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Showmax now offers Android movie downloads

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ShowMax has added a feature to its Android app that allows users to save TV shows and movies to their devices for later viewing.

A new feature that allows TV shows and movies to be downloaded and watched while offline has been added to the ShowMax Android app. This development is of immediate benefit to commuters and people looking for entertainment while travelling, but it also has the potential to have a much wider impact. Those without access to a suitable internet connection at home, which is a significant barrier to the adoption of streaming video services in Africa, will now be able to store content using WiFi hotspots or other out-of-home connectivity options and then watch at a later point.

Speaking about this development, John Kotsaftis, General Manager of ShowMax South Africa said:

“Adding downloads is a bigger deal than it might appear at first glance. Yes, it’s a great way to keep people entertained while travelling to their hometown or to the coast for the summer holidays, but we think the potential impact is much wider.

“Many South Africans are still internet have-nots, and have been excluded from using services like ShowMax. While there may not be suitable internet access at home, more and more public WiFi services and other connectivity options are popping up. By adding download functionality we’re enabling people to take advantage of these connections and fill up on some great shows to watch later.”

Up to 25 TV shows and movies in total can be stored at any one point using the app on Android tablets and smartphones, depending on the available storage capacity on the device. The content will be visible for 30 days and once viewing of a particular show or movie has started, it will be available for completion over the next 48 hours. The same content can be downloaded again if needed.

The addition of downloads also gives consumers a way to use data allocated for night-time usage, which is often discounted or given away free with the purchase of data bundles.

“South Africa isn’t the USA or Europe – we have our own unique needs. I’m proud that we’ve developed a home-grown solution that caters for the connectivity challenges in this country. Importantly, I think this is a case that local developments have the potential to open up access to other African markets where internet connectivity is also an issue,” concludes Kotsaftis.

ShowMax is also adding download capability to its iOS apps. This is due for release early next year.

Arts and Entertainment

Android arrives on SA TVs

The arrival of the first name-brand Android TV in South African stores symbolises the shift to smart TVs, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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You probably have a good idea of what operating system (OS) runs on your phone, and may even know the version number. After all, Android and iOS almost define our relationships with our phones.

Not many, on the other hand, know anything about the OS on their TVs. Older TVs don’t even have names for their OS. Newer TVs with Internet connectivity, generally known as smart TVs, all have operating systems, but in most cases do not make a big deal of it. Only Samsung, with its Tizen OS, and LG, with webOS, are well-known. Then again, not all that well-known either.

Before Sony pulled out of the local TV market, it was about to introduce Android, the OS made by Google for smartphones, to the big box. A number of no-name brands have also debuted with Android, but consumers have tended to avoid them precisely because they were such an unknown quantity.

Enter Skyworth. It’s an $8-billion dollar business listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, but is only beginning to emerge as a presence in the South African market. It bought out Sinotec, the most popular budget big-screen TVs locally, and introduced the parent brand to the country in the last two years.

It keeps costs down because it brings in components from China, but assembles the TV sets at a local factory, thereby avoiding import duties on luxury items. Quality has rarely been an issue for Sinotec devices, and Skyworth seems to be benefiting from its long relationship with retailers.

Continue reading about the first Android TV contender in South Africa.

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SA rises as Spotify turns 10

October 2018 marks 10 years since Spotify officially launched its music streaming platform and to celebrate this milestone, Spotify has taken a look at some of its biggest discoveries in music.

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Spotify provided the following information:

The service only launched in South Africa in March this year, so this country is not included in the retrospective, but Spotify supplied Gadget with the following local streaming landmarks:

·         Most streamed South African artist – Jeremy Loops

·         Most streamed female South African artist – Shekhinah

·         Highest first-day streaming record – AKA’s Beyonce

Since launch Spotify now sits at 180 million monthly active listeners across 65 countries. These Spotify users can enjoy a music library of over 40 million songs and podcasts, and over 3 billion-plus user-created playlists. As of 31 August 2018, Spotify has also paid over 10 billion euros to rights holders since launch.

To date, over 2 000 genres of music have been identified on Spotify, among them Wonky (electronic music characterised by synths with unusual time signatures), Shimmer Pop (a Swedish cousin of indie pop and indietronica), and British Blues (the blues…with a British flavour).

Spotify has also done an assessment of “listening diversity,” – the number of artists the average user streams per month – which has risen on Spotify over the past 10 years, at an average of about 8% per year. In the past three years alone, listening diversity increased about 40% on the strength of new personalised and editorial playlists – meaning people are listening to an increased number of artists on a regular basis.

An official Decade of Discovery playlist features the most-streamed songs over the past  decade, including favourites like Avicii’s “Wake Me Up,” Hozier’s “Take Me To Church,” Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE.,” Rihanna’s “Work,” Sia’s “Chandelier,” Major Lazer’s “Lean On,” and the star-studded “Despacito Remix”.

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