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Spending one week with BritBox

When BritBox launched in South Africa last Friday, BRYAN TURNER put its quality content selection from the BBC and ITV collections to the test.

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When BritBox launched its streaming service in South Africa last Friday, we set out to test the service by creating an account at britbox.com, and downloaded the BritBox app on Roku, Apple TV, iPad, and Android smartphone. From the britbox.com account section, one can manage one’s account across all these devices. iOS users can also subscribe to the service using Apple’s built-in subscription method.

On the Roku and Apple TV, it always streams in the highest quality possible, which in our case was 1080p. This can be concerning for those who are on limited data plans. There is, however, a way to reduce bandwidth on mobile devices like Android and iOS. We measured the bandwidth of an episode over the space of roughly 30 minutes and recorded these average results:

  • Android smartphone: 1.6Mbit/s or 200KB/s – 384MB consumed
  • Apple TV: 5.7Mbit/s or 712.5KB/s – 1368MB consumed
  • Roku: 6Mbit/s or 750KB/s – 1440MB consumed
  • iPad: 3Mbit/s or 562.5KB/s – 1180MB consumed
  • Chrome on a laptop: 3Mbit/s or 375KB/s – 720MB consumed

The iPad had a few moments where it switched to SD and back to HD, affecting its average result.

We managed to stream five different episodes from five different devices on the same account. We also tested streaming from two different locations at once, and it worked. Adding a sixth device will throw up an error that too many devices are watching at the same time.

Unlike Netflix, it doesn’t have a profile switcher, so the “continue watching” section can get a bit messy with multiple users. This gets even more confusing if different users are watching the same show, because they would have to note the episode they watched last in case another user is ahead of the watching schedule.

The selection of content is typical of what you’d find on DStv’s BBC and ITV channels, except it’s on-demand. Those who have recently cancelled their satellite connection and miss British content can make use of this service to fill that content gap.

The service costs R100 per month, but users can also sign up for a full year and get two months free, at R1000 for the year. Look at it this way: a year’s worth of subscription to BritBox is equal to one month of DStv Premium with PVR access.

After one week of the BritBox free trial, we’ve decided to keep it.

For more information about BritBox, visit britbox.com.

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