game at home without being attacked by the female species as they don’t understand my masculine needs on TV.. So kwese basically is for the weaker sex

  31. Sir Tom

    You need to also compare the availability of super HD channels – and also the use of smart decoders that allow you to record channels etc are these also available on Kwese?

  32. Benard

    but they said kwese will be having the likes of Arsenal, Man City tv etc

  33. Nduduzo

    At the moment DSTV is the king …if it wasnt for our struggling economy we all knoe kwese would have faced a stiffer challenge to unseat DSTV but still the quality of dstv content is world class.

  34. vimbai

    I loved Zee World only pa DSTV but I now hate the channel coz the soaps always end badly.Kwese is much better for me.

  35. Hilton

    its only a matter of time before DSTV is defeated, definitely moving to Kwese with pleasure