Home Entertainment Netflix, Showmax and DStv Now drop streaming speeds in South Africa

Netflix, Showmax and DStv Now drop streaming speeds in South Africa

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We have seen how telecommunication services in Europe have been affected by the result of many countries going into lockdown or having people work from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The need to work online along with people having more time to catch up on Netflix, YouTube and whatever else they watch was obviously causing even the speedy connections in Europe to suffer as a result.

So I guess it should come as no surprise that South Africa has encountered the same problems going into lockdown. and perhaps even more so now that one of the undersea cables connecting us to the rest of Europe was damaged over the weekend. To alleviate this pressure on the countries telecommunications networks, Business Insider is reporting that all of South Africa’s big streaming giants – Netflix, Showmax, and DStv Now – will begin implementing measures to reduce their impact on the system.

For Netflix, this means a 35% drop in their bitrate into the country which the company claims will not reduce the overall resolution of the high-definition streaming, though a drop in bitrate will likely cause more pixelation and less crisp visuals.

As for Showmax and DStvNow, Multichoice, who owns both, has revealed that they will reduce its live-streaming resolution to 565p on mobile devices, while the company indicates they are working on other measures alongside the different internet service providers to manage the load across the country’s networks. It’s unclear at this point in time if we will see a similar response from the likes of YouTube and Amazon.

So if you’re wondering why your image quality isn’t quite the same as you’re streaming your favourite show, now you know why. I guess that’s the price we all have to pay for staying at home and saving the world.

Last Updated: March 31, 2020

16 Comments

  1. justlikemo

    March 31, 2020 at 09:08

    so question, with the quality drop, does the price also drop, cos technically on Netflix you are paying for top quality on the higher package at a higher price, at least that’s how they sell it.

    Reply

    • BlinkFan

      March 31, 2020 at 09:48

      Must… resist… commenting…

      Reply

    • The D

      March 31, 2020 at 09:56

      Good question, but there’s probably a “best effort” clause that they can use to get yer money.

      Reply

    • HvR

      March 31, 2020 at 10:28

      They are clever, strictly speaking you are paying for the resolution not quality.

      So probably why they are reducing image quality and not lowering the resolution

      Reply

  2. Gavin Mannion

    March 31, 2020 at 08:34

    565p.. that’s a weirdly specific number?

    Reply

    • justlikemo

      March 31, 2020 at 09:08

      that person that calculated that was not good at maths in school , 720 / 2 gives 565, yes O_o

      Reply

    • HvR

      March 31, 2020 at 10:28

      Think Business Insider made an oopsie doopsie, they dropped it the 576p (PAL resolution)

      Reply

  3. Seeker

    March 31, 2020 at 09:42

    Showmax’s video and audio quality is so bad as it is. If they reduce they reduce the quality even more there will be not reason for anyone to torture themselves while in quarantine by watching their pixelated mess.

    Reply

    • Kervyn Cloete

      March 31, 2020 at 09:56

      I actually don’t have any issue with Showmax quality. But I’m using it through a browser on my Media PC and the app on my Android Media Player. I’ve heard that some people running native TV apps may see problems though.

      Reply

      • Seeker

        March 31, 2020 at 11:00

        I use it on the TV and console apps. Didn’t know there was a difference between browser and app quality. Thanks for the heads up.

        Reply

        • Kervyn Cloete

          March 31, 2020 at 11:22

          It’s just anecdotal evidence, but I’ve seen a few ppl complain about it on here previously. They don’t do full 1080p though, if you’re looking for that. But the 720p is pretty decent to me.

          Reply

          • Seeker

            March 31, 2020 at 12:15

            720p rez is not a problem. My biggest issue is that the videos have heavy compression artefacts like pixelation and a smeared looking image which makes it impossible to see anything in dark scenes. The audio also sounds like a 32kbps compressed mp3 and sounds horrible even on the TVs speakers let alone my sound system.
            I guess they need to fix their apps then coz I think most people will be using it through the app.

      • HvR

        March 31, 2020 at 11:23

        I reupped my Showmax just before the lockdown on a 1dayonly special after about 18 months and must the browser and android app quality and bandwidth requirement has improved 10 fold.

        Guess those improvements haven’t made it to all the platforms.

        Reply

      • R1ker

        March 31, 2020 at 13:45

        I am running the app on the xbox. The big problem i have with it is that neither Showmax nor Dstv now stream on 5.1 but just stereo. So i can’t really use the home theater system to its potential. Thats the reason i love netflix and amazon’s library is also slowly but surely getting better.

        Reply

        • HvR

          March 31, 2020 at 15:30

          Yeah, they do not offer any but stereo on either service.

          Reason why I watched GoT and other HBO shows … through alternative means on the TV

          Reply

        • HvR

          March 31, 2020 at 15:30

          Yeah, they do not offer any but stereo on either service.

          Reason why I watched GoT and other HBO shows … through alternative means on the TV

          Reply

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