This year a group of new streaming video devices were launched in Mzansi, including Telkom LIT Android TV Media Player, Econet’s Kwesé Play, and Cell C’s black set-top box.
I have been binge watching on the three set top boxes since September and am impressed.
If you have a reliable ADSL and LTE network in your area, then you can cut the cord of that rich, monopolistic satellite TV, DStv.
Those repeats overloads can come to an end.
Furthermore, if you can live without watching soccer, rugby, and cricket, plus that popular Mzansi Magic channel on DStv (always liked for Date My Family, Our Perfect Wedding, etc), then you can have fun with the new streaming video services.
If you are ready, then prepare a festive speech to divorce DStv.
You can use that money to buy a new set-top box.
The competition is fierce with internet access improving and local players – from Telkom LIT, Kwesé Play or black – are upping the ante to compete with DStv.
That said, the best experience for these new streaming video devices comes down to the app ecosystem, interface, and available content to stream.
The Winner: Powerful Telkom LIT TV Ready for 4K TV
The Telkom Android media player is available for R1099.00 once off or can be added on Telkom’s customers contract for R49.99 a month over 24 months.
The LIT TV media box is also available on Telkom contract packages, which also includes a Huawei B315 LTE router.
- Devices powered by Android TV have Chromecast built-in, so you can cast your favourite
entertainment apps to your TV.
- The device is compatible with android and IOS – allowing your smartphone to be a keypad or voice enabled remote control for the streaming box.
- It features a quad-core A53 chipset
- Has a 2GB of RAM and 8GB of expandable storage
- Airmouse (including USB Dongle)
- Boast two USB ports, 3.5mm audio jack,
- It has a USB OTG support, SD card slot,
- Comes WiFi, optical audio port for headphones, and
- Ethernet jack 10/100M.
- LIT TV box supports 4KTV
The current content partners for LIT TV are ShowMax, YouTube, DSTV Now and Google Play Store.
Customers can choose exactly what they want to watch both from Telkom’s subscription based partners as well as a host of free content options from the Google Play Store allowing them to design a personalised entertainment hub.
This Telkom’s set-top box seems a winner in this fierce competition for video on demand.
What’s more cool is that Telkom has also created additional services for customers to continue to enjoy videos and music while on the go.
The telco has thrown in LIT Music and LIT Video.
LIT Music enables streaming music on a smartphone or tablet for subscribers of the Telkom FreeMe 2GB, 5GB, 10GB, 20GB.
For LIT Music, Telkom has collaborated with Google Play Music, Apple Music, and Simfy Africa.
This means that when customers stream content from these sites it will not be deducted from their FreeMe data bundle.
LIT Video allows for the streaming of standard definition video on your smartphone or tablet from selected video service providers. This service is available to subscribers of Telkom FreeMe 5GB, 10GB, 20 GB unlimited.
Telkom LIT seems to be a great set-top box you can buy in Mzansi this festive season as a gift to your loved ones. As a Telkom customer, it has enabled me to binge watch on various channels.
It really provides the best experience.
The Runner Up: Kwesé Play
The Roku-powered streaming device is available for R999 at Incredible Connection with 300GB of Vox’s free data per month for three months and free Netflix for three months.
The Kwesé Play Set-top-box:
- Brilliant HD picture quality
- Over 100 streaming channels
- Internal Storage: 256mb of expandable storage
- Internal Ram: 512MB
- External storage via Micros SD Card/Ext USB
- Smart TV not required as it uses a Roku OS, being a Linux-derived platform made with TVs in mind
The content available is awesome.
Kwesé has Video-on-Demand content offering with more than 100 VOD services – such as Netflix, Bloomberg TV, iflix, iFood TV, YouTube, RedBull TV, TED, HappyKids2 and a host of other channels – delivered on a single platform.
Third Place: black “The Future of Entertainment”
Cell C has launched a content platform under the name black.
black has introduced its blackBOX, a smart easy plug and play multimedia box that turns any television into a smart TV.
The blackBOX is available from any Cell C store nationwide and can be purchased for R1499.
- The Android blackBOX is manufactured by Comigo, an Israel and US-based firm that wants to redefine the TV experience.
- Comigo’s software solution for STBs and TVs, supports both AOSP and Android TV platforms
- It also brings WatchApps: an HTML widget that offer contextual interaction with content for sports, ads, commerce, and many more applications
- Boast two USB ports
- Ethernet jack
- The box comes with a smart remote control with a full Qwerty keyboard to allow users to discover new content quickly.
- The smart remote can be used to access specific types of content such as direct links to games, shows, live TV and movies, through dedicated buttons.
- Black claims that the blackBOX has the capacity to convert non-smart TVs into smart TVs
The downside of the blackBOX is that it has secure apps only and you can’t download content and additional apps. Therefore, you can’t access Netflix, DStv Now and other exciting apps on the blackBOX.
Another unique product innovation is that consumers can use Cell C prepaid airtime to buy content, making it accessible for the unbanked market.
That said, black is not on the same level as Kwese Play and Telkom LIT.
What are other streaming services that are available in SA
- Netflix South Africa
- Naspers’ ShowMax
- Amazon Prime Video
- Pride TV
- PCCW Global’s ONTAPtv.com