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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Channels & Settings: How to watch free channels on DStv Africa.


For those who do not know already, there a few unencrypted channels on Eutelsat W4 and Eutelsat W7, both located at 36° East. DStv was formerly on W4 but is now beaming its signals from W7. The information I am sharing relates to how to view the unencrypted channels that share the same satellite as Multichoice’s DStv, and not how to illegally hack into DStv’s encrypted channels.
DStv decoders are designed, manufactured and sold to receive Multichoice services only. Therefore, I offer no guarantee that all the channels I am sharing would necessarily work on your DStv decoder. The DStv HD decoder for example, does not offer a “Public bouquet” and even for the single view decoders that do, one might be unable to watch the unencrypted channels once subscription is overdue. It would thus make the most sense to simply buy a good MPEG4-compatible digital satellite receiver and connect same to your satellite dish. There would be more on that later.

Some unencrypted TV channels currently available on Eutelsat W4 & W7.
Some unencrypted TV channels currently available on Eutelsat W4 & W7. Image: davidajao.com
The free channels from China
The easiest unencrypted channels to watch are the following 3 TV channels from China Central Television (CCTV), the major state television broadcaster in mainland China:
  • CCTV News (formerly CCTV 9): this channel is targetted at an English-speaking international audience and mainly broadcasts news and current affairs programmes
  • CCTV-F: programming targetted at a French-speaking international audience
  • CCTV-4: an international channel broadcast in Chinese language
Any DStv decoders can view the CCTV channels whether your subscription is expired or not. So long your satellite is pointed towards 36° East.
If you are using a good Free-To-Air (FTA) digital satellite receiver, a blind scan should reveal the CCTV channels. Else, enter the following parameters to your receiver:
  • In South Africa – Frequency: 11637 Symbol rate: 22000 Polarization: Vertical FEC: 3/4
  • Rest of Africa – Frequency: 11940 Symbol rate: 27500 Polarization: Horizontal FEC: 3/4 and Frequency: 11862 Symbol rate: 27500 Polarization: Horizontal FEC: 3/4
The free channels from East Africa
In recent times, a few channels have emerged on Eutelsat W7 from Kenya, and beamed at the African continent:
  • NTV Kenya: a leading TV channel in Kenya offering news and general entertainment
  • KBC Channel 1: a TV service from the wholly-state owned Kenya Broadcasting Corporation
  • K24: a news and current affairs channel from Kenya
  • KTN Kenya: an all-round channel in Kenya. Arguably the leading TV station
  • NTV Uganda: a general entertainment channel targetted at Uganda
Parameters:
  • Frequency: 11731 Symbol rate: 8751 Polarization: Vertical FEC: 3/5
  • Frequency: 11716 Symbol rate: 3141 Polarization: Vertical FEC: 3/4
The free channels from Francophone West Africa
A bouquet of mostly French-speaking African channels exist on Eutelsat W4.
  • La Chaîne de Futur (LCF): a tv channel from Togo
  • Mboa TV: an entertainment TV channel based in France and exclusively dedicated to black-afro artists
  • RTS 1 (Senegal): Radiodiffusion Télévision Sénégalaise (RTS) is the Senegalese public broadcasting company
  • 2STV: a TV channel in Senegal broadcasting mainly cultural programmes, interviews with local music and other artistic stars, and talkshows
  • Touba TV: a privately-owned TV channel in Senegal
  • ORTB TV: Office de Radiodiffusion et Télévision du Bénin (ORTB) is a the mainstream terrestrial television channel and radio operator in Benin
  • LoveWorld Plus: Christian-themed programming in  English language from Nigeria
Parameters:
  • Frequency: 12437 Symbol rate: 23437 Polarization: Horizontal FEC: 3/4
Kindly note that the channels are subject to change without notice. Thus, re-scanning your receiver regularly ensures that you are constantly in the loop as to the current channels.
Good Luck, As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome.