DStv's new HD PVR decoder: 10 specs

Launched last week, DStv's new decoder seeks to bring on-demand content and interactive services to SA.
Read time 2min 10sec
Launched last week, DStv's new decoder seeks to bring on-demand content and interactive services to SA.

SA's first pay-television provider MultiChoice's next-generation HD decoder will be on the shelves next week.

Developed over three years, the DStv Explora has a 2TB hard drive and Ethernet connection. While no Internet-connected applications are available to customers at launch, the company says these will be made available "in the future".

The company says the idea behind the new decoder was to offer on-demand services and an interactive interface in a country where broadband is a challenge.

As well as the usual personal video recorder (PVR) features DStv customers are accustomed to, here are 10 functions the Explora brings to the table:

1. One viewing and one recording environment.
2. The ability to pause live TV for up to two hours and retain the buffer on channel change and when launching applications.
3. Revamped applications.
4. Parental control.
5. HD capabilities (720p and 1080i).
6. Dolby Digital 5.1 capable.
7. XtraView capable (compatible with all other XtraView decoders).
8. Widescreen capable.
9. Hearing impaired subtitles capable (when available).
10. HD user interface.

How the new DStv decoder compares to its HD PVR predecessor.

DStv Explora



R2 499

R1 499


3 Tuners

2 Tuners

Coax cables

One single coaxial cable for all tuners

2 coaxial cables for 2 tuners

Hard drive capacity

2 Terabytes

500 GB

Catch Up service capacity

Up to 220 hours of recording capacity

Average of 50 hours of recording capacity

BoxOffice titles



Ethernet connection

IP network connection for future use

Unused Ethernet connection


No software loaded. Needs to be downloaded as part of installation.

Software loaded during manufacture


Retains time-shift buffers with channel change and when switching between BoxOffice, DStv Catch Up, recordings etc.

Time-Shift buffer lost upon channel change

Automatic scheduling

Automatically schedules the repeat event for recording, if recording is lost in conflict

No automatic scheduling of repeat events

Search options

Customised and advanced search options available

Basic search available

Panel buttons

3 front-panel buttons

9 front-panel buttons

Autotune and reminders

Only reminders

Autotune and banner reminders

Fast forward/Rewind speed

Fast forward and slowmo at 4 speeds, Rewind at 3 speed

Fast forward and rewind at 4 speeds, Slowmo at 2 speeds

Playlist view

Playlist can be viewed in movies, series and sport categories

Playlist can only be viewed as one list


Full mute and half mute functionality

Only full mute functionality

Staff Writer

ITWeb's journalist

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