Our own Netflix? – Local streaming service VIDI launches

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There has been a lot said in South Africa about the legalities of a service like Netflix, which offers on-demand video and series but strictly speaking isn’t available in this country. If you’re the sort to worry about taking the wholly legal route to getting your content or the technicalities of Netflix access in SA are a bit beyond you then the launch of VIDI, which took place today at the Saxon Hotel in Johanesburg, could be just what you’re looking for.

Home Stream

The creation of the Times Media Group, VIDI is set to be the South African Netflix. By that we mean that you’ll pay a monthly subscription for unlimited access to streamed video content, which is hosted in data centres in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town, which includes several big name series as well as movies. Let the binge-watching commence – provided you pay your R149 per month, that is.

The service will be available on computers, tablets and other mobile devices that have an internet connection, either through a web browser or app. That does mean that you may have issues displaying the video content on your big screen at first but VIDI is supposed to be working on that. An Android-powered media center seems to be the easy answer for users at the moment though.

Vidi WebsiteVIDI also has a rental aspect which, from what we can see, mostly comprises more recent theatrical movie releases that have just dropped off the cinema circuit. The maximum price seen for a movie so far is R27 per film, while older rentals will cost around R15 a pop. We’d imagine that video stores may just get slightly worried about this.

Watch All The Things

The service is available now, with 21 TV series (totalling 1325 episodes or, as well like to call it, a lazy weekend) and 100 movies available on the subscription side that is covered by the monthly fee. A further 72 films are also available to rent, at varying prices but mostly at the R27 mark.

While limited to start with, what with the ‘mere’ 1,000 hours or so of video available, VIDI have told us that content will be added monthly to the tune of about 200 hours of video stuff.

We Require More Minerals

As for requirements, we were told that each movie or episode have been converted to 14 different formats, to suit varying bandwidth conditions. A 1MB internet line is recommended for SD content while anything above a 4MB internet line should be able to handle HD video. We asked about possible 4K video support but that, sadly, is not on the cards just yet.

Up to 5 devices can be linked to a single account, with two devices streaming at once being the maximum possible number of users. That’s enough to keep the peace at home while still keeping content providers happy with the number of subscribers, we guess.

You can get your hands on the VIDI Player for Android right now, with an iOS version in the approvals process and other platforms, including possibly a PlayStation or Xbox app, to follow as the service grows. There’s a 30-day trial available if you’d like to try it out or, if you’d rather wait for Stuff‘s opinion, keep your eyes peeled for our review of the service as it stands soon.

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