Everyone knows that the future of entertainment is in streaming. Africa’s largest pay TV operator, DStv is also very much aware of this fact too which is why they have been making forays into the streaming arena. The company has been allowing its subscribers the ability to live stream channels for years, they have an internet service down in South Africa, ShowMax is their sister company and recently they launched the DStv Streama box. If you are thinking of buying it-don’t. There are better and cheaper options.

What is the DStv Streama box?

A lot of people do not own smart TVs. The Streama is a set-top box that you plug in your HDMI port to turn your dumb ordinary LED TV into a smart tv. It is kind of like a Roku Stick or a Firestick or a Mi Box S except that it comes with proprietary DStv firmware (the software that runs things) and that is its biggest problem. The DStv stream costs about US$71 in South Africa based on experience you will be expected to pay about double that US$140 once it lands in Zimbabwe. DStv’s agents in Zimbabwe are that shameless.

The thing is at that price point you have better options. And once you factor in other issues with the box there is really no reason why you should buy it. Still not convinced? Here you go:

  • Streama comes with proprietary software. Initial testers have shown the software to be laggy and buggy.
  • Thanks to this proprietary software there are not many apps available for Streama. You only have the DStv app, ShowMax, Netflix, Prime Video and YouTube. That should be enough for a lot of people until it isn’t.
  • You cannot cast from your phone to this thing. Perhaps it will have MiraCast support but MiraCast is garbage. You should take my word for it.
  • No USB support, if you plug your USB, the device just ignores it
  • You need a DStv account to log in at the moment you don’t need to have an active DStv subscription but who is to say that does not change in the future
  • An underwhelming user interface.

Learn from what happened with Kwese Play

Many moons ago, Strive Masiyiwa and his group of companies started pushing the Kwese TV products and one of these was the Kwese Play box. This was a Roku-based box that required you to log in with your Kwese login credentials. Then Kwese folded and the perfectly working Roku boxes turned into paperweights and people lost their money. Even if you had paid your Netflix subscription you could no longer watch using the TV box because Roku and Kwese had parted ways.

From that day I learnt a hard lesson. Never ever get your hardware from your entertainment or internet provider. Most of the boxes are provided by these providers at a price that is comparable to what devices like the Firestick and Mi Box S sell for. Most service providers provide some sort of lock or restriction on these boxes or try hard to push their own services while suppressing everyone else’s services. There is always the chance that you might lose access to your box for some reason or you might not even be able or allowed to use it with competing services which is ridiculous.

The Mi Box S does everything Streama does and more

The thing with Streama is that there is really nothing that sets it apart as a TV Box. It is in the same price range as the Mi Box S a venerable and proven entertainment box. You can install all the apps the Streama comes with and more on a Mi Box S. I should know I have used the Mi Box S for about four years now. The Mi Box S also allows you to install other apps including iPlayer, Disney+, Apple TV+, BritBox or Kodi the swiss army knife of entertainment. All the apps work well, and the interface is great. Most importantly you are not beholden to some faceless corporation that might decide to pull the plug on you one day.