There are a number of video on demand services for you to choose from in South Africa.
This time last year it was between Vidi and, unofficially, Netflix.
Every service offers a slightly different selection of content available on subscription, while OntapTV, Vidi, and VU also have movie rental options.
Another factor to consider before selecting a video streaming service is that they don’t all run on the same platforms.
Of the 4 subscription video on demand services officially available in South Africa, only Vidi and ShowMax run on smart TV apps. The rest run inside web browsers and from smartphone applications.
Netflix vs ShowMax, Vidi, VU, and OntapTV
|VOD service||Netflix US||OntapTV||ShowMax||Vidi||VU|
||R89 per month||R99 per month||R99 per month||R99* per month|
|* Currently on promotion / Exchange rate: R15/$|
Netflix runs on everything from media boxes to video game consoles, but isn’t strictly legal to use in South Africa.
Not only does Netflix’s terms and conditions prohibit you from circumventing its geographic restrictions, legal experts in South Africa have warned that using it locally is a form of copyright infringement.
It’s not criminal, and it is extremely unlikely that you will be prosecuted, but lawyers have warned against it.
In spite of this, there are a number of services which make it easy to access Netflix in South Africa. This is how local users do it.
1. Use an unblocking service
A popular choice among local Netflix users is an unblocking service such as UnoTelly, Unblock-Us, or Blockless. They all cost around $5 per month.
Setting up a virtual private network is also an option for these users.
2. Configuring the unblocker
Subscribing to an unblocking service provides you with a guide that will walk you through configuring it.
Typically it requires changing DNS settings and providing it with a public IP address.
South African home broadband users are typically assigned dynamic IP addresses, which means users have to regularly update the IP address on file with their unblocker.
Some unblockers support dynamic DNS services such as No-IP to handle this, but broadband routers will also have to support it for this to work.
3. Sign up for Netflix
With the unblocker and DNS settings configured, users can then sign up for Netflix.
Credit cards are an accepted payment method, but if South African credit cards are not accepted a user will have to get a virtual card.
Entropay offers virtual Visa and MasterCard credit cards, which local Netflix users may use.