internet / lifestyle / 20/08/2015

First impressions: ShowMax

Image_SHOWMAX_FB_Posts_Boxsets_iPhone_blackYesterday Naspers officially unveiled their Netflix-like streaming service called ShowMax.

The video-on-demand service will cost R99 a month to subscribe, and lets you watch on up to 5 devices. Platforms supported include iOS, Android (smartphones and tablets) and Smart TVs like LG and Samsung. Airplay via Apple TV is ‘coming soon’.

General Manager of ShowMax, John Kotsaftis says it’s about content first, and the catalogue includes South African content.

“We’ve got all the best content from Hollywood and beyond, but at the same time we also have the local content that consumers here expect. Importantly, we’re bringing this in at an attractive price, and doing this across more devices than ever before.”

He is correct on both points; R99 a month is a great price, and the selection of TV series on offer (over 750) is quite impressive. I think the pricing is attractive enough for people to stop pirating or going the Netflix route (although if you can have both, why not?).

Some titles include Game of Thrones, Sherlock, Luther, The Wire, Suits, Dexter, Ray Donovan, Arrow, Shameless, Girls, Friends, etc. It’s an extensive collection, and that’s not even some of the movies, which aren’t that new though.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 21.08.10

I’m quite impressed with the curation of content on ShowMax. If you have at least 2Mbps line, you should definitely consider subscribing. Most of us who watch downloaded TV series already prefer watching on-demand. I tried to follow a show on DStv catch up once and was horrified to discover the content disappears after a while and I had missed episodes. Rather let me watch content whenever, wherever.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
Sign up is very simple. In fact, too simple (no verification of email addy!). You can sign up immediately for a 7-day trial to see if you’d like it. You are not prompted to enter your credit card info, so no reason not to sign up! I’ve downloaded the app on the LG G4 and have been watching some stuff since last night.

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Kotsaftis says a 1 hour 40 minute movie will use 1GB of data, while an episode of TV series could use between 300-400MB. The stream is on 720p, and will adjust according to your connection. So I tested it out last night. Data used on my 2Mbps WiMax connection:
– Big Bang Theory, 20 minutes = 113MB of data
– Ray Donovan, 53 minutes = 288MB

I watched these episodes on the LG G4. I found the short buffering period before content starts playing shorter than the time I wait for anything on Netflix to load (cos I don’t need to change my DNS settings).

Giving another meaning to second screen:

ShowMax-LGG4

It’s very simple to use and has an uncluttered/neat interface, both on the web and apps. I look forward to trying it via Airplay on Apple TV, which is coming soon.

You can find different content like Hollywood, Best of British, kykNET, Mzansi, Kids, and Watch for Free. Mzansi includes local content:

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 21.44.29

After your 7-day trial is over, ShowMax is still giving you a reason to stick around with “Watch for Free”. Shows include a lot of local content like Egoli, Binnelanders, The Wild, Ella Blue, etc; and a fair amount of kids shows.

Should you subscribe to ShowMax? At R99 a month, it’s worth it; provided you have a decent connection (2Mbps+) that is preferably uncapped. Check it > www.showmax.co.za

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Nafisa Akabor
Always online... except when I'm offline.




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  • Zayaan27

    Stupid question, but why is it better to have a capped line?

    • Sorry, was typing too fast, meant uncapped. Edited now. Thanks

      • Zayaan27

        Ah, awesome!