4k monitor

How to watch TV without paying for a TV Licence

An annual SABC TV Licence fee is R265. Let’s be honest, it’s not a lot of money if you can afford to own a TV. In fact, for the services the SABC provides, I think it’s a really good deal.

While not a huge fan of their TV stations, I often listen to Radio 2000 cricket commentary and the local deep house mixes on 5FM. But even my love of test cricket and house music cannot quell the anger I feel when I receive an SMS from the SABC telling me to pay my TV Licence. Can I afford it?

Yes. Will I pay it? No.

The reason: the constant reports we receive about corruption, incompetence, and nepotism at the public broadcaster. Oh, and Hlaudi Motsoeneng. My plan for non-compliance is a bit late, though, as cancelling the need to pay for a TV Licence is reportedly rather difficult.

For those who have not purchased a TV Licence, here’s how you can avoid the need.

Step 1 – The display

In terms of the Broadcasting Act, No 4 of 1999, any person or entity that has in its possession and/or uses a TV set must have a TV licence[1]. If it can receive a broadcast signal, it must have a TV Licence. An alternative to a TV is a large PC monitor, which does not require a TV Licence to purchase.

An example is the large signage monitors companies use to display videos. A 43-inch Philips monitor is available for around R13,000[2] in SA, and includes 1080p @ 60Hz, HDMI and VGA connections, and a 6.5ms response time. It must be noted that PC monitors are generally more expensive than TVs of the same size.


Step 2 – A media player

Once you have a monitor, you will need a media player to play content. A good option is to use your personal or work laptop and connect it to the display via HDMI or the appropriate connection. Laptops with a mainstream OS support an array of streaming services, Internet browsers, and applications, which means you can watch almost anything – from online media to locally-stored files.

Another option is a media player “box”, like the Apple TV or an Android media player. The MyGica Android Media Player sells for around R1,000[3] and supports a variety of Android applications. For the more tech-savvy, you can buy yourself a Raspberry Pi[4] and build your own media player.

Android Player

Step 3 – The content

I know what most of you are thinking: the first two steps have essentially created the perfect piracy rig. “Torrenting and illegal streaming sites here we come.” But what’s the point of standing against paying TV Licences if you are just going to pirate content? You lose the high ground and the moral battle.

Also, excellent streaming services like ShowMax and Netflix are available for R100 per month, you cheap bastards. ShowMax and Netflix will work on most PCs and media boxes, and offer a ton of content. ShowMax

  • Price – R99 pm
  • TV Series – 241 titles
  • Movies – 454 titles


  • Price – starting at £7.99 pm
  • TV Series – 401 titles
  • Movies – 1,080 titles

Platforms like YouTube and Twitch also offer free live streaming of certain sports events, with many TV channels and sporting bodies also showing free highlight packages on the platforms.

Channels like SuperSport have also experimented with free streaming over Facebook, which bodes well for the future of TV Licence-free broadcasting.

Showmax logo dark

This is an opinion piece.

TV Series and Movie title counts taken from JustWatch.

Now read: CliffCentral – how many listeners it really has and its plans for the future[5]


  1. ^ must have a TV licence (
  2. ^ R13,000 (
  3. ^ around R1,000 (
  4. ^ Raspberry Pi (
  5. ^ CliffCentral – how many listeners it really has and its plans for the future (