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Cost of data holding back adoption of internet TV

Posted by radio On August - 24 - 2016

In a recent consumer survey commissioned by ShowMax, the most common reason cited for not signing up to internet TV services is the cost of data. The amount of data needed to stream TV shows and movies can be one gigabyte (GB) per hour or more. To help manage this, ShowMax has introduced bandwidth capping functionality that can reduce data consumption by as much as 75%. ShowMax has also introduced a bandwidth calculator to help customers estimate how much data they need.

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“We knew anecdotally that people were worried about internet costs, but the results of the survey were stark. Forty percent of respondents said the main reason they don’t use internet TV services is the high cost of data. Twice as many people chose this over the next most common concern, which was not understanding how to set up internet TV,” said Barron Ernst, Chief Product Officer at ShowMax.

 

ShowMax has been actively addressing the data cost challenge, first by introducing the ability to download TV shows and movies to take advantage of Wi-Fi hotspots, and now by introducing user-selectable bandwidth capping on most of its apps. Subscribers can select either a low bandwidth cap of 0.3 GB/hr, a medium cap of 0.7 GB/hr, or leave usage uncapped.

 

Watching five hours per week, which is enough for 15 episodes of The Big Bang Theory or 7 episodes of Suits, the maximum amount of data used would be as follows:

 

 

Low bandwidth cap (0.3 GB/hr):   1.5 GB / week

Medium bandwidth cap (0.7 GB/hr):  3.5 GB / week

Uncapped (1.4 GB/hr):    7.1 GB / week

 

The low usage setting equates to a resolution of 360p, the medium equates to standard definition 480p, while uncapped can deliver up to 720p high definition. All ShowMax apps feature dynamic streaming with active monitoring of the connection speed and automatic adjustment of resolution to the make the most of the available bandwidth, up to the selected cap.

 

 

To help estimate data usage, ShowMax has created a bandwidth calculator. Simply choose the required quality level and the number of hours watched per week, and the calculator gives an estimate of weekly and monthly data usage. The calculator is accessible here: https://www.showmax.com/eng/go/bandwidth-calculator.

 

 

“We purposefully made bandwidth capping applicable at the individual app level rather than have a blanket setting for the account. This way, it’s possible to chose a lower usage cap for smaller screens – perhaps for the kids watching cartoons on a tablet – while still having the full HD experience on a big screen TV.

 

 

“The data cost challenge is greater in Africa than almost anywhere else and ShowMax has been at the forefront of tackling this, first with downloads and now with bandwidth capping. The key to success in Africa is tailoring your service to local needs,” concludes Ernst.

 

 

ShowMax apps are available for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, Apple TV (4th generation), and selected Samsung and LG smart TVs. ShowMax apps support both AirPlay and Chromecast. The service can also be viewed on laptop and desktop computers via web browser.

 

 

Bandwidth capping settings can be accessed either via the settings / app preferences menu on most apps, or by using the settings button on the play bar if connecting via a web browser.

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