Cape Town TV embraces digital distribution


Cape Town TV is going digital, along with all the other free-to-air broadcasters like SABC and eTV.

South Africa is in the process of shifting from analogue television transmission to digital terrestrial transmission (DTT). In December 2024 analogue TV as we know it will be switched off forever and the free-to-air channels will only be available on the DTT  network as well as on Sentech’s FreeVision satellite platform. Don’t worry – you can still watch your favourite free-to-air community channel, but you will need to: 

    • Own a digital TV set or set-top box decoder. Only some models of digital TV sets can pick up the signal so make sure you get the right one. Ask your local retailer for a set with an integrated tuner (IDTV) or look for the official ‘Go Digital’ sticker.
    • You can purchase a decoder at some specialist retail stores (large retailers such as Game, Makro etc. do not currently stock them) or online stores like Takealot or from a specialist retailer like Space TV.
    • Free-to-air TV is also available via satellite transmission on Sentech’s FreeVision platform. This will give you all of the SABC and eTV channels along with all community TV channels and many Christian channels.
    • You can watch Cape Town TV online at any time on Sentech’s Freevision Play app or website. Download the app from PlayStore or iStore. The app carries the live streams and catch-up viewing of community TV channels like Cape Town TV as well as eTV and some commercial TV and radio channels.

The good news is that with digital broadcasting Cape Town TV will extend its reach so that everyone in the Western Cape will be able to watch the channel on the DTT broadcast and it will also be available nationally in South Africa on FreeVision.

Digital television offers a clear picture and excellent sound quality. For the once-off cost of a DTT decoder or digital TV set you get to enjoy a wide variety of channels for free. Cape Town TV will still be available on DStv channel 263, but it is not on OpenView or StarSat.

As a South African citizen you have the right to access community and public service channels for free. Claim your right. Prepare now for the analogue switch off. Don’t get left behind.

If you have any questions, kindly send a WhatsApp message to the government on 060 062 5458 or call 086 073 6832.

Broadcast Digital Migration FAQ

What is the Broadcast Digital Migration?

Analogue television transmissions will all be switched off by 31 December 2024. Next year there will only be digital TV transmissions so all TV viewers must have digital TV reception equipment by then. There are two systems of transmission – one is terrestrial transmssion and the other is satellite transmission. You can opt to receive free-to-air transmissions or buy a paid or subscription service.

What is DTT?

DTT stands for Digital Terrestrial Transmission, i.e. the signal is transmitted from a land-based transmitter site.

What is DTH?

DTH stands for Direct-to-home and refers to TV transmission from satellites – e.g. DStv, OpenView, FreeVision.

What TV channels are available on digital transmission?

Channels available on DTT: 6 x SABC, 6 x eTV, Parliamentary channel, Cape Town TV (in the greater Cape Town region), SABC radio stations.

Channels available on DTH: As above, plus all the community TV channels and some Christian channels.

What do I need to watch digital TV?

You will need one of the following:

  • A DTT decoder (set-top box) and a UHF aerial (free equipment and installation for indigent households)
  • A FreeVision-enabled DTH kit – i.e. a digital satellite TV decoder and satellite dish (free for indigent households)
  • A DSTV subscription, decoder and satellite dish (Cape Town TV is available on all packages)
  • An OpenView decoder and satellite dish (Cape Town TV is not available on OpenView)
  • A StarSat decoder and satellite dish (Cape Town TV is not available on StarSat)
  • A digital TV set with built-in tuner. These are called IDTV sets (Integrated Digital Television). Not all digital TV sets have a built-in tuner. Ask the sales person at the retail store whether the set can receive the DTT signal.
  • There is a government website which lists all of the TV set models that have built-in tuners. Click here to go to the website.

Where can I get a digital TV decoder or digital satellite TV decoder?

  • Specialist electronics and TV retailers
  • Online electronics stores (e.g.
  • Space TV – in Cape Town there are Space TV stores in Woodstock and Brackenfell

Where can I get a digital TV set?

At any retail store selling digital TV sets. Just make sure that the set can receive digital TV signals.

Do I qualify to get a free (government-supplied) digital TV decoder or satellite TV decoder?

Households that are classified as ‘indigent’ with an income of under R3500 a month qualify for free decoders, aerials and installation from Sentech.

 How do I register to get a free digital TV decoder or satellite TV decoder?

  • Go to your nearest post office and fill in the application form.
  • Register online at

What do I need to register at a post office?

You will need the following:

  • Proof of income (SASA card, pay slip or affidavit from a police station)
  • Proof of residential address (a utility bill sent to your address or a copy of your rental contract or a letter from your landlord stating that you live at the address)
  • If you are unemployed then you need an affidavit from a police station to say that you are not employed.

What information must I provide for online registrations?

  • Your name, ID number, household address, and Ward number (find your ward number here)
  • Upload a scanned copy of your ID document, proof of income document and proof of address document

Do I need a TV license to apply for a free decoder?

No you don’t have to have a TV license.

Is there a cut-off date for registrations?

The final date by when you have to register for a free decoder and aerial is set for 30 September 2024. After this time you will not be able to register.

What if I have registered for a free decoder and aerial but I have not received them as yet?

Send a WhatsApp message to 0600 625 458 or call 0860 736 832 to find out the status of your order.

What happens if I get a free decoder and it breaks or doesn’t work?

Contact your installer and they will fetch it and give you another one, provided that you didn’t break the decoder.

How do I find out more information about decoders and the digital migration?

  • Send a WhatsApp message to 0600 625 458 or call 0860 736 832.

How can I receive digital television?

What does digital broadcasting mean for TV viewers? Watch this interview from our EKSÊ show to find out.