Netflix vs Showmax – Pricing and restrictions

Online streaming services are growing their footprint in South Africa, with Netflix and Showmax being the biggest players in the high-end streaming market.

Both platforms offer a range of high-quality content and support for multiple viewing platforms, and each has their own unique offerings.

Showmax is owned by MultiChoice and as a result it is bundled with the company’s DStv Premium service, onboarding more users by granting traditional satellite TV viewers an online-only platform for on-demand streaming.

To see how these services compare, we looked at their local pricing, restrictions, and the selection of content available on the respective services.

Pricing and restrictions

Showmax is available as a standalone subscription service with a 14-day free trial or as a free value-added service for DStv Premium subscribers.

Once this trial is completed, users without a DStv Premium subscription can pay a monthly fee of R99 to continue their membership on the platform.

Showmax also allows two users to watch shows simultaneously on different devices and lets users register up to 20 devices to their account.

Subscribers are able to view Showmax content in resolutions up to 720p on most devices, and 1080i on DStv Explora decoders.

Netflix offers a number of different packages depending on the viewer’s needs, each of which supports different simultaneous viewer numbers and quality options.

Below are the Netflix packages available in South Africa, along with their pricing.

Netflix Subscriptions Basic Standard Premium
Quality Below 720p Up to 1080p Up to 4K
Simultaneous streams 1 2 4
Price R99 R139 R169

While the Premium version of Netflix is more expensive than Showmax, it does not have the same stringent restrictions on simultanous viewers.

The variety of packages on Netflix make them more suitable for people who share access to a streaming service or are watching on high-end hardware, as even sharing a Premium subscription with one other person would be less than the Basic package.

Additionally, Premium allows four devices to be watching different shows simultaneously in resolutions of up to 3,840 x 2,160, depending on their device and the content they are watching


Both Showmax and Netflix include a wide selection of content, and each has a good lineup of popular series and movies.

Netflix is home to popular Originals, including shows like Stranger Things, The Umbrella Academy, and Marvel’s Daredevil, while Showmax has HBO-licensed content such as Chernobyl and Game of Thrones.

The table below shows the movie and series titles available on the two platforms according to JustWatch – a service that keeps track of content on the streaming platforms.

Content Netflix Showmax
Series 1,296 398
Movies 3,109 433

This comparison shows that Netflix has a much wider selection of content, although it should be noted that there is a lot more content localised for other countries like India on Netflix than Showmax.

Despite this, both platforms deliver great selections of TV shows and movies along with easy ways to watch them, including the ability to download episodes for offline viewing.

A recent content comparison conducted by MyBroadband found that online streaming services such as Netflix include at least as much content as satellite television when it comes to movies and series.

With this in mind, it would be ideal to subscribe to both Showmax and Netflix to access the wealth of content across the platforms, although you would still need a DStv subscription to watch sport.

Now read: Netflix testing Instagram-like discovery feed

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Netflix vs Showmax – Pricing and restrictions