[/blockquote]Just when we thought Netflix’s launch in Africa would only be a South African affair only, the long waited potential DSTV competitor, and movie streaming service– Netflix in now available in Uganda as well. No more “Not Available in Your country”, disappointing messages when you try to log into the streaming based service. Netflix in Uganda particularly, marks a new era of online streaming that will probably see unlimited internet bundles and plans being introduced by more Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in order for the streaming service to cop-up with the potential demand in the future.
Netflix has gone live in nearly every country in the world. The firm announced it had switched on its service in 130 additional countries. It said it was still trying to expand to China. The other exceptions are North Korea, Syria and Crimea, where it is banned from operating by US law. The announcement was made by the firm’s chief executive Reed Hastings at his keynote speech at the CES tech show in Las Vegas. The company however recommends that members with a streaming-only plan will be able to watch instantly through the Netflix service from the regions shown in the coverage footprint below. The movies and TV shows that are available to stream may vary by location, and will change from time to time.
Netflix coverage Map
You can access the service on the following platforms, the Netflix website, Android phone, iPhone, PlayStation or Xbox video game consoles. When you log into the service for the first time, you will start off with a one month free trail as long as you are willing to surrender your VISA or MasterCard details. Don’t worry, you will not be charged until after your free trial ends. Check out the pricing below after the trial period. Plans start off from $ 7.99 (UGX 27,080) per month. Those interested in the service can also opt for the either the $9.99 (UGX 33,900) or $ 11.99 (UGX 40,600) monthly subscriptions as each comes with more features like HD (720p and 1080p) and 4k video streaming, the ability to log into more than one screen and more. See details in table below. Netflix provides users the ability to choose their download rates quality of video on its website.
Netflix pricing and details
|Price after free month ends (USD)||$ 7.99||$ 9.99||$ 11.99|
|Price after free month ends (UGX)||UGX 27,080||UGX 33,900||UGX 40,600|
|Ultra HD (4k)||NO||NO||YES|
|Screens you can watch on at the same time||1||2||4|
|Watch on your laptop, TV, phone and tablet||YES||YES||YES|
|Unlimited movies and TV shows||YES||YES||YES|
|Cancel any time||YES||YES||YES|
|Recommended internet speeds||1.5- 3 Mbps||5 Mbps||25 Mbps|
New kind of content quality with HDR
The company also confirmed they would begin offering HDR (high dynamic range) content later this year. High dynamic range video allows compatible TVs to show millions more colours and a wider dynamic range – added shades of brightness in between black and white – letting more detail be shown.
Many experts believe the impact is greater than that of just jumping from 1080p to 4K ultra-high definition resolution alone. One consequence of using the format, however, is that it requires more data, and few TVs support it yet.
Netflix’s Content and censorship
One of the biggest barrier Netflix will face especially in Africa will be what kind of content they show. But there’s also a ton of stuff on Netflix that’s only licensed in various regions:you will find some shows aired in Africa will not be shown in the US, for example. And major series like House of Cards and Orange is The New Black may not be available in markets where Netflix doesn’t own the distribution rights. Netflix has big plans for original content in 2016. The company says it is going to create “31 new and returning original series, two dozen original feature films and documentaries, a wide range of stand-up comedy specials, and 30 original kids’ series.”
The censorship issue is one that’s easy to overlook until you look at Netflix’s collection of original content with a critical eye. Operating around the world means accommodating a huge range of cultural norms and sensitivities, and there could be pieces of Netflix shows that warrant viewer discretion in Uganda that other people in the USA take for granted. How will the sexual realism and diversity of a show like Orange Is the New Black change in a country that’s comparatively conservative? The company has no straight answer to the question yet, though Netflix is open to tweaking things as long as a show’s core isn’t compromised.
Should DSTV be worried?
So where does this leave Netflix’s immediate competitor in Africa–DSTV? Well, we believe there is no immediate threat to DSTV, as your Netflix experience will be as good as your ISP’s internet speeds and pricing in addition to the monthly subscription you have to dish out to Netflix. For example, at UGX 200,000 you can get an unlimited bundle from Vodafone capped at 6 Mbps with 51 GB. This means you will spend a minimum of UGX 227,080 per month on Netflix, assuming you don’t use the internet connection for other things. This is comparable to DSTV’s Compact Plus package that costs UGX 255,000. Check out DSTV’s pricing here. Unfortunately, based on Netflix’s streaming recommendations Google’s 1 Mbps WiFi service won’t cut it. Check out our full Hands On review with Netflix. In the mean time try out our mini poll below.