Who remembers using TVs with antennas:
Or watching NTA 2 on black and white TVs.
TV’s hardware has evolved from box sets to tubes to flat-screens and now, mobile! I checked on Twitter, and I discovered that a good number of people watch the World Cup matches on their mobile devices.
Which is why a lot of cable TV companies now have apps that allow you to watch content on your Smartphones. Leading this trend in Africa is DSTV with their DSTV Now app which has over 5 million downloads. StarTimes is also doing well with 1 million downloads, you have also the Kwesi TV app. I downloaded these apps to see how they fared especially for the World Cup. So, without further ado, let’s get right into it:
DSTV Now is free to DSTV subscribers, so you don’t need to pay extra money to use, just connect your Smartcard number, input the OTP code and you are in. You can also watch ‘free content’ without using your Smartcard, but you need to register to do that.
StarTimes allows that too, but there is an option to pay for the app version which cost about 1000 naira monthly. The same applies to Kwese TV app, but their monthly subscription starts at N6275.
As far as app size goes, StarTimes takes the lead with an app size of 9MB. DSTV is next with 11MB and finally, Kwese TV with about 55MB app size.
However, when it comes to the UI, StarTimes app took last place. While there are some detractors with regards to searching through the crowded vault of content, DSTV Now has a terrific search functionality. This came in handy when I wanted to relive Nigeria’s good moments in the world cup:
All I needed to do was search for Nigeria using the search button.
The app also curates suggested content through an ever-present personalized “Just for You” and “Show You are Watching” category on the home screen.
It’s also easy to navigate through content:
As for Kwesi TV app, you also get a good-looking UI, but I found the user experience lacking.
For example, you can’t search for content like you would on DSTV Now, the TV guide wasn’t particularly helpful either.
Then, there is the issue with ease of use, Out of the three apps, KweseTV took the longest to setup.
Something that the Startimes app offers with ease! But like I said, Startimes’ app came in third thanks to its scattered interface and the fact that they serve ads on the homescreen:
Even at that, I think the overall user experience was fluid —I was able to navigate and watch content easily! The app also has a search button, although this is only limited to channel search unlike DSTV where you can search for keywords.
Content is the most important point of comparison for any streaming service. Luckily, this can be judged in terms of raw numbers. In general, DSTV has more content than the other two, especially when it concerns movies, sports, and even original content.
For the world cup season, DSTV and Startimes offer access to all the 64 matches as opposed to 32 matches offered on the Kwese TV app.
Overall, you get access to 116 channels on DSTV, 65 channels on Kwese and 56 on Startimes.
As far as video quality goes, I like that DSTV, just like YouTube, has more options when it comes to video resolution — You get about 4 options:
Startimes is next, with three resolutions to choose from:
While Kwese TV only allows you to select between high and low resolutions:
If you need parental controls, DSTV Now is the way to go. You can easily enable kids-lock to keep your kids safe from watching shows you don’t want them to see.
Need to download stuff? DSTV is also your best bet!
Want to replay live matches? Then Startimes is really great for that, but you can also do that on DSTV Now.
If I am going to make a single recommendation based on the user experience and other things mentioned, I’d go with DSTV Now. That said, I am also impressed with Startimes app, but the lack of compelling content has me switching back to DSTV Now.
So, over to you, what’s your pick?