Netflix And Chill?

South Africa Finally Caught Up But What Streaming Services Are Best?


By Brandon-Lee Westraat on 12th September 2017

So South Africa has finally crawled out from under the proverbial rock we have been hiding under, After an introduction with more ups and downs that would make a roller coaster jealous, Netflix has finally become a household name in South Africa. Netflix is easily the most famous video streaming service in the world right now, but would you believe me if I told you South Africa is 20 years behind America.Yip. Netflix was founded on the 29th of August 1997.So If this was a race, America has lapped us a hundred times but it's ok, we finished the race and that's all that matters.

Netflix has been here in south Africa unofficially for a couple years, it began when we caught the whiff of this craze of Netflix and chill (wink, wink, nudge, nudge), people started finding ways to have Netflix here by means of spoofed addresses and using accounts from people overseas.

BUT in a world of consumers and producers, there will always be competition and in South Africa, even if we are new to this, there is no difference. As soon as Netflix dropped there were other producers who wanted to get their stake in the business here in South Africa. At the moment there are only four big video streaming platforms available to us South Africans, so let's check them out…

Google Play Movies



One of them is in your pocket right now. No joke, check it out.If you have an android device this app is probably on it already. If you have an iPhone then shame, but we will get to you guys later. You need your google account to use this service but it will sign you in automatically when you launch the app. It will open to a “Watch now” section and shows the top selling movies and new releases, amongst other categories. It's not the easiest or most convenient of the four services but it allows you to purchase movies or rent it. so if there is that one childhood movie that you can't part with and can watch a hundred times, you could have it live on your device forever ...legally.

Rental can be done in SD or HD, but HD titles only play on some devices so check what your device can handle. The South African version, unfortunately, still is quite limited in terms of content. But there are a few new released titles up there. Don't worry iOS users, you can have this app as well, plus it's free to download but you pay per title.



The Big Don of the video on demand streaming world. It has been the global leader for what seems like an eternity but the service officially launched in South Africa in January 2016, and we finally rejoiced in the fact that we could stop using it illegally. yeah, you know who you are… Unfortunately, it wasn't what we wished it would be. Don't get me wrong Netflix in SA is amazing but it too is limited on what and how much content it has compared to the incredibly huge library of its American counterpart. But there is a saving grace because we do get some of the infamous Netflix Originals range of series but more is slowly coming.

Netflix, unlike some other services, don't, allow downloading so you have to be connected to the internet, but if you have the Netflix app on your smartphone, you can download series and video to watch later on the app. In this modern age, the service is available on smartphones, laptops, gaming consoles and some smart TVs. The cost is dependant on the package you choose for yourself or your household but it ranges from R129.99p/m to R199.99p/m. If you aren't sure about it, try it out .netflix gives you a month trial free.



Somehow Showmax sneakily found out about Netflix's plans to invade the shores of South Africa and set up base a little while before Netflix arrived. This fact has served them well because it created a loyal following. The service has both movies and TV series and allows you to stream and/or download content. This means you can still watch your favorite shows when you don’t have an internet connection (definitely handy on planes). Like Netflix, it's available on selected smart TV's, smartphones, laptops but unfortunately not gaming consoles but they will make their bid there soon.

Showmax beats its competition in price as its only R99p/m. In addition, DSTV has joined with Showmax, so if you are one of those lucky people that have a full package on DSTV, you can use Showmax for free. If not, test it out anyways and take their 7-day trial.



If you’re a Mac or iOS user, then you know all about iTunes. Yes, it is available for Windows PCs, but it's just not the same .iTunes is most well-known for having revolutionized the music industry. Yeah, it's awesome to download the newest bangers and billboard hits, but they do tv series and movies too. 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.Yes, it sucks, I know but we got to deal with it.

Movies can either be purchased or rented in SD or HD and then watched on compatible devices, But like all things, there are limits: 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 knocks Google Play Movies out of the park but it's still limited when compared to the international versions of the service. It's compatible with Mac and iOS as well as Windows PCs.The service is initially free but costs vary for purchase and rental of titles.

My Opinion (Because It Matters ;P)

I've been a long time fan of Netflix so this is completely biased but it rings true as well. as much as all these names want to compete with Netflix, they have been doing this for longer. They also have experience and have a firm grasp of what their consumers want. If you don't believe me check out MyBroadband’s Piracy and Streaming Survey they did this year where you see that 84.85% of the tech savvy South Africans are subscribed to Netflix.

The video on demand service world is still growing in South Africa and we still have a lot to look out for from these names, but until then I will still prefer Netflix over the other. Yes it might not be the cheapest and it might not have all the international content yet, but you do receive an international quality and experience. In a world where binge watching our favorite series has become a kind of therapy, a trusted service is important