Among the online streaming or SVOD (streaming video on demand) options available in Kenya today, Netflix and Showmax are two of the most popular. But which is the right one for you?
The apps are similar …
Both platforms have apps available on a wide variety of devices, from smart TVs to streaming devices like Apple TV and Chromecast, to tablets and smartphones, making streaming on the go that much easier.
Both apps allow you to save or download shows and movies while you’re connected to the internet to watch offline later (which Showmax implemented before Netflix here, by the way).
Both platforms offer HD streaming – although only Netflix currently allows Ultra-HD (4K) streaming.
And both services offer free trials to allow you to test them out: Showmax gives 14 days free – and you don’t even need a credit card – you can get a free 14-day voucher SMSed to your phone right now , while Netflix offers a one-month free trial with credit card only.
But the content and the costs are very different.
The focus of Showmax’s content library is quite different to Netflix’s.
Netflix has a wide selection of movies, thousands of older TV shows, and, of course, a number of highly successful Netflix originals.
Although Showmax’s first original series are in production as we speak, they do not currently offer original shows or movies just yet.
But a large portion of the Showmax collection is latest-season TV shows, such as episodes of Season 3 of MMA action series Kingdom. Each episode launches on Showmax express from the USA, and Showmax is the only place in Kenya where you can watch it.
Apart from exclusive HBO content, Showmax also has an extensive selection of kids’ shows, with new ones being added all the time – such as the recent addition Peppa Pig – plus Hollywood blockbuster movies from recent years.
And, importantly for us Kenyans, it offers an impressive catalogue of Kenyan shows and content from across Africa, from comedy classics like The Churchill Show to more recent hard-hitting dramas such as State House.
Netflix’s line-up, on the other hand, pretty much only offers British and American shows.
When it comes to monthly pricing, Showmax is the cheaper of the two, at KSH 800 per month.
Netflix currently costs around KSH1200 per month, and this fluctuates with the exchange rate as it’s priced in US dollars.
Showmax also lets you make payments through M-Pesa, which is convenient for most Kenyans, unlike Netflix, which only accepts debit and credit card payments.
While both Netflix and Showmax require users to pay for data to stream or download, Showmax offers more control over data spend. There are four different quality settings to choose from – select lowest quality when viewing on mobile, and you’ll save loads on data because you don’t need a high-quality picture on the small screen of your phone.
Showmax also has a bandwidth calculator on their site that allows you to calculate how much data you’ll use per week and per month, which will help you budget for it.
Both platforms are great options …
… but if you’re looking for value for money, I would suggest you give Showmax a go. The content selection is huge, it’s cheap, and you can stream all the Game of Thrones episodes your heart desires.