Here’s why your DStv/GOtv decoder always scans after you switch it back on

One of the most frequently asked questions about DStv/GOtv is why the decoder always scans every time you switch it back on. There seems to be no plausible explanation at first glance and MultiChoice hasn’t been forthcoming with reasons why.

Before we get to the meat of our explainer, we should have you know that decoders receive encrypted or scrambled signals from terrestrial and satellite service providers and convert them into viewable content. This could be in the form of on-demand TV and/or radio channels.

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MultiChoice retains a great deal of control over who receives this unscrambled content on DStv/GOtv by placing certain security measures in place. The secret to their success is monitoring their subscription service via over-the-air checks.

Update: 17/Aug/2019: GOtv finally discards Automatic Scan when you switch on decoder after software upgrade



Next time you switch on your decoder, please take a look at the lights. Just like a zebra crossing, the lights start off red, turning orange before finally giving the green light that everything is as it should be. What the decoder is doing is checking on the down-low for any form of tampering.

A quick Google search will show you how badly some unscrupulous subscribers wish to access Pay-TV content for free. Your decoder will scan whenever you switch it on to ensure that nobody short-changes the service provider which incurs huge costs to bring you the entertainment content.

Over-the-air Firmware updates

The first time you install your DStv/GOtv decoder, it will prompt you to upgrade your firmware/software. Subsequently, whenever you switch on your decoder, it scans for a firmware update. As something to look forward to, firmware changes often include interface, security and performance enhancements. Some of these updates fix previous bugs.

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Bouquet/Package subscription

DStv GOtv decoder automatic-scanning serves another purpose you might be aware of. DStv/GOtv sometimes changes the channels in a bouquet and a scan refreshes the channel lineup in order to include the new content.

Missing Channels

Depending on your location and weather patterns, sometimes when you scan for channels, you might not catch them all. An automatic scan saves you the hustle of doing it yourself. At times you might not even know you are missing a channel until it pops up next time you switch on your decoder.

What else?

This list is by no means exhaustive. Is there anything we have missed? Please tell us about it in the comments.


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