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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

Timberlake to headline iTunes London festival

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Apple has announced that Justin Timberlake, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Jack Johnson and Jessie J are among the headliners at this year’s iTunes Festival in London.

Running every night in September at the Roundhouse, the iTunes Festival features more than 60 acts performing at the legendary venue.

Performances can be watched live or on-demand by millions of iOS users around the world on their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, as well as by music fans with iTunes on their computer or in stunning HD with Apple TV. Tickets are free for competition winners only.

Music fans from across the world, including the US, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Europe, Japan and Mexico can win tickets to the iTunes Festival through competitions run by local media partners. In the UK, fans can win tickets using the iTunes Festival app and the iTunes Store as well as select media partners including Channel 4, Global Radio and Metro.

Sir Paul McCartney, Amy Winehouse and Crowded House played the first iTunes Festival at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts in 2007. Since then over 370 artists have performed in front of more than 370,000 fans and tens of millions more online and on television. Other performers have included Adele, Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Alicia Keys, Paul Simon, Jack White and Oasis. Performances are available for purchase and download on the iTunes Store.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

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Arts and Entertainment

New PS games ready for download

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Sony has announced its June line-up for PlayStation Plus subscribers, including Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, and two new catalogue releases, Demon’s Souls and ICO and Shadow of the Colossus HD Collection.

Immerse yourself in the ancient world of Amalur and its 10,000 years of magical history in the action-packed tale Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, created by acclaimed New York Times bestselling author R.A. Salvatore. Take destiny into your own hands as you combat your way through this vast and vibrant world as envisioned by the visionary creator of Spawn and much-admired artist, Todd McFarlane.

In Demon’s Souls you are summoned by a mysterious maiden as the last hope for humanity to take on a mighty demon horde that has taken over the kingdom of Boletaria, after a terrible curse was mistakenly unleashed by King Allant the XII whilst in search of greater powers. Prepare for a battle that has so far defeated all other realm champions as you set out on this epic journey to save the Kingdom from a fate worse than death.

ICO and Shadow of the Colossus HD Collection brings two exciting worlds to PS Plus ready for fans to explore. Adopt the role of ICO, a young boy who finds himself imprisoned by the people of his village inside the walls of a menacing castle before joining forces with a young girl named Yorda as she attempts to escape in ICO. Take on the role of a young man named Wander in Shadow of the Colossus as you journey through an enchanted land, battling 16 enormous beasts known as the Colossi in order to restore the life of a girl named Mono, whose soul is trapped in this haunting world.

For gamer’s on-the-go, grab your PlayStation Vita (PS Vita) and transport yourself to lush forests in the cartoon-quality action title Rayman Origins. Alternatively, weave through airborne mazes as you avoid falling coconuts in Coconut Dodge HD, both available on PS Plus from 5th June.

PS Plus provides subscribers with access to top-rated games on PS3 and PS Vita, extending the service to two platforms for a single price for a one-year subscription. Additionally, 90 day subscriptions are also available giving user’s access to the same fantastic titles and great PlayStation Store discounts.

PS Plus subscribers receive an array of exclusive features, including 2GB cloud storage (1G for PS3 & 1G for PS Vita) for game saves. Automatic updates and beta access, as well as a huge collection of exclusive dynamic themes and PlayStation Network avatars, makes PS Plus the place to be in 2013.

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