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How much data and bandwidth does streaming video use?

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Do you remember flipping through your TV magazine with the hopes that your favourite show would finally be coming back that month? Or to find out when if they were ever going to repeat that movie you missed so you could set up your VCR and hit record?

TV is no longer a waiting game. With video-on-demand (VoD) it’s as simple as finding something you want to watch and pressing ‘Play’. South Africa’s VoD service, ShowMax, has a massive catalogue of top movies and series to choose from. Here’s how it works.

The show must go on

You’ll first need to point your browser to to sign up. There are only two steps: You can sign up with your name, surname, email address and create a password. After that, you choose your payment option and have access to their 7-day trial. You can unsubscribe within the 7-day free trial and you will not be billed.

You’ll now have access to thousands of hours of local and international movies and series.

Where did my data go?

ShowMax costs R99/month, but that doesn’t include your internet costs. Like any VoD service, to use ShowMax you’ll need to be connected to the ‘net. And to really enjoy streaming video, we recommend an uncapped 4Mbps internet connection (or faster) for the best viewing experience.

ShowMax will also work with a 2Mbps connection, but if you’re going to watch on more than one device at a time, your best bet is 4Mbps (or faster).

Cleverly, ShowMax uses adaptive streaming, which means that the video quality will self-adjust depending on the speed of your Internet connection. So if your connection is slower, ShowMax will automatically adjust the resolution as well, meaning that you can keep watching without interruption.

Numbers based on 1800kbps stream quality.
Numbers based on 1800kbps stream quality.

ShowMax optimally streams video at 1800 kilobits per second (1800kbps), so you should budget on ShowMax using roughly 900MB of data per hour. But this depends on which device you are using and the speed and quality of your Internet connection. So a 40-45 minute TV show like Game of Thrones or Suits will require about 600MB of data, while a 20-minute show (The Big Bang Theory and Molly en Wors) will be around 300MB per episode. A two-hour movie? You’re looking at around 1.5GB.

To find out more about the latest revolution in home entertainment, as well as to see what makes up ShowMax’s very-large content library, click here.

[su_box title=”Need to know facts about ShowMax” box_color=”#f37021″]

  • You can watch on two devices simultaneously.
  • You can access ShowMax online with a web browser.
  • ShowMax also has Android (4.1.0 or higher) and iOS (iOS 7 or higher) apps, as well as apps for Samsung (2012 or later, including Tizen) and LG (WebOS, NetCast) smart TVs.
  • The ShowMax app on iOS, Android and smart TVs are free…
  • …but you cannot sign up to ShowMax via the apps, you’ll have to do that via the web.[/su_box]


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