The proliferation of video streaming in South Africa has made it possible to access premium entertainment services without needing a device that can receive TV signals.
Armed with a broadband Internet connection, you can access services like Netflix, Showmax, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube without any TV hardware.
You only need a TV licence in South Africa if you have a device that can receive a traditional TV signal, whether a television set, satellite TV decoder, or TV tuner card.
DStv has also launched a streaming-only version of its service that is available without requiring a decoder, and therefore a TV licence.
A TV licence in South Africa costs R265 per year. To avoid legally needing one, you can build a set-up that does not include any TV tuning equipment.
To access platforms like Netflix and YouTube on a big screen monitor, which may not come with a smart TV-like operating system, you will need a media box like an Apple TV or the Ematic AGT419.
If you are interested in getting DStv’s streaming offering on an Android-based TV box like the Ematic, it is important to ensure they are Google-certified, as the DStv app only supports certified devices.
The following table summarises the prices of several media boxes or TV sticks available in South Africa.
Media box Price
Apple TV 4K 2nd Gen – 32GB R3,199
Ematic AGT419 R1,499
Smartvu SV-10 Android TV R1,499
Xiaomi Mi Box S R1,199
Google Chromecast 3.0 R999
Xiaomi Mi TV Stick R799
The other major component of a TV licence-free video entertainment set-up is a monitor that does not include a TV tuner.
There are several affordable options in this category to choose from if you only require high definition resolution.
However, if you would like to enjoy streaming in ultra-high-definition from Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube, a more expensive 4K/UHD monitor is preferred.
Six ultra-high-definition monitors available in South Africa that measure 40-inches in the diagonal or larger are listed below.
It is worth noting that a 65-inch Mecer monitor could be picked up for cheaper than some 55-inch models at the time of publication.