How to stream movies and series online
A beginner’s guide to streaming your favourite series and movies on Showmax, and why you should.
Gone are the days of needing to buy piles of expensive CDs and DVDs, or paying to download songs and videos in order to have access to the latest in entertainment. Today there are loads of streaming services that replace the old model of buying and owning the content you want, in favour of paying a monthly subscription for access to more content than you could consume in a lifetime.
Here’s what you need to know to get started with video streaming.
What is a streaming service?
Streaming video-on-demand (SVOD) or internet TV services like Showmax give you access to a huge library of series, movies, kids’ shows, documentaries and live sport, more than you could ever consume in a lifetime, via the Showmax app and website. Everything in the streaming service’s catalogue is available to watch when it suits you.
What are the advantages of streaming services?
Subscribing to a service like Showmax to stream movies and series online is affordable, safe and easy.
- Convenience – watch what you want when you want it on different devices.
- Price – subscriptions are affordable. Showmax starts at R49/N1450/Ksh375 a month.
- Safety – unlike pirated series and movies sites, which are a crime to use, legal streaming services won’t expose you to malicious software or viruses or offensive advertising.
- No ad breaks.
- No need to store DVDs or save large files on your devices.
- No long-term contracts: cancel at any time and pay month to month.
What do I need to start streaming?
Three things: the right device, like a smartphone or smart TV; an internet connection; and an active subscription.
The right device: what device do I need?
You need a device that can connect to the internet. This includes smartphones, tablets, laptops, media boxes, gaming consoles and smart TVs.
If you want to watch your series on your big TV screen, but it’s a “non-smart” TV, invest in an Apple TV, Android media streaming box or Chromecast device. These media streaming devices connect your TV to the internet and stream Showmax directly on your big screen.
Or simply connect your laptop to your big screen using an HDMI cable.
A decent internet connection: How fast does my internet have to be?
You should have a minimum speed of 2 megabits per second (Mbps). An uncapped 4Mbps connection or faster is recommended for the best experience: a connection upward of 10Mbps should allow you to watch high-definition content without buffering.
Even though streaming services like Showmax provide the option to download content for offline viewing and offers bandwidth capping tools that adjust the quality of content to use less data, you’re still going to need plenty of bandwidth.
Whether you’re using ADSL, fibre or mobile broadband, you’re either going to need an uncapped connection or one with a large monthly data allowance (think 50GB/month or more).
Fibre or ADSL not an option in your area? Many internet service providers now offer LTE-Advanced products that use the same mobile networks as your cellphone. These provide a Wi-Fi router to connect multiple devices to, and come bundled with large amounts of data.
It’s also possible to stream on your mobile phone using data from your mobile operator. Look out for mobile promotions that prioritise streaming, like Vodacom’s 10 hours of Showmax for R99 deal.
An active Showmax subscription: How much does it cost?
You will need a Showmax subscription to login and start streaming. There’s a 14-day free trial to test it out. Cancel before the trial is up and you won’t be charged.
Once the trial is up, Showmax is available for your mobile device for R49/N1450/Ksh375 per month. The standard plan is R99/N2900/Ksh750, which allows you to register up to five devices – for example your phone, your teen’s tablet, your laptop, your partner’s phone and the family smart TV – and stream on two of these devices at the same time.
DStv Premium customers get Showmax at no cost in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria. DStv Compact and Compact Plus customers get Showmax for R49 in South Africa. Here’s how to link your Showmax and DStv.
Sign up at showmax.com and choose the price and payment option that works for you.
Download the Showmax app: Is there an app for my device?
For the best experience, download the Showmax app for Apple and Android devices including smartphones, tablets and smart TVs. Showmax also has apps for Sony’s PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One in certain regions.
DStv subscribers in certain countries are able to use internet-connected Exploras to watch Showmax.
If you’re watching on your laptop or computer, go to the Showmax website to stream.
Data-saving tools: How do I control how much data Showmax uses?
Showmax allows you to cap your bandwidth usage, which will keep your data usage as low as possible.
When you start streaming, go to the Settings icon and select Bandwidth Capping. Choose between Low, Medium and No Cap. Low will only use about 0.3GB per hour, and the quality is fine for streaming on a small screen, such as your smartphone. Medium uses 0.7GB an hour, and is great for use on tablets, while no cap uses a maximum of 2GB per hour, with excellent video quality.
When using smartphones or tablets, the Showmax app allows you to download anything in the library to watch offline. Downloads are not possible using the website or on other devices. Find out how to download here.