Whether you agree or not, Netflix is currently dominating the streaming race. It (arguably) has the best content, original or otherwise, available to South Africans right now. Streaming services are popping up like flies in the South African summer. But here we don’t have access to half of ‘em.
Which leaves us with Netflix — an easy-to-access platform that costs a fraction of what local broadcast television costs. To sign up, you only need an email address and a debit/credit card.
Easy, right? The only thing missing now is enough data to stream as much as you’d like to. How else are you gonna get through three seasons of Stranger Things in a day?
Here is where most run into problems. Expensive problems… Data costs in South Africa are yet to fall. ADSL connections have fallen… off the grid. And getting a fibre line isn’t a cheap venture. What if we told you there is another, far less expensive option.
Let it Rain
Enter Rain — one of SA’s newer entries in the mobile network market. Rain has some of the cheapest data prices around — going for R50 a gigabyte. If you consider a gig costs R100 from Vodacom, R100 from Telkom and a whopping R150 from MTN… that’s not a bad deal.
It also has a special rate for unlimited (uncapped) data during off-peak hours — R250 a month. Which is nothing if you consider that you can download as many gigs as you’d like. And stream for as many gigs as you’d like.
The other bonus is that off-peak hours are from 11 pm to 6 pm — that is 19 hours a day, in which you can do with those gigs just what you’d like. For a base fee of R250 per month.
But, I have a life
This is where the sneaky hack comes in… Using a smartphone, tablet or Windows laptop, you can download all the content you want to have ready to watch that evening. Netflix allows users to download movies and series directly to their devices to watch later, when they’re not connected.
The only catch here is that downloaded content will expire, and Netflix allocates an expiration date to each download. This depends on the show, but most series and movies will last for two to seven days on your device. So, you’ll have plenty of time to download more.
Want to watch your newly acquired shows on a TV? Connect your laptop to your TV using an HDMI cable. Another great investment is a Chromecast device (R650), which will allow you to cast anything from your phone to the TV. But both devices will need to be on the same network and have an active internet connection so…
Get started for R1
Takealot and Rain just announced a partnership, which means that you can pretty much get connected now for just R1. You can order a 4G Rain SIM from Takealot for R1, have it delivered (you’ll need some docs for RICA), and get connected to the internet (keep in mind that Takealot will charge R150 for delivery). The account also works on a pay-as-you-use structure, so no other upfront fees are payable.
So, you’ve got a SIM — pop it into your smartphone and sign up for a Netflix account. We recommend the base account if you’re not after 4K content. The base plan currently costs R99 a month — this gives you the ability to connect two devices to the account and stream all the content available. Also — you’ll get the first month free — yeah!
And voila! You’ve got access to unlimited Netflix and chill, for a mere R350 a month. Yes, there are a few extra steps to ensure maximum chill at the end of the day. But if you consider that fixed fibre costs R800 (on average, depending on speed), the hassle is totally worth it.