Cool factor **** | Usability **** | Value for money ****
Econet Media calls itself Africa’s "newest pan-African broadcaster" and its first "truly converged" media company, boasting interests in digital, pay TV and free-to-air TV. One of its offerings is a new set-top box, Kwesé Play, which streams content, essentially turning your regular TV into a smart device for content.
Kwesé Play comes with the small Roku box, remote, power cable and an HDMI cable.
Setting up the device and connecting it to my home Wi-Fi was simple and quick, and the box footprint is minimal. The interface is a pleasure to navigate, and the remote works well.
The device prompts you to create a Kwesé account (and activate the device). From there, you’ll have access to 100 streaming options — including Bloomberg, YouTube, Red Bull TV, Al Jazeera, TED and ESPN — from which you choose your subscriptions. This is already quite a selection, but expect it to grow: Roku offers thousands of options internationally.
As with all streaming options, Kwesé is geared towards consumers who already have a decent ADSL or fibre connection at home. Android mobile users can also mirror their device screens on their TVs.
Along with the device launch, Econet announced an official partnership with Netflix that is aimed at expanding the reach of Netflix into Africa. Given this, one of Kwesé Play’s major differentiators is built-in Netflix capabilities, which are bundled into the price for the first three months of subscription (this offer is valid until January 31 2018).
And it’s a nice little price, too, for the Roku "decoder" — just R1,599, one off. After three months, or beyond the introductory offer, Netflix will cost Kwesé Play users a fixed (local currency) price of R129.99/month.
You can buy the device online through the Kwesé store or Takealot, or at local retailers such as Incredible Connection and Cellucity.