The video on demand world has taken the South African market by storm, offering people a few good content streaming alternatives to traditional TV. Making the jump from good-ole satellite television to a streaming service might make some people hesitant, so we’re going to look at three of the available – Netflix, Showmax, and Cell C’s Black – to see which one should you get on board with:
Content and Titles
This is probably one of the biggest, if not the biggest, considerations to make before choosing a service. The number of individual titles that the services provide will heavily influence whether or not you find something to watch often enough. Netflix wins this bout – with close to 3,000 titles in its library (with most being high-quality Netflix-exclusive titles, like Stranger Things and the Marvel shows), while Showmax is the next one down with over 1,000, and Cell C’s Black has 600 titles.
A relevant detail for South African audiences is that while Netflix may have superior international content, it doesn’t have local content that some South Africans might enjoy from services like DSTV. So, if you’d like a good mix of South African series and shows as well as international titles, one of Showmax or Black might be better for you.
Although the cost for all the streaming services is significantly lower than conventional satellite services, there’s still a slight difference between some of the packages, although they’re all quite similar. Netflix has three tiers of service per month: Basic (Standard Definition and 1 screen) for $8 (around R100), Standard (HD and 2 screens) for $10 (around R125), and Premium (UHD and 4 screens) for $12 (around R150). Showmax is R99/pm, while Black has the most flexible payment options, and both can be used on two screens. Firstly, it allows airtime to be used to access content, which also means that you don’t need a credit card to use it, but the Flexi Premium subscription is R99/pm. Overall, the price points are extremely comparable.
Unfortunately for most South Africans, internet line speeds are still a potential issue – which will invariably influence any streaming service if the line speed is too low. Netflix seems to have the best performance, seemingly managing to stream with minimum buffering on a 2MB line. The performance on a similar line doesn’t suffer significantly with the other two services, but Netflix seems to manage best on a sub-optimal line.
As with streaming services in general, whether it’s for music or series and movies, content is king – and is the biggest factor to consider when making a decision. If you enjoy local content and don’t want to lose it by switching to a streaming service, look into Black or Showmax, but if your main concern is having access to international series and movies (plus some of Netflix’s exclusives), then Netflix is your best bet.
And of course, if you’re watching any of these VOD services, you need to be watching on a clean, crack-free screen. So if your iPad or smartphone display has seen better days, get in touch with the guys at WeFix!