Netflix Versus ShowMax
Being the top two ‘paid TV’ options in South Africa, we put together a summary of the pros and cons of both Netflix and ShowMax.
The Top Four Streaming Sites in South Africa
There are quite a few video streaming services available locally. They do not, however, have the same breadth of content as their international counterparts. The local scene is dominated by the big names in the industry.
1. Google Play Movies
Google’s video on demand (VoD) service is preloaded onto pretty much every Android device currently available. This makes it accessible to a vast majority of mobile users.
The app requires you to create an account in order to use the service. If you’re an Android user, however, then it will associate the account with your Android login details (which are used for all Google services on an Android device).
The app opens on the “Watch Now” section and shows Top Selling Movies and New Releases amongst other categories.
Watching something is as simple as selecting whether you’d like to rent or purchase the movie and then downloading it to your device, or streaming it on a compatible device.
Rentals can be done in either SD or HD. HD titles only play on certain devices though.
The South African version of the app is, unfortunately, still very limited in terms of content. But there are quite a few recently-released titles available for rent or purchase.
The app is available on Android and iOS.
App cost: Free.
If you’re a Mac or iOS user, then you know all about iTunes. Yes, it is available on Windows PCs, but the experience isn’t the same.
iTunes is most well-known for having revolutionised the music industry. Yet, beyond it being a great place to buy music, it also has movies and TV shows.
If you’re using the South African iTunes store then, unfortunately, you won’t be able to purchase or rent any TV shows, but you will be able to get movies.
Movies can either be purchased or rented in SD or HD and then watched on compatible devices. The number of devices that you can watch the movie on varies between titles and is dependant on licensing agreements between Apple and the content provider. This same rule applies to which content can be rented and/or purchased (not all titles can be rented, most can only be purchased).
The selection is bigger than that found on Google Play Movies but is still limited when compared to international versions of the service.
Compatible with Mac and iOS as well as Windows PCs.
App cost: Free.
Netflix is the global leader in video on demand streaming and when the service launched in South Africa in January 2016, many people rejoiced.
As is the case with pretty much every video streaming service in South Africa, content is limited and the much coveted Netflix Originals range of series is not available locally.
Netflix also does not allow downloading, which means that whenever you want to watch something, you’ll need to be connected to the internet.
Netflix is available on a wide range of devices from set top boxes to smart TVs, tablets, laptops and smartphones.
Cost: ranges from R111 p/m to R167 p/m ($7.99 p/m to $11.99 p/m)
ShowMax launched in South Africa before Netflix reached our shores, which has clearly worked out for them. The service is the overwhelming favourite of many South African video on demand aficionados.
The service has both movies and TV series and allows you to stream and/or download content. This means you can still watch your favourite shows when you don’t have an internet connection (definitely handy on planes).
It doesn’t have exactly the same titles as Netflix, but it is continuously growing its offerings.
Available on multiple devices including smartphones, select smart TVs and PCs / Macs.
Cost : R99 p/m
* Source: CompareGuru