Opinion

Showmax needs to upgrade quality from 720p to 4K/HDR

Showmax is an interesting platform. It’s both a video-on-demand and a live-streaming platform in one. So not only can you watch tv shows and movies, you can also watch live tv, and with Showmax Pro watch live sports events including the premier league.

As someone who pays for Showmax Pro I am happy with the content library, and with the Sports Streaming. However, there are two things I’ve constantly had an issue with with the platform. These are:

  • User Interface
  • Streaming quality

The user interface has since mostly been fixed. On Android TV, the new interface is good. The interface on Samsung and Hisense TVs also look good. On the iPad the interface now takes advantage of the big screen in a very nice way.

Showmax streaming quality however remains an issue. The maximum streaming quality is still capped at 720p – and according to their FAQ page, this is regardless of whether you’re using a phone, a tablet or a TV.

The company says 720p was chosen as it’s the “best realisable resolution based on common connection speeds”. Which is all good, but why not offer other options for people with faster connections? Almost all connections in Kenya right now can comfortably play 1080p streams.

Remember 720p no longer even qualifies as HD. Nowadays, for something to be HD it needs to be at least 1080p.

If you use Showmax on your TV you must always be wondering why certain shows don’t look as good as you’d expect. Well, this is the reason. Imagine a 50 to 65-inch 4K TV and all you’re getting is 720p while paying up to KES 2100 a month! Why?

Remember Showmax is the best way to access HBO shows in this region. And almost all those shows are available in 4K or HDR.

Their impressive library includes so many collections. But you’ll find it annoying when a scene appears to be too dark because of lack of HDR. Or if something isn’t as amazing as you see it say on a YouTube trailer, because of the 720p limit.

Showmax doesn’t even mention High Dynamic Range (HDR) on their FAQs page. Which is weird as that’s something TVs costing as little as KES 30,000 right now have, allowing you to view content in a spectacular manner.

All other streaming competitors – Netflix, Prime Video etc. – offer their shows in up to 4K quality. They also offer options like HDR10+ and Dolby Vision depending on the shows, allowing you to immerse yourself in whatever you’re consuming. In contrast, Showmax feels bland and poor in quality every time I’m watching a show. This needs to change.

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Dickson Otieno

I love reading emails when bored. I am joking. But do send them to editor@tech-ish.com.

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