Which One Should You Pick, Netflix or Showmax?

Netflix has long been the go-to for anyone looking to cosplay as a couch potato. But now there’s a new kid on the block that’s looking to steal the remote from the streaming giant: Showmax. So, which one to choose?

From action-packed blockbusters to thought-provoking originals, both Netflix and Showmax have plenty to offer viewers. We’re breaking down what you’ll get when signing up with each of these platforms — plus how CyberGhost VPN can help you to make the most of your streaming subscriptions.

How to Stream with CyberGhost VPN

If you’re traveling abroad, you may discover that some streaming services show different shows and movies in different countries. You can use CyberGhost VPN to maintain access to the same content you watch at home. Here’s how:

  1. Become a Ghostie. It’s fast and easy!
  2. Connect to a server in a location where your streaming platform is available.
  3. Grab the popcorn and press play on your favorite show or movie.

Netflix vs Showmax At a Glance

Cheapest plan

Netflix Mobile:

    • R49/month ($2.60 USD) in SA
    • Ksh200/month ($1.49 USD) in KE
    • ₦1,200/month ($0.75 USD) in NG
    • varies by country

Showmax Entertainment Mobile:

    • R39/month ($2.10 USD) in SA
    • KSh300/month ($2.25 USD) in KE
    • ₦1,200/month ($0.75 USD) in NG
    • varies by country
Supported devices
    • Android TV
    • Amazon Fire TV
    • Apple TV
    • Google Chromecast
    • Roku
    • Smart TVs
    • PlayStation 3, 4, & 5
    • Xbox 360, One & Series X|S
    • Android
    • iOS
    • Windows
    • Android TV
    • Apple TV
    • Google Chromecast
    • Roku
    • Smart TVs
    • Playstation 4
    • Xbox One, Series X|S
    • Android
    • iOS
Personalized profilesUp to 5Up to 6
Simultaneous screensYes, up to 4 screensYes, up to 2 screens
Downloads for offline viewing?Yes, up to 100 active titlesYes, up to 25 complete downloads
Ad-supported plan available?Yes, available in the US, UK, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, and SpainNo
Highest resolution4K / UHD1080p
Free trialNo14 days
Add onsYesYes
Parental controlsDedicated kids’ profile, maturity rating restrictions, content blocks, profile lockDedicated kids’ profile, maturity rating restrictions, content blocks, profile lock

Netflix vs Showmax — Which Has Better Content?

Netflix offers the most titles in South Africa. Viewers there can choose from 5,000+ series and movies, while those in Nigeria and Kenya have access to 1,500+ titles. Zambian streamers have access to fewer than 1,000 titles.

The Showmax library is a little smaller with 2,000+ titles, but these are all available in all of the countries where the platform is available. Netflix South Africa has more than double the amount of content you’d find on Showmax. In contrast, Showmax offers more content in Nigeria, Kenya, and Zambia.

There are more than 3,500 Netflix Originals (think Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black, The Crown, and Squid Game) streaming on the platform across the globe. Plus, Netflix often gets the rights to stream shows from the BBC, NBC, HBO, ITV, and other traditional TV heavy hitters.

Showmax does give Netflix a pretty decent run for its money when it comes to titles on offer, though. Many of the big names in TV don’t have a presence in Africa, and Showmax is often able to snap up exclusive regional rights to the latest hit shows from international networks like HBO, Universal, Warner Brothers, Paramount+, and others.

Showmax also has a healthy collection of original content available in English, Afrikaans, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Kiswahili, and a variety of other African languages. You’ll find that Showmax outshines Netflix with its live sports offering, if you happen to be a fan of British soccer. Showmax Premier League gives you access to live matches, match highlights, fan content, talk shows, and interviews.

Netflix vs Showmax: Plans and Pricing

Both Netflix and Showmax have a variety of plans that are priced to suit every budget and lifestyle. Each of Netflix’s plans gives you access to the full library on offer in the country where you sign up (a small number of titles are unavailable on the ad-supported plan). You’ll also get access to more than 50 exclusive mobile games with your subscription.

Showmax offers its full library on either a standard or mobile pricing tier. It also offers a separate plan with English Premier League content.

Mobile-only Plans

Netflix’s Mobile package is available in some sub-Saharan countries, and it allows you to watch and download Netflix titles on one smartphone or tablet at a time. Showmax’s Entertainment Mobile package also allows you to watch on a single device at a time.

There isn’t a cheaper mobile version of the Showmax Premier League package, but you can bundle the Premier League package with the mobile package at a slight overall discount.

Prices for the Netflix and Showmax mobile-based plans vary by country, but the Showmax mobile offering generally offers a bigger discount over its next-best plan than Netflix’s mobile offering does over its next-best plan.

💡 Most streaming services are limited to certain countries, which can mean missing out on shows you like when you travel abroad. The good news is you can use CyberGhost VPN to change your IP address back to your home country so that you can continue to enjoy all of your favorite shows and movies wherever you are.

Other Plans

Like the mobile package, Netflix Basic is available only in some countries in sub-Saharan Africa. It allows you to watch and download in HD (720p) on one supported device. This plan offers the best value of Netflix’s offerings, with pricing more or less on par with Showmax’s Entertainment package.

One tier up, the Netflix Standard plan lets you watch and download movies and series in Full HD (1080p) on up to two supported devices. Then there’s Netflix Premium, the most expensive of all the Netflix and Showmax plans. It allows you to watch Ultra HD, ad-free movies and series with spatial audio on up to four devices simultaneously. 

Things are a little simpler with Showmax. Showmax Entertainment is the standard package. Depending on your country, it will set you back around the same amount as a Basic or Standard Netflix subscription. It lets you stream and download shows and movies in full HD on up to two supported devices simultaneously.

You can get the Showmax Premier League live football package as a standalone service, or bundle it with the standard package at a slight discount.

Netflix vs Showmax: User Experience

Netflix has a far more intuitive user interface than Showmax. While the home screen on both platforms will show you the latest additions, trending titles, and top-rated content, Netflix also offers suggestions based on your past viewing. On top of that, its search functionality is a step ahead of Showmax.

The same goes for stream quality. Netflix allows you to stream some titles in UHD (with the option of spatial audio) if you have a Premium plan, but Showmax only offers Full HD (1080p). If you have a mobile-only Showmax package, your quality will be 720p.

Keep in mind that both services use adaptive streaming, which means that your stream quality will be adjusted based on your connection speed. 

The platforms’ parental controls are pretty evenly matched, too. Both allow you to create kids’ profiles and restrict users from viewing shows with certain ratings, plus they let you lock your profiles with a PIN. 

One added benefit with Netflix is that you can block entire titles, so you can prevent kids from watching certain movies or series even if they fall within the age range you set on the profile.

Netflix vs Showmax: Which Is Right for You?

Netflix will likely be better for you if you’re looking for a larger library of content and more original programming. You’ll also be able to stream on more screens simultaneously – great for larger households – and potentially in better quality, depending on your plan and connection speed.

Showmax is cheaper and gives you the option to watch live English Premier League football. You can also access a wide variety of African-made content.

Why You Need a VPN for Streaming

The Netflix library changes from country to country and Showmax’s is only available in Africa. That means you might lose access to your usual content on these platforms when you’re traveling abroad.

A VPN lets you stream all the content that you usually watch without running into error messages. All you need to do is connect to a VPN server in your home country.

You can also access these platforms when you’re on networks that restrict streaming (e.g. at work or school). By encrypting your data, a VPN allows you to bypass blocks so that you can stream without restrictions.

CyberGhost is the best VPN for streaming. We have servers in 100 countries, including streaming-optimized servers for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and other popular services.

Our global network of super fast VPN servers allows you to stream in the best quality available – even UHD. We have 10-Gbps servers in busy locations, so you never have to worry about overcrowded servers slowing you down.

We have easy-to-use apps for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Android TV, and other popular streaming devices. You can also configure CyberGhost VPN on your router, so you can stream with it on devices that don’t support VPNs.

If you’re having trouble choosing the best server for your needs, our customer service team is here to help 24/7. Try CyberGhost VPN with a 45-day money-back guarantee.

Can I Use a VPN to Watch Streaming Services from a Different Country?

Some VPN users connect to a server in a different country to watch Netflix or Showmax, but this is against our terms of service and is not acceptable.

CyberGhost is a privacy-forward no-logs VPN, meaning we can’t view your online activity and we never share your browsing data. While we don’t know what you’re doing online, you should always comply with your streaming provider’s terms of use, our terms of service, and any applicable law, including copyright.


Is Netflix losing market leader status to Showmax?

Netflix remains the world’s largest streaming service, but in the African market, it has been losing ground to Showmax over the past couple of years. That’s likely because Showmax is often cheaper (depending on the country) and offers more African-made originals.

What’s so special about Showmax?

Showmax has an excellent selection of original content that’s produced in Africa. It’s the only streaming platform where you can watch international blockbusters alongside African-made movies and series.

Does Showmax work like Netflix?

Showmax has a similar look and feel to Netflix, and works in pretty much the same way. It has different subscription tiers to accommodate different user requirements, recommendations based on your previous activity, and many other features you also find on Netflix.

Is Showmax available in the US?

No, Showmax isn’t available in the US. If you’re already a subscriber and you’re traveling abroad, you can use CyberGhost VPN to access the platform from anywhere. Connect to a server in your home country and you’re good to go.

Does Showmax work without internet?

Showmax will work offline if you download the shows and movies you want to watch beforehand. You can download up to 25 titles to watch on the devices that are associated with your account.

Does Showmax show the Premier League?

You can add the Premier League subscription to your Showmax plan to stream the entire English Premier League season live. You can also watch match highlights and related talk shows, as well as fan content, interviews, and more.

What’s the difference between Showmax and Showmax Pro?

Showmax Pro was the sports streaming service for Showmax that was offered until 30 October 2023. Unfortunately, it’s no longer available.

Which streaming service is closest to Netflix?

The streaming service most like Netflix is Amazon Prime Video, with an impressive library of 25,000+ titles and availability in many countries. Hulu is a great US-based option if you’re looking for a mix of original content, familiar favorites, and live TV.

Why do you need a VPN for streaming?

A VPN lets you change your virtual location. This is super-useful when you’re traveling abroad because it allows you to access your favorite content just like you would at home, without running into any error messages. It also encrypts your internet traffic, so you can stream safely wherever you are – even on those notoriously risky public Wi-Fi networks.

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