OpenView HD: free Satellite TV channels for South Africa

Openview is a free satellite TV service targetted at residents of South Africa. It started service in October 2013.

As the service counts down to 2 million subscribers, we take a quick look at their offering.

TV Channels

The Openview TV channels cut across various segments including News, Sports, General Entertainment, Movies / Soapies etc.

NumberNamedescription
101SABC1local entertainment, music and lifestyle and educational programs
102SABC2news, sports, TV soaps etc
103SABC3foreign and local movies and soaps mostly in English
104e.tvnews, local soaps, foreign movies, and other content
105eExtrageneral entertainment
106eMovies+foreign movies, including action, romance, comedy, family and drama
107eMovies Extrainternational blockbuster movies, including action, romance, comedy, family and drama
108eRealityreal-life stories
110StarlifeBollywood family dramas, celebrity dance shows and movies
120news and sportlocal and international current affairs, showbiz, business, celebrity news etc
121BBC World NewsBritish-owned global News channel
130eToonz+kids channel 
134Mindseteducational network
140Glow TVIndian-inspired entertainment

Most of the channels are broadcast in High Definition with a screen resolution of 1080i in 16:9 screen ratio. The only 5 exceptions are the 3 SABC channels, BBC World News and Mindset. Also, the SABC channels are not available for PVR functions.

Radio Channels

The Openview radio channels are mostly FM radio stations. The only exception is the AM Christian Radio Pulpit.

ChannelNamedescription
600YFM 99.2based in Johannesburg; targeted at the youth
601Bok Radiobroadcasts in the Afrikaans language from Cape Town
602LM Radionostalgic adult contemporary music radio
603Gagasi FMR&B, Afro-pop, hip hop, house and kwaito from Durban
604OFMprimarily broadcasts music; based in Bloemfontein
605Heart FMa 24-hour music radio station based in Cape Town
607Radio Pulpitbi-lingual Christian radio based in Pretoria
608Kaya FMUrban / Jazz / African from Johannesburg
609TransAfrica Radio100% African Music station in Johannesburg

Decoder

It features an Electronic Program Guide (EPG) that displays TV programming for up to 1 week.

An Openview decoder & PVR flash stick
An Openview decoder & PVR flash stick

The decoder now supports a rather clumsy recording system (PVR) that requires an external Openview-branded USB stick. Non-Openview sticks do not work with the decoders.

The Openview decoders and other accessories are available at the following retailers in South Africa.

  • Game
  • PEP
  • Makro
  • PicknPay Hypermarket
  • DionWired
  • takealot.com
  • Fair Price
  • Checkers Hyper
  • House&Home
  • OK Furniture

Price

The service itself is free to the extent that there is no monthly subscription payment required. However, setup requires some payment. Depending on what you have already, you would need to fork some money to get started.

Setup fees

  • Openview decoder with an installation voucher. This includes satellite dish and installation from R1299.
  • Openview decoder only. From R499. This excludes dish and installation; this makes sense if you have an installed satellite dish pointing to IS-20 satellite setup. DStv uses this same satellite. You would simply need to connect the existing coaxial cable to the Openview decoder.
  • Open PVR 64GB flash stick for R199. The current stick on sale is capable of holding 18 hours of HD content but is only compatible with the latest decoder models (NA9200 and DSD4165). You need to clarify in-store before purchasing.

Activation

To start viewing, connect your decoder to your satellite dish and follow the activation instructions on the box using your mobile phone. If you need a new dish or your dish needs repositioning, you would need to book an accredited installer to install your dish and activate your decoder. The recommended dish size is 85 cm.

Installers

You can find and book an installer through any of the major Openview distributors by contacting any of those listed below:

  • SpaceTV: (086) 140 4142
  • Switch: (086) 079 4824
  • SOS Lifestyle: (086) 111 3426
  • Ellies: (086) 135 5437

Review

It lacks most of the nice channels you may be familiar with on premium satellite TV services. The content is very limited. While the decoder is basic at best, it gets the job done and that is what matters.

For a free service, Openview offers value for money. Most of the channels are impressively in High Definition. What would have been an icing on the cake would be if the SABC and BBC channels were in HD too.

For a service that offers relatively few channels, it makes one ponder when one considers the fact that about 14 TV channels were canned in the last 6 years for various reasons. One can balance that thought with the fact that the service has grown to about 2 million subscriptions in South Africa. This shows there is definitely a strong market segment Openview is catering to effectively. One can only hope the offer gets stronger and better as the years go bye.

FAQ

How to add free to air channels on OpenView HD

Openview is broadcast from Intelsat 20 at 68.5°E. While there are dozens of other free TV and radio services on that satellite, it is currently not possible to access them using an Openview decoder. You would need to make use of a 3rd-party satellite receiver to access those.

Openview HD frequency settings

The frequency settings are useless, considering the signals are encrypted and can only be decoded with an Openview decoder. The frequency is 11170 V and the system encryption is DVB-S2.

Are you an Openview subscriber or do you have any questions? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Oluniyi D. Ajao is an Internet Entrepreneur and Tech Enthusiast. Follow him on twitter @niyyie for more tech updates.

13 Comments

  1. I am unable to receive a signal, I get: E06 This STB or Smart Card is not activated. Please activate using the OVHD USSD or the customer care No. in the user manual. What is USSD and I do not have a user manual!

  2. Hi im schalk. Im happy with open view with the movies and sport. I wish to see open view can habe a bit more channels like history, national geographics a movie channel that can play historical movies thats not new movies between 2000 – 2020 wud like to see again old movies of the past. I choose open view 90% over dstv.

  3. Were can i buy the dongle for my open view decoder i went to most of the outlets you recommend to bay and no one have stock please please help. Did not receive one with my decodor. I brought my decodor one year ago ,i want to record and pause and rewind and your helpline said i need to get the dongle before i can do that function. Thank you
    Elza

  4. I have tried numerous times to connect through WhatsApp. I have read many qiuestions here in the hopes of finding the correct answer. Many clients have asked questions with no answer. Why is that? If they where answered i would have had my similar question answered. Your service is rather abominable

    • Did you people know you need to upgrade your decoder after 3 years? My decoder was off for few months. After switch on, there call centre replied that I must replace the decoder. It is only playing on channel 100. Ovhd is not free if you must replace your decoder every other year!

  5. Mr. . Mahne, I get no signal and can’t contact them because they working on the problem now for weeks. So i can’t watch TV at all. I try to re scan and i get no signal.

  6. Only channel 100 is playing
    It shows the other channels but no picture and no sound
    Signal strength is 88%
    What could be the problem

  7. I have same problem only channel 100 is working error code E04 been like that now for 3 days does anybody knows what seems to be the problem

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