In Ghana, the only satellite provider I knew as a kid was “DSTV”.
M-Net was the gold standard when it came to watching all the latest movies. SuperSport was basically a household name. When it was time for any English Premier Football game, everyone in their homes was tuned in. All the memorable days of watching Manchester United and becoming a fan was all thanks to SuperSport.
Sesame Street, MTV, Cartoon Network were all the shows I watched growing up because of DSTV.
DSTV was basically the babysitter for our household.
Over the years, MultiChoice has added more and more channels to its line up. They can boast of a 100+ channels which include the old favorites like SuperSport, M-Net and Cartoon Network as well as some new channels including Al-Jazerra, Disney Channel and Comedy Central.
But DSTV has also grown into somewhat of a monopoly. In the face of almost no competition, MultiChoice has increased prices over the years, much to the grumbling of the average DTSV subscriber.
There have been some local satellite TV providers, but all without strong content, especially sports. This means subscribers willingly continue to subscribe to DSTV.
But times are changing and it looks like DSTV might finally have a worthy competitor. Kwesé TV launched in Ghana in March of this year, ready to take on the goliath known as DSTV.
Kwesé TV brings to the table what most other competitors don’t: Content. They bring a strong sports line up which includes the NBA, ESPN and of course, Kwesé Sports, which shows the English Premier League games.
But with DSTV having a tight grip on the market, can Kwesé TV make a bit of noise and cause a bit of disruption?
Setup and Pricing
Installation was pretty simple. The satellite dish was installed at a favorable position on the roof of my home. The satellite cable was run from the dish to the decoder and the settings were configured. After that, we were all set to go. The set up can be done in under an hour.
Here’s how much it’s going to cost you to have Kwesé TV up and running:
Full Installation With Decoder and Dish:
For installation of a 90cm satellite dish with a decoder, you pay 145 GHC which includes the satellite dish and Decoder box.
Installation with Decoder:
If you already have a 90cm satellite, you just pay 76 GHC for the decoder.
To get access to all Kwese TV channels, here’s how much youwill pay:
- 110 GHC for a monthly subscription
- 35 GHC for a 7 day subscription
- 15 GHC for a 3 day
My guess is that most people would opt for the monthly subscription.
Kwesé TV Decoder and Remote Control
The Kwesé decoder is a nice little black box. It’s not too fancy and it sits nicely near your TV or on your cabinet.
The decoder is HD compatible, meaning you can get High Definition channels without upgrading to another decoder box.
You can also record live shows (it’s PVR compatible) but you’ll need an external hard drive to store the recordings. You can attach a hard drive through the USB port which is either at the front or back of the decoder.
At the back of the decoder is the satellite cable port, an AV Out, an Ethernet cable slot, a USB slot, a power supply outlet and an HDMI cable output.
These are all pretty standard when it comes to a decoder box.
The Kwesé TV remote control is pretty standard. It’s not too different from the DSTV Remote control. Although I think most of the satellite TV providers could be a little more innovative with their remotes. Have you tried using keyword searches with a remote control? It’s exhausting.
Menu Interface and Interaction
The menu experience for Kwesé TV won’t win user interface of the year but it gets the job done. Users get a nice horizontal menu option which includes the TV Guide, a Radio Guide, Settings, a Catch Up section for your recorded shows and other menu items.
There is an option to make the menu appear transparent as you browse the TV Guide. It makes for a better experience to be honest. With the TV Guide, you get to see all the TV channels and the line up. Once you highlight a show to watch, you get options to see more information about the show and to search for similar shows.
I tried the Search option on the TV show but it didn’t return any results. The developers at Kwesé TV may need to work on that.
Like I said before, it’s not a deal breaker but it would be nice to see satellite providers give TV viewers a more “visual” appeal when browsing through the TV Guide. Maybe they can take a page out of Netflix or Hulu and design better TV user interfaces.
I will say that Kwesé TV’s user interface looks better than the current one used by DSTV to be honest. So they get extra points for that.
Content Is King
There’s no point in trying to compete with DSTV unless you have great content. Out the gate, Kwesé TV does its best with some great content. Kwesé currently has 50 channels on its line up including Viceland, ESPN and NBA TV. Kwesé Sports have rights to show English Premier matches which is a major win.
But if we’re really comparing Kwesé TV’s content to DSTV, they still have a lot of catching up to do. DSTV has 60+ channels which include the E! Network, BET and TLC as well as some local channels including JoyNews, GTV and TV3.
If we’re talking price, Kwesé might have a slight upper hand but it depends on what the viewer wants to watch.
Kwesé TV Mobile App
Kwesé TV has a mobile app on Android and iOS which allows users to view the Kwesé TV Guide and also watch live TV on their smartphones and tablets. It worked pretty well when I tested it out with the streaming quality being pretty smooth with a good internet connection.
Load times were a bit inconsistent especially when loading the TV guide which took some time to show the results. Apart from that, it’s solid and a good companion app.
A Good Start But There’s A Long Way To Go
After a couple of weeks of watching Kwesé TV, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. The price point of 110 GHC per month is a good selling point. If you’re a football fanatic, getting Kwesé when the football season starts seems like a good economic option. But if you’re a TV person, the limitation of 50 channels could hold you back. One other drawback is the fact that you don’t get local channels like GTV or Metro TV.
I think the free Kwesé TV app is also a good selling point. The ability to easily login and watch content on mobile is a great option and competes nicely with DSTV. I also love the ability to easily record TV shows just by plugging in an external hard drive. With DSTV, you have to upgrade to another decoder if you start off with the basic one
So would I recommend you to switch from DSTV to Kwesé TV? That truly depends on the viewer.
If you don’t watch much TV but tend to stick to the Sports channels, I recommend you go with Kwesé. It’s cheaper and you can fill out the time with other channels like Kwesé movies, Viceland or music channels.
However, if you want more options with your channel selection and don’t mind having all those extra channels along with sports, then I think you should stick with DSTV.
One thing I will say about Kwesé TV is that it’s still early. They just came into the market and already have good content on their line up. They’ve already signed deals to broadcast content like the 2018 Olympic games and there’s no reason they can’t add more TV channels in the near future. Over time, I think they will more channels to rival DSTV. The only question is whether the price of 110 GHC will stay the same.
Whether Kwesé TV can withstand streaming and on demand platforms like Netflix is another question. You also have to consider the fact that most people these days don’t watch TV unless it’s a live sports game and some choose to stream on demand content on their smart devices.
Kwesé TV has a long way to go. DSTV has competitive pricing models for different channel selections which makes it competitive and attractive for users who want cheaper options. DSTV also keeps adding content and shows like Atlanta and Insecure (HBO).
But it’s still a strong start for Kwesé TV. They won’t be disrupting DSTV anytime soon but they might make a little noise. A stronger marketing push which could include a centralised office where they show off the Kwesé experience could give them more visibility.
We’ll see if they have the stamina to keep going in the long run.
Joseph-Albert Kuuire is the creator and editor of TechNovaGh.com, an online digital platform focusing on technology in Ghana.
I’m also a UX Designer, book reader, and tech enthusiast (duh!)
Email: [email protected]