Cape Town – The problem with a busy schedule is that you don’t always get time to sit down in front of the TV to watch your favourite shows.
Then there’s also the issue of waiting a week for the next episode to air. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Not these days anyway.
So three months ago I took out my credit card and signed up for ShowMax. I needed to see what all the fuss was about and wanted to find out if it would sort out my TV dilemma. Spoiler alert: It did.
At first I was only going to try it out for a month – but before I knew it, it was 3 months later and I was still signed up. A good sign indeed.
Just to make it clear. Although I work for Media24 a subsidiary of Naspers who owns ShowMax I wasn’t asked to write this piece and I paid for my access out of my own pocket. I tried ShowMax for myself and I thought it would be a great idea to share my experience with the Channel24 readers.
ShowMax is a video on demand service. It’s TV and movies at your fingertips. You can watch whatever you want, whenever you want online. The best way to describe it would be to use the words “internet TV”. It’s like a TV channel where you get to pick what you watch, when you want to watch it.
To be honest this was my biggest concern. Data is expensive! Plus my WiFi connection at home is super-slow. (I actually have to get that sorted. But it’s a lot of paperwork and I hate paperwork so for now I’m struggling along with a bad internet connection at home.) For that reason I was skeptical to sign up for ShowMax. How and when would I watch?
Here’s where ShowMax upped their game big time. They have 3 options to reduce data costs and to make it easier to watch TV online in SA:
You can download and watch shows offline: I use this function a lot. I watch ShowMax on my iPad so whenever I have a WiFi connection I download shows so that I can watch them later. You can download up to 25 shows using this function that is available to Android and Apple smartphones and tablets. I downloaded the smallest size file and the quality is still excellent plus the download is fast. ShowMax is the only streaming service that has this handy feature.
You can control how much data you use: ShowMax has a bandwidth capping function that reduces data consumption. You just select a lower streaming video-quality level. They even have a data usage calculator that tells you how much data you will need to watch an episode.
Teaming up with Telkom: Telkom has an entertainment bolt-on package that reduces the cost of data and makes it easier to access ShowMax.
The variety is great. There’s everything from local shows, to kids shows to British shows to the big shows that everyone is talking about, even doccies and movies. Just last week I watched season five of Girls after checking out the local ShowMax original series Die Byl (which btw is definitely worth the watch).
I’m not going to bullshit you, there is some crappy stuff in-between. However it’s easy to sift out the good stuff by using the search filters. Plus the latest and best shows are usually right at the top.
ShowMax also suggest shows to you based on what you've watched before. This actually resulted in me finding some hidden gems that I maybe wouldn’t have downloaded or watched before.
The site is constantly being updated and there’s always something fresh to watch. I’ve already downloaded the first season of Silicon Valley to watch this weekend. Apart from all the series, ShowMax also offers movies. I think I watched one movie over the three months. It’s mostly old stuff and not really what I’m into – but to be honest I’m on ShowMax for the series. Binge-watching is what I’m all about and ShowMax more than delivers!
Let’s break it down:
Does ShowMax have the big new shows? Yes – And they come in box sets so you can binge-watch! My favourite by far was The Affair. Both seasons.
Does ShowMax have the golden oldies? Yes – I just finished the complete Parks & Rec box set.
Does ShowMax have local content? Yes – I didn’t know we had this much local content tbh.
Does ShowMax have doccies? Yes – I’ve watched some good ones. Check out the Vice series.
Does ShowMax have movies? Yes – But not the best variety. They're mostly old stuff.
R99 a month. That’s all. No hidden fees, etc. And you pay month by month. So if you’re not feeling it you don’t have to renew the next month. If you want to try it out go sign-up here and get the first 7 days mahala. If you don't have a credit card you can buy prepaid vouchers from retailers such as Pick n Pay and Game, buy online with FNB eBucks, or add your bill to your Telkom or DStv account.
I had a technical problem with an episode I downloaded once and decided to approach ShowMax on Twitter for tech support. Within minutes I got a reply and the issue was sorted. If you get stuck just tweet them at @ShowMaxOnline anytime between 07:00-23:00 and someone will sort it out for you ASAP.
*Media24 is a subsidiary of Naspers.
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