The Dummies' Guide to TopTV

Written by TVSA Team from the blog News on 29 Apr 2010
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TopTV Logo

South African television enters a new era on Saturday 1 May, when the first pay-TV rival to Multichoice - On Digital Media - launches its TopTV platform.

From as little as R99 per month subscribers will have access to over 20 channels of local and international programming and more than 50 channels if they're prepared to fork out R249 per month. There are also a bunch of options in between.

Designed to provide affordable extra entertainment for the majority of South Africans who can't afford DStv and who are weary of the limited offering provided by the cash-strapped free-to-air broadcasters, TopTV offers four different different pay-TV bouquets which are bundled into seven different pricing structures.

The four different packages are:

Kids & Music
Entertainment & Knowledge
Ultimate Movies

Within the four packages there are seven different pricing options, ranging from R99 to R249 per month. The pricing structure is as follows:
TopTV pricing structure

So for R99 per month you'll get the Variety bouquet. You can add either Kids & Music or Entertainment & Knowledge to your Variety for R159/pm, or pay R189/pm for all three of them.

R219/pm will get you Variety, either K&M or E&K and the Ultimate Movies bouquet. To get all four of them you will pay the maximum price of R249/pm.

To put the maximum price in perspective: DStv's premium bouquet will set you back R529/pm - more than double the most you could possibly pay for TopTV. The M-Net analogue channel alone costs R285/pm - without DStv.

So as far as pricing goes, if you can't afford TopTV then you clearly don't want to. That's OK. Don't beat yourself up. Welfare TV is your friend. Trusty as an old, familiar pair of boots.

The Big Question, however, is the amount of bang you get for your buck. Just like the good folks at DStv Compact, your new friends at TopTV have cunningly worked it that the cheapest package has some good stuff on it... but not everything you want.

Your best bet is to suck it up and get the premium bouquet - all four packages. If you want to keep it to a minimum, or perhaps mix and match a bit, this is what each of the four packages contains:

(Click each to see full table. Links open in popup windows.)
To summarise them for you:


This is the standard package which comes with all subscriptions, regardless of the cost. It contains a mix of news channels, sports, fashion, fine living, audio channels, religion and TopTV's flagship local channel, Top One.

Top One is the equivalent of M-Net, described as "a specially packaged family entertainment channel with strong international and local programming. It has something for everyone – drama, lifestyle and award-winning series".

Schedules have not yet been provided by the channel so we can't tell you what shows you are likely to see on it, but the description says it all. We'll keep you posted on specifics.

The Variety package also includes the SABC channels and, which means you can still watch all your favourite shows on the free channels. An added bonus is that you can watch them in digital quality, as opposed to the current crappy analogue picture.

Kids & Music

If you're a big believer in sticking your kids in front of the telly with a big bag of sweets for eight hours a day, this is the package for you. It even includes BabyTV, a 24-hour channel for, well, babies.

It's not just about the kiddies, though - there are a number of video music channels as well (as opposed to the audio channels on Variety, which act as a surrogate sound system and don't have accompanying videos).

The video music channels include Classica (opera, classical, jazz), Kerrang! (rock and hard rock), Kiss (urban, hip-hop and R&B) and Smash Hits, the UK's No. 1 pop channel.

The bouquet also includes Fuel TV, an extreme sports channel that covers the lifestyle and culture of skateboarding, snowboarding, kitesurfing, BMX, motocross, base jumping and many others.

We're still trying to figure out how that relates to either kids or music, but who cares? It is what it is. Something mindless to switch over to when Junior falls asleep watching Mr. Snail or Pim & Pimba.

Entertainment & Knowledge

The "Entertainment" part of this package includes channels like BET (Black Entertainment Television), Fox Entertainment (comedy, drama, sci-fi, action, animation and reality shows), Fox Retro (classic series from the 70s-90s) and Star!, a gossip channel similar to DStv's E! Entertainment.

The "Knowledge" part of this bouquet is all the Discovery-type programmes, covering genres such as science, wildlife and nature, travel, crime, exploration and history.

TopTV has its own little stable of such channels including Top Crime, Top Explore and Top History, which has a strong focus on South African and African history.

Ultimate Movies

The Variety bouquet comes with one movie channel - Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) - which is similar to DStv's Turner Classic Movies (TCM) channel. Classics, in other words. Not exactly the most current, happening films of the day.

The Ultimate Movies bouquet is a must if you are looking for 24-hour, non-stop movies.

TopTV has its own channel - Top Movies - which broadcasts current and classic blockbusters, with two additional channels that broadcast the same movies two hours later and 24 hours later respectively.

Showtime is a 24-hour movie channel as well (no Showtime television series will air on it - only movies). It features box office hits from the action, thriller, sci-fi and horror genres and has no commercial breaks.

The final movie channel is Silver, which features independent movie titles from around the world that push the limits of cinema. A sort of Cinema Nouveau, if you like. Arsty nudes.

Also in the Ultimate Movies bouquet is Fox FX, which has nothing to do with movies. It's kind of an added bonus for shelling out the bucks to get the movies package, which only comes with the more expensive options.

FX is similar to DStv's M-Net Action channel, with a focus on action and comedy series like Underbelly, Entourage, The Office and Fear Factor.

Now that you know what each of the bouquets offer, you can put together your preferred package using the pricing structure provided above.

Before you do that, however, you also need to factor in the cost of the setup package, which includes the decoder, the dish and installation. The cost for the setup package is R499 (limited offer, while stocks last) and includes:

A TopTV decoder (STB)
Smart Card
Power Supply
Male / Female RF Cable
RCA Cable
Remote Control Unit
Instruction Manual for the STB
TopTV decoder and dish

For further information call the TopTV customer care line between 7am and 11pm every day on 08600 TOPTV/08600 86788, or visit

Note the "while stocks last" bit - once the rush is over that setup package will increase in price. If you're considering subscribing to TopTV you should probably get sorted as soon as possible.

TopTV's set top boxes and satellite dishes will be available through Pep, Game, Makro, Dion, selected Jumbo Cash & Carry stores, CCW, Brown's and Weirs, as well as House & Home. More stockists will be added after the launch on Saturday 1 May.

To conclude: if you opt for the cheapest subscription package it will cost you R598 straight up (installation and first month's subscription). After that it will be just R99 per month.

The most expensive package will set you back R798 in your first month, after which you can breathe easy with R249/pm.

The question you need to ask yourself is whether or not you are ready to pay for better entertainment than you currently have. If so, get cracking.

Any TVSA readers who buy a TopTV package are welcome to review it on the site - start a blog and post your review to help others make up their minds.


30 Apr 2010 01:23

Mmmh.. I will wait and hear from others i aint ready yet.This also means that DSTV may just up their game for customer retention,am hoping they do as im very sceptical bout Toptv.what a mission changing the whole setup,change aint easy!

30 Apr 2010 06:40

R500 bugs to install!! Not bad at all. I hope I get the while stocks last even if it means I have to visit all the retailers mentioned above. After the installation I will wait to hear the hype about Top TV, if good will temporarily cancel dstv and go for this top TV.

But wait a minute, isn’t the cricket twenty 20 starting next week? Oh well then, Top TV has to wait until the cricket is over but I’m installing it nonetheless.

30 Apr 2010 08:29

Thanks TVSA - are they having month to month contract or is it 24 months?  How does it work?

30 Apr 2010 08:35

Mmmh.. I will wait and hear from others i aint ready yet.
mmmmh...same here!!

This also means that DSTV may just up their game for customer retention

What is this i hear about DSTV-LITE going for R99 as well??

30 Apr 2010 08:46

DSTV better up the game and give people something worth 549 that topTV cant offer..Will wait for the review before i ditch my dstv compact.

30 Apr 2010 09:47

I went to game to find out if they got the decoder. Guess what!!! Game has no information when they will have them in stock. Can TVSA find which retailers have this blooming decoder? On 702 they said they will be available tomorrow but it looks like not all the retailers will have the stock.

30 Apr 2010 10:00

FOR 549 i GET 1. PVR, DSTV ON DEMAND AND A HELL LOAD OF CHANNELS I NEVER watch, SO why should I get this one, it's cheaper but not better than what i'm getting

30 Apr 2010 10:59

What is this i hear about DSTV-LITE going for R99 as well?? 
From fin
Johannesburg – Satellite TV company MultiChoice has announced it will offer its customers more value and choice by adding a brand new bouquet as well as several new channels. 

The DStv family of bouquets now offers six different bouquets, priced from R20
a month. The latest addition, DStv Lite, will cost R99 per month and comprise of
25 video channels, 32 radio and 10 DMX music channels. 

The various options to subscribers are as follows: DStv EasyView R20, DStv Lite
R99, DStv Select 1 R148, DStv Select 2 R148, DStv Compact R232 and DStv Premium R529. 

In addition, existing bouquets will be improved, it said. DStv Select 1 will get 8
additional video channels, to have a total of 34 video channels, 32 radio and 10 DMX
music channels.
Select 2 will get 6 additional video channels, to have a total of 32 video
channels, 32 radio and 10 DMX music channels.
DStv Compact will get 4 additional video channels, to have a total of 44 video
channels, 32 radio and 10 DMX music channels

30 Apr 2010 10:59

I see they have added Vuzu and Mnet Stars on compact, well it's better than nothing but i'm still hoping they would be generous enough and open the History channel....

Savanah Dry
30 Apr 2010 11:33

If they are adding more channels to compact and others why cant they add more to the premium why should i keep on paying more ????

Boring part is when i am home weekends there are no movies worth watching so am paying for mahala since i cant afford PVR MXIM DSTV sucks

30 Apr 2010 12:05

savs can u start another fight pls, im bored to death

Savanah Dry
30 Apr 2010 12:11

@ Dali thought i was the only one keeping coming to check if there is anything interesting!!

30 Apr 2010 12:13

lol at Mathaz and wanting the history channel...

30 Apr 2010 12:16


Total: 36243 |
Online: 1348 

 i know savs i keep coming back en still people r gaaning aan about top tv dis gen dat hayi im tired. so many ppl online en still nothing interesting to keep us busy. dis is sad, tvsa on a friday like dis :-(

30 Apr 2010 16:29

DSTV must add 101, 124, 123 and 112 to the compact bouquet and i may not jump ship!

30 Apr 2010 18:53

112 and 123 are already on compact, Tox. 101 neh! that's a pipe dream, it's worth over R200 on its own:-(. nna ke tla move(r) to premium once they add BET & other new interesting channels. to be honest I was starting to get fru about this compact thingy. at least vuzu, mnet stars & discovery will offer poor us something different.

30 Apr 2010 18:54

30 Apr 2010 23:53

How can local producers get info to produce shows.

30 Apr 2010 23:54

How can local producers get info to produce shows.

01 May 2010 01:13

Heh thanks Mathaz for the info hun.Now can they pls add the crime and history on compact then we wont even think bout cheap still laughing at the all of a sunday changes just b4 the launch, money talks and *bleep!* walks for real!

01 May 2010 01:18

They gave us TCM as well,inneresting developments!

01 May 2010 01:28

Wow!Ok credit is gotta b given when due people,they really wanna keep us compacters.its,VUZU,MSTARS,TCM,DiscWorld.its betta than fokkol neh?.now cheaptv u can top that.thank gaad they did not waste the additions on sport channels.

01 May 2010 07:17

Cnglema, I thought u are a premiumer(?). did u jump ship? nna that R500 ntonitoni gives me diarreoh(sp) when I think about it, especially as a total of over R6K in a year

01 May 2010 18:48

I agree with SavD.  What are they giving away to the Preminum subscribers?  A discount will do as there is nothing left to grap.  We have all the channels.

Cnga - cheaptv - is still better than welfare tv

01 May 2010 19:04

why is there nothing on cheaptv's website.  I mean really now?  What were they launching kanti?  I thought by now they would have tv guide to entice potentian subscribers.

are these some of the signs of a failed launch?  A case of still born?

03 May 2010 08:57

ooops i lost out on this one, eer tell me is it available in east london, this will be the best present fot Mothers day for sho!

03 May 2010 11:42

what about  sport channels!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

03 May 2010 12:12

Dicovery world is crap. If they put 121 channel then i'm downgrading to compact. I watch mostly national geographic, discovery, sport and money matters. 

03 May 2010 13:01

@LM, nna i don't have 112 and 123. and this happens to be the only VIXENS i wanted to see cause Nomsa's on it. 123 ke Vuzu akere?

03 May 2010 13:10

I checked DSTV Lite's channels....nothing to write home about, toptv it is.

08 May 2010 11:10

Compare #DSTV and #TopTV offerings (calculator):

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