South Africans are treated to a range of streaming services, but the two major services are Netflix (from the US, with a massive international catalogue plus a growing number of local Originals) and Showmax (South Africa’s very own, with loads of local titles, a slate of South African Originals, and a hefty international catalogue). There’s also the lesser-known Amazon Prime Video (with a somewhat limited catalogue in South Africa, but boasting a few must-see gems) and the relatively new Apple TV+ (with shows that are getting more and more attention as time goes by).
We believe it’s worthwhile investing in all available streaming services, but, then again, we’re serious TV addicts. If you’re weighing up which service to subscribe to, you’re probably looking at getting either Showmax or Netflix.
Here are the different options for each service and how much each will cost you.
The cost of Netflix in South Africa
You’re looking at one of two kinds of packages, here. There’s the standard Netflix subscription, with three tiers, and the two mobile options, which, at the time of writing in September 2020, were still being rolled out locally.
For the standard service, the most basic package costs R99 per month. You won’t be able to view in HD or Ultra HD on this package, and can only watch on one device at a time – so you’re only offered one stream.
The standard package, at R139 per month, gives you two streams. This means one person can watch on your account on one device – say, a smartphone – while you watch on your smart TV at the same time. And you can both watch in HD.
The premium package costs R169, and allows for HD and Ultra HD viewing, and offers four simultaneous streams – so four different people can use Netflix on your account on four different devices at the same time.
If you’re only going to be watching on your phone or tablet, and you don’t have a family who will want access to your Netflix deets, then you can get away with signing up to the basic package and only spend R99 per month. But if you’re looking at watching on a smart TV or a bigger screen, and want your kids to get in on the Netflix action, too, then it’s worth looking at one of the pricier packages.
But if you are planning on only watching on your phone or tablet, you might want to look at Netflix Mobile or Mobile+. For R39 per month, you’ll be able to watch Netflix on your phone or tablet, with only one stream, on the Mobile plan, and for R59 per month, you’ll get the Mobile+ plan, which lets you watch on your tablet or phone as well as on your desktop computer or laptop as well. It still only offers the one simultaneous stream, but it gives you more options for where and how to watch.
What is there to watch?
Showmax price in South Africa
There are a few options to go for with Showmax in SA at the moment – Showmax Standard, Showmax Mobile, Showmax Pro and Showmax Pro Mobile.
With both Mobile and Pro Mobile, you’re getting one stream in SD. That means you’ll be able to stream Showmax on only one device at a time, and that device has to be a smartphone or a tablet. Showmax Standard and Showmax Pro offer two simultaneous HD streams, and the app works on smart TVs, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and media players, as well as in web browsers.
Another big difference is the Showmax Standard and Showmax Mobile price. Mobile costs R49 per month, and Standard costs R99 per month. Read more about Showmax Mobile vs Showmax Standard here.
Showmax subscribers in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and other sub-Saharan African countries can also choose Showmax Pro or Showmax Pro Mobile. These offer the same catalogue as Showmax Standard, but bundle live streams of sport from SuperSport plus news and music channels.
What is there to watch?
The cost of data
All streaming services rely on a connection to the internet, and as we’re well aware, data’s gonna cost ya. Thankfully, both Netflix and Showmax have data management tools to help you get more bang for your buck. Read more about the most cost-effective ways to stream on your phone or tablet here.
There’s also always the option of downloading episodes of your favourite shows or must-see movies while you’re on Wi-Fi to watch online later.
Still struggling to choose between Showmax and Netflix, and only prepared to pay for one of them? Check out our comparison here. Or you could get a free 14-day Showmax trial to check it out for yourself. (Netflix no longer offers free trials in South Africa, and there is no free trial for Showmax Pro, as live sport is incompatible with free trials.)