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Netflix vs ShowMax: The showdown

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TV, in South Africa, is not quite dead yet. But it’s certainly headed that way thanks to the rise of on- demand video streaming services.

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.

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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.

2. iTunes

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.

3. Netflix

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)

4. ShowMax

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

Arts and Entertainment

Deezer to host Hotstix’s Mandela tribute playlist

Deezer is celebrating Nelson Mandela on the centenary of his birthday by hosting a tribute playlist created by music legend Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.  

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Mabuse, a legendary figure in African music, first rose to prominence in the 1970s with his band Harari and later developed a name for himself as a solo artist. One of his best known songs was the global hit BurnOut in the 1980s.

The playlist takes the listener on a captivating musical journey through the life of Nelson Mandela.  It was compiled by Mabuse, who consulted with Mandela’s family and friends to ensure that the music would be relevant and accurate. The playlist also features commentary by Mabuse, which was recorded in his Soweto home.  

“I have tried to tell the story of the music that Madiba loved,” says Mabuse. “The Playlist excludes the time in prison obviously, as Madiba would not have had exposure to music in that time.  We have focused on the music we know he loved before and after that period. This recording was really an emotional journey for me, but an incredible opportunity to document these memories.”

The playlist features the music the young Mandela loved, such as The Manhattan Brothers, Solomon Linda, Brenda Fassie and Miriam Makeba.  It includes struggle songs from Chicco, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.  The playlist also includes Mandela by Zahara, one of the younger artists who caught Madiba’s ear.

Mabuse also offers stories of his own songs, such as Shikisha, a song greatly beloved by the former President.

“I was delighted to share my thoughts and hope the listeners enjoyed the musical journey,” says Mabuse. “Madiba did enjoy music immensely and we all have a purpose wherever we are in the world to celebrate culture and to learn from different cultures and music forms and styles.”

This playlist was inspired by the Nelson Mandela 100 campaign, calling on corporates and individuals to act as sources of inspiration and engage in conversation and action.

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Arts and Entertainment

Avengers’ all-time accolade

This past weekend Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War became the second highest grossing film of all time at the South African Box Office.

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This means that Marvel Studios now holds the number 2 and number 1 film of all time positions at the local Box Office, following Black Panther’s unprecedented record-shattering run since it’s 16 February 2018 release.

In South Africa, audiences continued to assemble in cinemas to witness the cinematic journey ten years in the making, earning Avengers: Infinity War a current total box office tally of just under R73 million with over 874 000 attendances.

Black Panther’s historic box office journey ended in June and now boasts a final box office total just shy of R107.5 million and over 1.43 million attendances, making it the biggest film of all time at the South African box office and the first to cross the R100m mark. This record builds on Black Panther’s list of achievements on the African continent and is the biggest grossing film of all time not only in South Africa, but also East and West Africa. Black Panther is now available to enjoy on DVD and Blu-ray, as well as to digitally rent or buy from retailers and providers across the continent.

Elsewhere in Africa, Avengers: Infinity War has also raked in a total of Kes 66.9m in East Africa, making it the 2nd highest grossing film of all time behind Black Panther. Similarly, in West Africa, the film hit N450m at the box office, making it the 2nd highest grossing international film of all time, also behind Black Panther.

For Marvel Studios fans, the action and adventure continues as the 20th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ant-Man and The Wasp, hit cinemas this past weekend and created enough buzz to fly into the number one position at the South African Box Office.

“We are thrilled at the response that Marvel Studios’ titles have continued to receive from cinema-goers across the continent,” says Christine Service, Senior Vice President of The Walt Disney Company Africa. “With Ant-Man and The Wasp in cinemas, and both Captain Marvel and the next Avengers film in 2019, we are eagerly anticipating the continuing expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and look forward to celebrating with fans.”

On the animated front and with its own super hero theme, Disney•Pixar’s Incredibles 2, continues to entertain families across the country and is already Disney’s second-highest grossing animated film of all time behind Finding Dory, after only 3 weeks in release.

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