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By 16 November 2015 | Categories: sponsored content

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Whether it's on your morning commute to work, watching YouTube on your computer during lunch, or sitting on the couch watching TV in the evening, you have probably heard or seen one of ShowMax's ads. The new streaming service has been picking up pace and growing in popularity ever since its debut in August, with its binge-watching potential being the major selling point.

While having a smorgasbord of content at your fingertips is indeed tempting (at a decent R99 per month), there are a few hard decisions to make. One of the more important is the type of internet service provider (ISP) you opt for, especially as data still commands a pretty penny here in South Africa. The other consideration, along with data costs, is how the plan is structured, and how it fits into the type of ShowMax content you'll be watching. ShowMax estimates that 750 MB to 1 GB of data is used per hour while streaming at 720p. To that end, we've taken a look at the local ISPs top offerings to decide which is best for you. 

Careful consideration

While the ability to stream is the more popular way in which users enjoy their content these days, a few things must be taken into account. Chief among these is being well aware of what your limits are, both in terms of data and money. ShowMax says the best speed to view its content with a low risk of buffering or lag is anything over the 4 Mbps option. As such, anything in the 6 Mbps to 8 Mbps range is perfect when streaming on multiple devices. The next is the size of the files, which can be as small as 250 MB and as large as 2 GB depending on what you go for. Consequently, we'd advise going for anything reaching the 15 GB or higher mark, especially if you're using ShowMax regularly.

Hopefully then, with these aforementioned factors, you can find the right ISP package to enjoy ShowMax as you wish.   

The occasional watcher

If you're going to be watching movies on ShowMax once or twice a week, then Telkom Mobile's 10 GB SoftCap data plan is going to suit you down to the ground. A movie on ShowMax usually totals 1.5 GB to 2 GB, provided you're watching on 720p viewing quality. What makes this plan even more alluring, is the added 10 GB of data per month you'll receive if you sign up before March 2016. At R99 per month, it seems like a bit of a steal, especially as this data plan features no contract, and is structured month-to-month. Furthermore, should you reach your 10 GB cap before the month is up, you can always top it up. 

Also worth considering is Cell C's Smartdata 10 GB plan. This plan serves up a portable Huawei mini Wi-Fi router which supports 3G and pairs up with multiple devices. Cell C is packaging this deal in either a 12 or 24 month contract for R449 per month. That price is a little steep, but the service provider is also throwing in an additional 10 GB of Nite Data should you wish to stream during the midnight hours.   

The would-be movie critic

Need to watch every film that comes out and weigh in with your unsolicited opinion? That's probably going to mean that your monthly data bill will exceed the R800 mark if streaming all that content. As such, we suggest Vodacom's 20GB + 20 GB 24 Month Contract with Top Up. This plan might lock you in for two years, but you get a total of 40 GB worth of data to use throughout the day and night. By our calculations, that gives you almost 20 movies to enjoy a month. It costs R999 per month, but this is the kind of package for users who have an insatiable appetite for films, as well as deep pockets.   

If you're going to use your ADSL line purely for data, a package worth looking at might be MWeb's 50 GB Capped ADSL DataOnly offering. As the name suggests, this package is designed for downloading and streaming in mind, and gives users 50 GB worth of data to stretch into night-time use as well. This may be a capped line, but 50 GB should prove more than enough for streaming between 20 to 25 movies a month. It also costs R199 per month, but be advised that initial setup will total R700 or more depending on device and line requirements.   

The series fiend

Can't wait week to week to see how a series unfolds and need everything at once? Then you, my friend, are probably a binge watcher. This makes you a prime candidate for ShowMax, with a number of award-winning series like Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire and Shameless in its library. This also means that you'll be downloading vast quantities of content, making a fast line essential. In that case, the Uncapped 8Mbps+Line package from Vox Telecom is a solid option. With an episode from any given series being 250 MB to 1 GB in size, an uncapped line makes the most sense, and at R629 per month, Vox Telecom's high speed offering also means web browsing and other broadband heavy activities will go down a treat.   

Another package that ticks the right boxes in the speed category is Afrihost's Uncapped DSL bundles, and more specifically the 8 Mbps option. This uncapped line is recommended by the service provider for those users heavily entrenched in their gaming and media streaming, with the latter making it good match for ShowMax. This package also comes in at the relatively solid price of R697 per month.  

The multi-devicer 

For those who are no longer living the bachelor lifestyle, and have a family to take care of, chances are more than one mobile device can be found in the home. This will therefore require an ISP package that's robust, high speed and good value for money. On ShowMax's side, the streaming service allows you to stream on two devices simultaneously. When it comes to ISPs, we think MWeb's 10Mbps Uncapped ADSL (data only) package looks top notch. The speed ensures that multiple devices can be streaming at once with low risk of lag or buffering, and also comes in at the very reasonable price of R539 per month. 

If the sound of a 10 Mbps Uncapped line appeals to you, Telkom Mobile also has a very similar offering simply named 10 Mbps Uncapped. Much like the MWeb alternative listed above, this package is great for those streaming content to multiple devices within the home. Added to this, Telkom has slapped a R574 month to month price on it, but be advised that it does not include line rental, as well as voice and fax costs, which could see the price jump significantly. 

Check out all the options of content available from ShowMax to satisfy your binge-watching craving here.

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