Cheaper than a cup of coffee: internet TV in SA costs less than you think

Picture credit: ShowMax
Picture credit: ShowMax

SPONSORED | Did you know that you can now get internet TV for less than the cost of a cup of coffee per day?

Internet TV means you can watch what you want, when you want, and say goodbye to ad breaks and week-long waits between episodes of your favourite shows.

It’s TV on demand, wherever you are. All you need is a subscription to an internet TV service provider like ShowMax and a device that can connect to the internet – a smartphone, tablet, laptop or smart TV.

Does that sound expensive? Let’s look at how little it actually costs.

1. How much does the subscription cost?

ShowMax costs R99 per month – that’s less than what you’ll pay for a trip to the movies. And considering a coffee from Vida costs

ShowMax costs R99 per month – that’s less than what you’ll pay for a trip to the movies. And considering a large cappuccino from Vida e Caffe costs R28 these days, you only have to skip four coffees a month to more than cover your ShowMax subscription!

– ShowMax – R99
– Two movie tickets – R130
– A McDonald's Sharebox Chicken with McNuggets – R145
– A Gautrain ticket from Sandton to OR Tambo – R151
– A DVD on iTunes – R169
– A cup of coffee every day before work (@ R10/cup) – R200
– A case of South African beer – R220
– A Game of Thrones DVD – R396

With a monthly subscription, you get access to more than 25,000 episodes, movies and kids’ shows including local gems like Isibaya and Dineo’s Diary, and hit shows from Hollywood and the UK, including Game Of Thrones (all seasons), Big Bang Theory, True Blood (all seasons), Downton Abbey (all seasons), Luther, Girls, The Good Wife, Devious Maids and more.

Plus, set up kids’ profiles on different devices so you can binge on grown-up shows like The Affair and Ballers on the laptop while the kids watch My Little Pony on the tablet. Browse all series and movies here.

2. Data costs

Because you need to connect to the internet to access internet TV, you’ll need to pay for data. But there are ways to make sure you don’t spend too much on data.

ShowMax offers two options: watch online (called “streaming”) or save (“download”) a show or movie to watch offline.

Streaming means you’re using data while you watch. Stream all the shows and movies you like with ShowMax, but watching two hours a day will use at least 3GB a week. Considering that the lowest possible price you’ll pay for 1GB of data these days is about R60, the cost can add up quickly.

Cut the data cost of streaming from ShowMax by adjusting your quality settings. The better your quality setting, the more data you’ll use. ShowMax has a bandwidth-capping function that reduces data costs by letting you select a lower level of streaming video quality. Check the calculator to figure out how much you need.

Shopping around for the internet service provider that offers the best value will also help you save on data. For example, Telkom’s Entertainment Bolt-On for R99 per month gives ADSL and fibre customers 100GB of data every month (that’s more than two hours a day of high-quality streaming, or 11 hours a day of low-quality streaming) to use with entertainment services like ShowMax. Another example is Afrihost’s internet packages that start from R29 a month and include a Free Time special that gives you free internet to stream or download between midnight and six in the afternoon – that’s 18 hours of viewing a day!  

Downloading instead of streaming will save you a lot on data when you use the ShowMax app for Android and Apple smartphones and tablets. It lets you download up to 25 series or movies at a time and keep them for up to 30 days. You can then watch them offline, meaning you won’t use any data.

But you’ll need data to do the actual downloading. Always try to download while you’re in a Wi-Fi zone (shopping malls with free Wi-Fi/the airport/your rich aunt’s house) where you won’t use your own data to download, so it won’t cost you anything. This way, all you’ll pay is the R99 subscription fee per month – your data costs will be pretty much zero.

If you do use your own data to download from ShowMax to watch offline, though, the costs are pretty similar to streaming. You’ll use between 100MB and 500MB, depending on the quality, to download a 30-minute show.

Don’t just take it from us – let Tol Ass Mo tell you how to keep your internet costs down.


So, you see, all it will cost you to get internet TV is R99 per month plus your data costs, which are easy to keep tabs on and reduce when you need to.

Still not sure?

Go to to sign up for a 14-day free trial and try it out for yourself.

This article was paid for by ShowMax.