Showmax is one of the popular streaming services in Kenya and the larger Africa. The product is owned by MultiChoice, the same company that is known for offering DStv services.
Showmax was launched as a competitor to Netflix and is, therefore, a member of the online streaming products that are always in a tussle based on films and TV shows offered, and price.
This is also a good time to introduce that MultiChoice has never been a fan of Netflix because the company thinks the American video-on-demand service was having it too easy in the competition space, and even called for it to be regulated.
Of course, the regulation element never happened – and in what we think is a war MultiChoice was not going to win, the South Africa-based company decided to join Netflix in the form that it would sell a streaming box bundled with the Netflix app.
These developments are not the highlight of this story. Rather, I want to look into things that Showmax can do to make it more appealing to a wide user base. Another way of looking at it is that the likes of Netflix and Prime Video do very many things well and that Showmax could learn from them.
With that out of the way, here are some things I think the streaming app should fix.
Number of devices that can log in
Showmax allows a maximum of 5 devices for a single subscription. Say I purchase a plan for a month: I can only add five devices, and nothing more. Netflix, for instance, supports many devices (not all can stream at the same time – more of that in a moment), and I think Showmax should remove the restriction.
This is another problem I have with Showmax, and it has been amplified with Showmax Pro, which was announced a couple of days ago.
Ordinarily, only two devices can stream at the same time (it is a different case for mobile-only subscriptions), which is okay for the normal Showmax. The Pro subscription, however, should push that number because at KES 2100 per month, customers should at least get four active devices.
Netflix’s most expensive tire supports four devices, and it is half as costlier as Showmax Pro (Pro is superior in many ways, but that is not the point – and still!).
Limit to removing logged in devices
See, when you log into Showmax, the platform records the devices logged in.
Say you are very popular and have a healthy stream of friends that want to jump onto your subscription. And you say, yes. Then, say you downgrade some of them to acquaintances, and you do not want them in your Showmax anymore. You can only remove them from your end a maximum of 20 times in a year. Only 20.
This, to me, is limiting, because there are cases where logged-in devices might not be in use, and you want to remove them, but you can’t.
Why this limitation exists is a mystery to me.
Limited to only 720p streams
720p is not cool anymore – and even YouTube does not consider it as high-definition anymore.
So, Full HD sometime in the future, Showmax? Because your competitors run 1080p just fine…
A better app for Android TV
This is more of a personal taste. I do not like the Showmax Android TV app. It looks dated and has been that way for an extended period.
Its apps for Tizen and webOS (Samsung and LG TVs) are excellent, look modern, and run smoothly.
Can we get the same tweaks for the Android TV app? Or can it be updated to reflect the Sports section is no longer on beta?
Or can it at least be made to look like Showmax’s web interface?