DStv Explora 2 is the next generation of PVR decoder slated to eventually replace the old. The updated Explora 2.0 in slimmer, losing some features of the Explora even as it comes new and improved. How much the new is improved is what we are here to find out. In a death-match between the Explora and Explora 2, the devil is always in the details. Isn’t it always? Here, let’s have a look.
The first thing you will notice about the Explora 2 is that it’s a gorgeous, slimmed down black box. While that’s well and good, the biggest drawback to getting yourself the Explora 2 is the halved hard drive space. Oh no! It had to happen, if you happen to buy DStv’s argument. Only 1 terabyte is included in Explora 2 where the Explora came with 2 terabytes.
In recompense, DStv implemented high-efficiency video encoding (HEVC aka H.265), a much superior compression technology in order to offset data consumption. Before the video standard used was MPEG-2. So if you are to think about it, it makes sense to reduce on the hard drive space as you effect better video compression. And it saves on the decoder cost, a win-win.
High Efficiency Video Coding, also known as H.265 and MPEG-H Part 2, is a video compression standard, one of several potential successors to the widely used AVC. In comparison to AVC, HEVC offers about double the data compression ratio at the same level of video quality, or substantially improved video quality at the same bit rate. It supports resolutions up to 8192×4320, including 8K UHD.~Wikipedia
|Name/Specs||DStv Explora||DStv Explora 2|
|Recommended Retail price||R1499 (Roughly US $110)||R1499 (Roughly US $110)|
>>Smartcard slot on the front
>>Size (420 x 262 x 63.8mm)
>>Smartcard slot on the side
>>Size (310 x 160.5 x 47.5)
|Recording capacity||2 terrabytes (approx. 220 hours)||1 terrabyte (approx. 110 hours)|
|XtraView||Requires heartbeat cable to connect linked decoders||Uses DStv Smart LNB to connect Explora 2 decoders in XtraView. Heartbeat cable only required to connect older decoders in Xtraview or when installed without DStv Smart LNB|
|HD capacity||720p, 1080i||720p, 1080i, 1080p|
|Plug||3 pin||2 pin|
DStv A7 Remote Control
Now here’s a one-two punch to sweeten the deal. You get all-new A7 Remote Control with backlit buttons for night time viewing. New remote dedicated hotlink for ShowMax joins Catchup, BoxOffice and DStv button for easy access to these services. The remote comes with low battery detection and also doubles as a universal remote i.e for the TV. How’s that for awesome?
Explora 2’s A7 Remote is able to control multiple viewing environments. In total, there are three remote modes. This is how to activate them:
- Programming mode 1: Press and hold the Info and Back button until the power button flashes a RED light to activate.
- Programming mode 2: Press and hold the Info and Back button until the power button flashes a GREEN light to activate.
- Programming mode 3: Press and hold the Info and Back button until the power button flashes a AMBER light to activate.
Other advanced A7 Remote features include:
- Manufacturing Reset
- Programming Backlight time out
- Change STB codeset
- Simpleset to program TV code
- Learning TV signals to remote
- Volume Lock and Unlock
The Price of both Explora and Explora 2 are virtually the same. At roughly $110, you can purchase yourself a piece. If you are old-school, you can go for the older Explora, but the question is, why would you? Newer is better. Technology doesn’t advance backwards, so to speak.
Arguments that 2 terabyte storage makes the older Explora a steal are just bollox. We just talked about High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEV C), hello! This new video format halves the actual size of the video content, hence throwing the storage argument flat on its face. In concert with other new improvements, DStv does make the Explora 2 a bargain.
The Explora 2 marks a change in how XtraView operates on DStv decoders. Instead of the old Heartbeat cable to connect linked decoders, we have something else. The DStv Smart LNB is a shorter, simpler and more cost-effective cable to connect decoders. It’s High-band capable, ensuring that you receive all signals. One more thing is that you can connect multiple decoders without a DStv Switch. Even so, the Explora 2 supports a Heartbeat cable for the older Explora, if that’s how you roll.