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Ask Arthur: Where to watch World Cup live

A reader asks where the FIFA World Cup tournament can be viewed if they don’t have a DStv decoder. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK has good news and bad news and good news.

Q: I don’t have a DStv decoder. How can I watch the World Cup?

A: The easy answer is, at any pub near you. But then, that isn’t a family-friendly option.

There is good news and bad news and good news. The good news is that the Supersport feed on DStv of all 64 FIFA World Cup games, via decoder, is also available for streaming on Showmax. That means it can be viewed on any Smart TV that allows the showmax app to be downloaded, on any smartphone via the app, and on any web browser.

 The bad news is, you have to subscribe to Showmax Pro, the most expensive streaming service in South Africa. However, it’s expensive for a reason: it includes almost all live sport and news that is available on DStv. Normal cost: R349 for viewing via TV and browsers, and R225 for Showmax Pro Mobile on mobile devices. In Kenya, it costs Ksh2100 (about R300 or $17) and in Nigeria N6300  (about R280) or $16).

The good news for South Africans is that, during the FIFA World Cup and until the end of January 2023, Showmax Pro will be available at R299 per month, while Pro Mobile will cost R199 per month. The regular price in most other African countries is equivalent to this promo price, so don’t expect reductions elsewhere. 

If you have a high-end TV, 4K streaming is now also available on Showmax Pro for the World Cup.

Of course, you can also subscribe to international live streaming services if you use VPN software that locates you in the home country of those services, by masking the IP address of your computer and connection. However, you need to go into this arena with eyes wide open: it violates the terms of service of the providers, as they pay for live sports rights on a strictly geographic basis. Many monitor usage for VPN activity, and may ban you from accessing their networks in the future, requiring constant changing of user credentials and even credit card details.It also may turn out to be more costly in the long run: the cost of both a streaming subscription and VPN software that allows you to change your IP address dynamically could work out at more than the equivalent of around $17 for Showmax Pro at its promo price.

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