This year’s world cup is a bit unusual. For starters, it is taking place later than usual. Past competitions have been played between June and July but the searing heat in the host country Qutar made that an impossible feat, so the competition is only starting on November 20 2022. The second unusual thing is that for the first time ever all matches will be streamed live and in 4K in Africa too courtesy of ShowMax the streaming arm of MultiChoice the owners of DSTV
Yolisa Phahle, CEO of Connected Video at MultiChoice, announced in a press release that the company had “created the lowest data streaming option on the continent,” allowing African football fans to download matches for offline viewing in 4k at up to 50 frames per second (fps).
For those viewers who may not want to view in 4K and want to save money and their data bundles, there is some good news. Unlike foreign-centric apps like Netflix, Disney+ and HBO you can actually manually select your desired streaming quality when you are using ShowMax. If you are feeling brave and want to strike a balance between quality and cost you can go for HD (1080p) instead of 4K, You can also select lower resolutions like 720p,480p and even 360p. Streaming at 4K resolution gobble an astounding 8.1 GB of data every game due to the bandwidth-intensive bitrate.
Will Zimbabwean ISPs cope?
Probably not. These days all mobile network operations, which also double as the biggest internet service providers in Zimbabwe have struggled to provide decent internet speeds during the day. You can barely open Google let alone go on YouTube so streaming in 4K will just be a pipe dream for now. Even fibre connections are often heavily shaped and shared by ISPs it will be interesting to see what the experience for most people will be like.
To its credit, ShowMax works as advertised as long as you are using a decent internet connection like Liquid Home and streaming in 1080p. Matches are often a couple of seconds behind their satellite which can be awkward if you have neighbours on satellite watching the same match. There is nothing infuriating as having to wait 10 more seconds to know who has scored after overhearing loud cheers or groans.
NB ShowMax Pro goes for $17.99 per month.