Netflix vs FrontRow vs Vidi vs Node in South Africa

How do South Africa’s new video on demand players compare?

By - January 12, 2015 Share on LinkedIn
Video streaming creation tablet

MTN recently launched video on demand (VOD) platform FrontRow, which offers a subscription service for R199 per month (R179 for the first three months).

This means that South Africans now have a choice of three different, local subscription VOD (SVOD) services.

However, many chose not to wait until such services officially launched in South Africa, instead using ways to circumvent the geographic restrictions placed on Netflix and international streaming services similar to it.

Legal experts told MyBroadband that bypassing such geoblocking mechanisms is probably illegal, albeit not criminal.

It is also unlikely that those who might be infringing South Africa’s copyright laws in this way would be prosecuted, MyBroadband heard at the time.

Questions on the legality aside, the effect is that the streaming products from MTN, Times Media Group, and Altech are competing against Netflix in South Africa.

The table below provides a brief summary of how the various services compare in terms of price and technology.

SVOD price comparison Netflix Node FrontRow Vidi
Operator Netflix Altech MTN Times Media
Subscription R151 ($7.99+4.95)* R299 R199 (R179 x 3) R149
Movie rentals N/A R15 | R25 R15 | R27 R15 | R27
Push / streaming Streaming Push Streaming Streaming
Installation R0 R2,000 R0 R0

Tabulating the differences in content on offer is tricky due to the sheer volume of data such a comparison would need to show, but suffice it to say that the US Netflix catalogue dwarfs that of any SVOD service in South Africa.

“Streaming” means that a service delivers content over the Internet to player software of some kind, and a subscriber watches it as it is delivered.

Push-based services like the Altech Node send encrypted content to an end-user device — in this case a decoder-like box — which a subscriber can then unlock to watch.

Netflix in SA — VPN blocking update

MTN FrontRow video streaming review

Free video on demand on free Wi-Fi in South Africa

Vidi will suffer: MultiChoice

Altech Node hands-on

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