You’ve already met black, now say hello to the blackBOX

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You’ve heard of black (the lower-case letter is intentional) and here’s its faithful companion, the blackBOX. black, the Cell C-backed streaming service, also has its own hardware – you know, in case you’re like most of South Africa and don’t quite have a properly smart TV.

The blackBOX is a multimedia box that gives regular old TVs a set of smarts but it’s going to be more than just a way to click on an episode of something and start streaming — though with the included remote control that’s certainly also an option.

blackBOX is also going to consist of something that Cell C calls WatchApps. Catchy name… someone should tell Facebook. And WatchApps are going to revolve around interacting with whatever you’re watching. The examples the company has given including accessing league data while watching sports or looking for lyrics while listening to music but there are other avenues being explored as well.

Avenues like interacting with shows via social media. Twitter and Facebook are already baked in to the blackBOX and, by the sound of things, will be usable while you’re watching a movie or show. Other functions will be added over the next few months, including a commerce option which will allow users to buy items from specific online stores while watching. And then there’s this, according to Cell C’s Surie Ramasary: ”

What is really exciting, specifically for advertisers, is the Ads WatchApp, which allows customers to interact with advertising, like buying a pizza from their favourite delivery service or ordering merchandise of their favourite teams.”

Being able to order an item as you see it being advertised is certainly an advertiser’s dream, though it could be ruinous to a person with poor impulse control’s wallet. Nonetheless, that’s what Cell C wants to include in the blackBOX — making it more than just a streaming media playback device.

The blackBOX will set buyers back R1,500 at Cell C stores.

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