Showmax Pro went live in July this year and it was a very interesting package. This very feature set Showmax apart from the rest of the pack and I was curious to test it out.
I’ve been using it for the past one month and here are my thoughts about it.
Okay enough chitchat, what is Showmax Pro?
Showmax Pro doesn’t look radically different when you login, but it has a key difference. The major difference is the addition of live channels which changes everything on Showmax.
First, we have the live music and news channels that have a dedicated strip on the timeline. You can access live news from Newzroom Africa, Africanews and Euronews. There is also live music channels which include Trace Urban and Trace Gospel.
However, the one feature that will be attractive to most of you is the live sports streaming on Showmax Pro. These are the sports that Showmax Pro broadcast live:
- Football: English Premier League, LaLiga, Serie A, FA Cup, UEFA Champions and Europa Leagues (SA only), Premier Soccer League and more
- Motorsport: MotoGP, Dakar Rally, NASCAR Cup and more
- Tennis: All Grand Slams and ATP Tour events
- Athletics: Diamond League, World Challenge League and more
- Running: Berlin, Boston, London, NYC, Soweto Marathons and more
- Cycling: Tour De France, World Tour events and more
- Boxing: Selected IBF, WBA, WBO, WBC and African Boxing events
Interesting enough, there are certain live events that are available for the South Africa market only. This includes Swimming, Extreme Sports, eSports, Basketball, Triathlon, Horse Racing, EFC, Netball and Hockey. Also, weirdly the Champions League and Europa Leagues are SA only as per their FAQs.
This is a pretty healthy mix of live sporting events but it is not all inclusive. There are a lot of sporting events that are not covered but it seems Showmax covered the main ones here. Football is arguably the most popular sporting event in the country and it is covered well on Showmax Pro.
The user experience
The user experience is just like the regular Showmax. Under ‘browse’, go to the Sports section to access the live sports. They arrange the live sporting events by prioritizing the live ones at the top. These sporting events are arranged as ‘featured’, live & next and upcoming events.
Live events are displayed with the classic red live badge. Scheduled live events have timestamps on the thumbnails to show what time they will show or how much time is remaining for the broadcast.
When you click on the video player, it shows you a description of what you are watching. This usually disappears and you can hover your pointer or tap to find the description again.
My favourite bit about the user experience is the almost imperceptible lag while streaming content. If you have ever streamed before, you know that online streams are usually behind traditional satellite streams. However on Showmax Pro, I could see it was keeping up very well and I enjoyed watching football live on it. Gone are the days to live tweet an event and find that you are 30 seconds behind those people who are watching via their cable box at home.
Another area you could be interested in is the quality of the stream. Showmax says that they stream in HD, which is fine in my case but I wished it was full HD. However, the stream’s quality dynamically changes with your Internet connection so it might get worse with bad Wi-Fi. I have 10Mbps connection at home and it works very well with Showmax Pro.
What I wish Showmax adds to Showmax Pro for this region
Showmax Pro has plenty of live sports on cue, but I wish they could add these sports in question. This includes Formula 1, Basketball and eSports for the Kenyan market.
As mentioned before, two of the sports mentioned above are currently broadcasted live on the South African market only. Showmax says this based on rights limitations from sporting bodies and events. I’m not sure about Formula 1 because it wasn’t explicitly mentioned as being available in the SA market.
The reason I chose F1, Basketball and eSports is because they are very popular too. Kenyans follow Formula 1 and Basketball games through their official streaming sites or through illegal means. eSports are getting popular and most people watch such content on platforms like Twitch.
Showmax Pro is pricier than the regular Showmax. The company charges Kshs 2,100 for it and Kshs 1050 for the Showmax Pro Mobile version.
For this price, you get the benefits of the regular Showmax content (movies, TV show and documentaries) with the addition of live content. That is a pretty good deal in my books and I have enjoyed using this for the past one month. The Premier League is about to resume for the new season this weekend and I won’t miss a match thanks to it.
Kshs 2,100 may sound expensive but it is actually cheaper when you compare it with its sibling, DStv. You will need at least Kshs 2600 for DStv Compact to enjoy football and Kshs 4.600 for the entire sports package. In reality, Showmax Pro ends up being priced quite competitively against its sibling whilst not having the same issues as weather interference.
Who is Showmax Pro really for?
That is the big question here. I can see it in a number of ways.
Showmax Pro is a very compelling product for a person like me who doesn’t use DStv but has a WiFi connection. Multichoice has the potential to access a bigger market with this move and targets the half a million or so people with fixed internet in Kenya.
It could also appeal to people who would want to watch their favourite live sporting events on the go on their phone. This is where Showmax Pro Mobile might be very appealing to some people. This could apply to completely new users or existing DStv users.
For current Showmax users with an active subscription, there is good news for you if you are hesitating to subscribe. Showmax will preserve your current subscription as a virtual voucher then immidiately get access to Pro. When your Pro subscription is over, the voucher from the previous subscription can be applied. This is pretty great since you end up not losing your previous days after subscribing to Showmax Pro.
Consequently, we are in a trying year in 2020. Thanks to the pandemic, COVID-19 has had a serious impact on live sports. Some events have been cancelled or postponed and this affects broadcasting. However, they started slowly coming back as of July as life continues to go back to normalcy.
If you are interested in signing up for Showmax Pro, head over here to start livestreaming from your phone or other device.