It’s time we all woke up and smelled the coffee over how we watch TV these days and, more importantly, think about how much cash we are willing to spend.
Old School Viewing
There was a time when watching television was a case of switch on (warm up the set!?) and consume whatever you’re given. Hours, days, even weeks were spent waiting for a favourite TV show. Suppers rushed. Nights out cancelled. Ploughing through TV you really don’t want to watch to kill time, sitting through news bulletins, nature programs and pointless game shows. And heaven forbid if you had unavoidable plans on the allotted night for your favourite series. Catch up? Forget it. The best I could hope for then was an incomplete verbal précis from someone who had been fortunate enough to watch, which left me with burning questions the following week such as, “so, why is the murderer still on the loose?” and “Who the heck is that now?!”
TV on demand
Today, as we all know, it’s a whole different story. Watch what you like. Binge on box sets. No need to wait. Download, stream, feast, indulge, go ahead and gorge. Internet TV has arrived! How else did my teenage daughter manage to watch the entire 10 series of Friends over one Christmas holiday? (That’s 236 episodes to be precise). Oh and there is that dreaded ‘just one more’ phenomenon that sees us propping red eyes open with match sticks until 1am.
Massive choice of titles
Kids can watch TV all day and all night if they wish (comes in handy sometimes). Same goes for adults and with internet TV available on any smart device, isn’t it now tempting to dip in at any time of the day? Forget that report that’s hanging over me, let’s break out the next episode of Game of Thrones! Spoiled for choice, we are burdened with decisions over what to watch among a mind boggling array of exciting, addictive, quality content. And isn’t TV getting good these days? Pace-y dramas that keep you on the edge of your seat, blockbuster movies in HD, survival shows, talent shows and the dreaded Big Brother.
So HOW to watch TV?
Well, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee. Satellite carries eye wateringly pricey subscriptions (not to mention set-up costs) so is increasingly off putting. These days (and I’m way behind the curve here) there are some really good alternatives. Much cheaper digital TV packages that solely rely on a good internet connection, smart TV, smartphone or tablet. You can watch on-demand TV at home, whatever, whenever you like but that’s just the beginning of the story. Download movies or shows while in a wifi zone, to watch later while killing time in a queue, in a waiting room or to kill time over a long journey? Now different members of the family can watch their favourite shows simultaneously on various devices (that’s basically what our family looks like on Saturday night these days).
So out of the ark I come, blinking into 2017 and wondering what my options are here in Kenya. The good news is that there’s a new product on the market which combines high quality content with really attractive prices (monthly subscriptions for less than Kshs 1,000). For the last few week’s I’ve been giving it a try (wow, it’s so tempting to hit that ‘next episode’ button).
ShowMax – 10 Need-to-Know Facts
- ShowMax is an internet TV service featuring popular TV series, movies and shows for kids including international and Kenyan shows.
- You can pay by MPesa in KShs for monthly subscriptions priced below Ksh1,000. ShowMax Premium: 880/- per month (30/70 local to international content. Over 20,000 shows), ShowMax Select: 330/- month (50/50 local to international content. Over 3,000 hours of viewing content)
- Launched in Kenya September 2016.
- Premium subscribers can watch more than 20,000 TV series episodes, movies, documentaries and kids shows ranging from The Barbie Collection to Vikings.
- Subscribers can choose from a number of different download video quality levels. Using the most data-efficient setting, downloading a 20-minute TV show will use approximately 80 MB. This means that a 7.5 GB data bundle would be enough for more than 90 episodes.
- Subscribers can either stream content or download up to 25 shows to watch offline on smartphones or tablets at any time (viewable within 30 days).
- ShowMax offers the lowest rates on the local TV subscription market (cheaper than StarTimes, GoTV etc) but you will need to factor in internet costs on top.
- There are sports clips but this is not a package for massive sports fans nor people who want to access up-to-the-minute news coverage on TV.
- If you are desperate to watch bang up-to-date episodes of your favourite international shows, then, for now, you may want to run this package concurrently with a satellite service. If you love to binge on chart topping shows from start to finish whenever you fancy, then go for it!
- FREE 14-day trial when you sign up using your credit card!
Images courtesy of: ShowMax. *Advertorial feature.