Decoders are devices that receive TV broadcasting signals in a digital format. Since the analog format is no longer allowed in Kenya, a decoder is almost a certain requirement for you to watch TV broadcasts. Below, we are going to look at best decoders in Kenya, features to check and available plans including channels.

As stated before, the decoders work is to receive signals from Image and sound broadcasting stations in a digital format.  Normally, a decoder will require an antenna commonly referred to as an aerial or a satellite dish to effectively receive the signals. The dish/antenna have to be set in a certain direction, that is, when facing the nearest signal distributor of the decoder provider. Of course, you will require a Television also.

If you need to change your TV to a smart TV/Digital TV you can check on best Android boxes in Kenya and a buying guide over here. One advantage about Android box is that there is no subscription fees unlike in some decoders plans, you will also not require an aerial or dish.

Factors to consider when picking a decoder

When picking a decoder, there are various features and factors you should check on in order to get one that suits our need, below are some of the factors.


This is probably the most important feature to look for in every decoder, below we will discuss different plans offered by different providers.

Free to air decoders

In this types, the cost incurred is only during buying. After you have bought the decoder, you are never charged to view any of the channels provided. While this decoders are pocket friendly, there is usually a disadvantage in that the number of channels are not more than 100 and the most available are local.

Paid with free to air plan

In this type, you are offered with a certain number of channels for free, in order to unlock the other available channels, you will have to make a payment. At times the channels maybe divided into various premium plans at different costs. Each plan will give a number of additional channels as the cost increases.

Paid only plan

This is perhaps the most expensive types of decoders in the long run, except from the buying cost, you are required to pay a subscription fee in order to view any channel. There are usually different packages that you can pick from available at different costs, the higher the cost, the higher the number of channels. The advantage of these decoders is that they have a high number of channels and are also suitable for commercial use.

Image quality

While this will also be dependent on your TV, you should also go for a decoder with high image quality, the recommended decoder should have at least an image quality of 1080 p which is also known as as full HD.

Satellite dish/aerial

Some decoders will require you to have a satellite dish, others will have plans that work with both aerial and satellite dish, still in others, some plans will only work on a satellite dish and other plans will work on aerial. Depending with your budget, you should pick a decoder that fits. A satellite dish is more expensive than most aerials.

Video recorder

Some decoders will come with this functionality, this will allow you to record a certain program and you can view it later. In some decoders, this feature is even advanced such that you can record a program from a different TV station while still view another.

USB port

A USB port in  a decoder will allow you to play files on your storage devices on your TV. If the decoder has a recording functionality, you will be able to store the recorded files on the external storage devices.

Best decoders and their plans

After seeing some of the factors you should consider, below are some of the top decoders that you can pick. The decoders listed here have strong signals on almost every part of the country.

Startimes decoder

startimes decoder

These are popular decoders in Kenya, they also have good reviews from their users. Startimes provides two plans, that is Free to air plan and pay-TV plan. the Pay-TV plan has many channels available, it is also divided into various packages available at different prices as we will see below. In the free to air plan, you will not be charged any subscription fee except the buying price of the decoder which can go up to ksh 2000 in price.

NOTE: Startimes offers plans according to the mode of connection you use, that is either through a satellite dish connection or an antennae/aerial connection, it is hence important to pick the right plan for you.The following are premium plans available on the Startimes decoder and their charges;


      • Startimes Nova bouquet @ Ksh 449- 59 TV channels
      • Startimes smart bouquet @ Ksh 899- 104 TV channels
      • Startimes super bouquet @ Ksh 1499- 127 TV channels
      • Startimes Chinese bouquet @ Ksh 1,999- 145 TV channels



      • Startimes Nyota bouquet @ Ksh 299- 30 TV channels
      • Startimes Basic bouquet @ Ksh 599- 61 TV channels
      • Startimes classic bouquet @ Ksh 799- 86 TV channels


Since the plans might change with time, you can visit the star times website to see the current pricing and plans, you will also get the names of channels available in each plan.

Bamba TV decoder

bamba decoder

Bamba TV is also another decoder available in the Kenyan market, this decoder mainly offer Free to air channels, that is, expect the buying cost, you will not be charged any subscription fee. The provider however needs you to register with them within 60 days after acquiring the decoder in order to view all the channels provided, failure to do so will lead to the premium channels being locked. To register you only need to dial *297# and enter the required details, note; no payment is required. The Bamba TV decoder have about 60 channels. Despite the low number of channels, it have an advantagre of being fully free.

DSTV decoder

dstv decoder

This is perhaps the most popular decoder in Africa and is offered by Multichoice. The decoder have hundreds of channels available. To use the decoder, you will have to choose many of the available paid packages. Each package have it’s own price.This decoder is also recommended for commercial purposes.

The channels offered on DSTV  are also divided into various categories as follows; Entertainment and movies, News and commerce, Sports, lifestyle and culture, Children, Documentaries, Religion, Music, Specialist, Local channels. Each category has its list of TV stations.

Note: You will require a Satellite dish to use DSTV decoder, below are different plans available in DSTV and the number of channels.

      • DSTV Access @ Ksh 885- 110+ TV channels
      • DSTV family @ Ksh 1,180- 120+ TV channels
      • DSTV compact @ Ksh 2,455- 140+ TV channels
      • DSTV compact plus @ Ksh 4,420- 150+ TV channels
      • DSTV Premium @ Ksh 7,370- 160+ TV channels


Since the above charges may change with time, you can visit the DSTV website to see the prices and also get to see the name of channels on each category and plan.

GOTV decoder

gotv decoder

This is yet another decoder with premium plans, just like DSTV, GOTV is popular across Africa. You can use the decoder with both a satellite dish and an aerial.

GOTV has the following plans available;

      • GOtv lite monthly @ KSH 215- 16 TV channels
      • GOtv lite quarterly @ KSH 490- 16 TV channels
      • GOtv value @ KSH 490- 26 TV channels
      • GOtv lite annual @ KSH 1275- 15 TV channels
      • GOtv plus @ KSH 735- 41 TV channels
      • GOtv max @ KSH 980- 51 TV channels

Since the above charges may change with time, you can visit the GOTV website to see the prices and also get to see the name of channels on each category and plan.


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