You are leaving home and desire to go cable without putting yourself in the firing line of DSTV charges? Or looking for something more affordable for the boys quarters or children’s room?

GoTV vs StarTimes: Weighing Nigeria’s Cheaper Cable Options


You are leaving home and desire to go cable without putting yourself in the firing line of DSTV charges? Or looking for something more affordable for the boys quarters or children’s room? You have options. You can use Startimes or go GoTV. Which one is the best for you or them? First thing you should know, in Nigeria cable television, there is no best, just better, or, if you choose the brunt way, the lesser of two inferiors.

The history of pay television in Nigeria is littered with disappointment, frustration, near misses, curses etc. Both customers and service providers have shared these knocks. In all this, there has been one constant, Multichoice owners of DSTV who opened shop in Nigeria in 1994. They have largely enjoyed some levels of monopoly. In 2007, HiTV sprang out, gave Nigerians a pay per view terrestrial network, wowed a lot of Nigerians and went bust in 2011. TSTV came out in 2017, made so much noise and crashed out even before they hit TV stands. Daarsat has been epileptic.

Startimes which came out in 2010 is one of the serious competition to DSTV. But it is no DSTV. The channels are grossly limited and the programmes far short of what the South African company offers. Startimes, however, has one thing going for them, their packages are affordable. It doesn’t cost a fortune to buy the decoder, there is no dish to call a technician to fix, little hassle and smaller fees for the programmes. At least it is cheap, so Nigerians began to patronize it in droves that must have hit chords in South Africa because Multichoice came out with GoTV in 2012.

GoTV is terrestrial, easy to set up and cheap. Just like Startimes, except better, some would say. No, counters team Startimes. And this is the argument we intend to put to rest for good here. We wish.

Here are five aspects to consider.

1. Nigerian Drama/Series

When it comes to Drama, GoTV has the clear edge. While Startimes boasts of dramas such as Fast Lane, Troubled Cottage, Lincoln’s Clan and Two Sides of a Coin, this is not up to waist level when compared to the height GoTV has achieved with drama. They have Hush, Tinsel, Do Good, Hustle, Family Love, Family Forever, The Johnsons, Tears of Love, the Story of Us, HQ, Jemeji and a host of others. Most of the editions of this soap operas have ran on DSTV as far back as 2015. It doesn’t matter much since most of these series are timeless and some of them feature standalone episodes.

When it comes to Drama, GoTV leads Startimes by more than a mile.

2. Movies

The qualities of movies in both Startimes and GoTV are nearly the same. For Nigerian movies, the two networks seem to compete on who would out-inferior the other using their African Magic Epic for GoTV and African Movie Channel-Nigeria for the other. Both cables have Iroko TV channels and both have African Magic Video Zone and AMC Movie where they repeat foreign movies until you are sick of seeing them.

When it comes to movie diversity, Startimes have the upper hand as they have Star One and Star Bollywood for Indian entertainment and Star Chinese for movies from China.

Both Startimes and GoTV affords you the opportunity of seeing movies in your local language with African Magics for Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba for the latter (Hausa has the additional Arewa 24) and Star Dadin Kowa and Farin Wata TV (for Hausa) and Orisun for the former. Startimes has no channel for Igbo movies and if you are a lover of Igbo movies, GoTV gets your vote. If you are a Hausa movie fan, the fence is your default stance as both networks give you two options.

3. Sports

For Football, GoTV shows one live premiership match every Saturday and one Champions League and Europa match a week up till the final via Supersports. Over the week, the Supersports channels go on to show the highlight or selected full matches of premiership/European matches. Supersports 4 shows all La Liga matches although this channel is available in GoTV Max (3200 naira). Startimes doesn’t show Champions League but you can catch live star premiership matches every week on NTA Sports 24.

To make up for lack of Champions League football, Startimes have rights to French Ligue One, the Bundesliga and Seria A games on ST World Football channels. Startimes also gives you the opportunity of following the big names in the Chinese Super League.

If you care about African league football, GoTV affords you the chance to watch Zimbabwean, South African, Kenyan league matches. Plus Nigerian league.

For other sports, Startimes has the upper hand as you can watch NBA TV via their network. Fox Sports, Sports Focus and Eurosports news will also afford you the reviews of a series of other sports. Supersports Blitz does sports reviews in a rather annoyingly repetitive manner.

More on Startimes vs GoTV:

4. International News

With local news, both networks are on equal footing with Channels TV, AIT, NTA and TVC on their list (although Startimes holds the advantage of NTA channels in Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba plus Wazobia TV). Internationally, GoTV boast of CNN, Aljazeera and BBC. Their rival has BBC, Fox News, FX, MSNBC, Aljazeera, CCTV (3 channels) and Bloomberg Television.

Except you have a certain affinity for CNN, when it comes to media channels with international reach. Your choice would be the broader more inclusive Startimes combinations.

5. Affordability

GoTV most expensive package GoTV Max goes for 3,200; for Startimes, the costliest Super package goes for 3,800. No, that doesn’t make GoTV cheaper when you consider it per channel price as GOTV has 62 channels at its maximum while Startimes has in the excess of 80 for its Unique Package. This, too, doesn’t mean Startimes is better value for money as this is a matter of quality not quantity and quality is highly subjective.

When it comes to the manner of payment, Startimes is the clear winner as it allows for daily and weekly subscriptions while GoTV wallows in the field of monthly subscription. For just 60 naira a day, you can have access to 24 channels under its Nova plan. The other daily plans go for 90, 120, 180 and 240 naira each. The weekly plan at the most goes for 1200 naira.

With Startimes, you have the advantage of using USSD which means there is no need for data to pay via Quickteller or going a cable dealer. Again, Startimes gives you the opportunity to pay via ATM using codes specific for each package.

Bonus: Big Brother Naija airs on GoTV and not Startimes.

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