Loadshedding has once again reared its ugly head and South Africans are forced to go without electricity for hours at a time.

With the inclement weather that means you’ll likely be stuck indoors when the power goes out and that means a lot of downtime either doing nothing or shopping for generators.

Thankfully this is 2019 and many of us have smartphones with a data connection but with data prices being as high as they are streaming The Irishman will likely warrant you applying for credit to pay for data.

The alternative to streaming is downloading and many streaming services offer a download option for those who can’t afford the data needed to stream.


Netflix offers a select number of films and TV series up for download and you’ll have to head to the Downloads section of the app to see exactly what is available.

In order to download content from Netflix you will need an active subscription and a device that meets the following criteria:

  • An iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 9.0 or later, or
  • A phone or tablet running Android 4.4.2 or later, or
  • An Amazon Fire tablet running Fire OS 4.0 or later, or
  • A tablet or computer running Windows 10 Version 1607 (Anniversary Update) or later, and
  • The latest version of the Netflix Apple iOS, Netflix Android, Amazon Fire, or Netflix Windows 10 app

Note, downloads are not available for browsers and are exclusive to the Netflix app.

Users are able to download up to 100 titles at a time. Something we should also point out is that while you can download content on multiple devices, the amount of devices is limited to your Netflix plan. That means that if your plan only allows for viewing on two screens simultaneously, only two devices at a time can be used for downloads.

Users will be alerted when downloaded content is about to expire seven days before it does. Netflix explains the nuances of downloaded content here if you need more clarity on this matter.


As a company born here in South Africa it makes sense that Showmax also offers a download option for content.

As with Netflix you will need an active subscription to download content from Showmax. Sadly, downloads are limited to iOS and Android devices.

The good news is that content remains on your device for 30 days but once you hit play you’ll have 48 hours to watch the content. The number of downloads is limited to 25 per account across all devices so if you’re sharing your account it’s best to co-ordinate your downloads.

If you need more information about downloads on Showmax head to the official FAQ section.

Amazon Prime Video

Having recently restarted our Amazon Prime Video subscription we’ve actually been rather impressed with the content available through the platform.

Aside from Amazon Originals there is a bevy of licensed content including cult classics like The Office.

As with Netflix and Showmax, users are able to download content from Amazon Prime video to watch offline. The trouble is that Amazon is rather coy about the nuances of this service including how long downloads are valid for.

From our own anecdotal experience we’ve seen downloads available for two weeks before they expire.

In order to download content you will need an active Amazon Prime Video subscription. You will also need an iOS or Android device with the latest app in order to make use of the feature.

DStv Now

For DStv subscribers, the service offers downloads for those who want to keep up with their favourite shows and movies even when the lights go out.

You will of course need an active DStv subscription as well as an Android or iOS device.

The content available to download is limited to the DStv Catch Up category and users are only able to download 25 titles to their device.

As with Showmax, items will expire 48 hours after you hit play and each piece of content carries a different expiry date so be sure to check when that is before downloading.

YouTube Premium

With the release of YouTube Premium, free downloads for all content disappeared which is rather disappointing.

In order to download videos to watch offline you will need a YouTube Premium subscription. The upside of this is for the price of a YouTube Premium subscription you also get YouTube Music for free. YouTube Music also allows for downloads for offline listening.

To download content from YouTube Premium simply browse to the video you want to watch and hit Download. Downloads will remain on your device so long as you go online at least once every 30 days.

Something to take note of is that creators may choose to limit whether their content can be downloaded and downloads can disappear when you go online after downloading content.

Rent movies from Google Play and Apple TV

Our final solution for entertainment when the lights go out is simply to rent a movie.

Google Play for Android and Apple TV for Apple devices lets you rent or buy movies to download and watch. You can of course stream rentals instead of downloading but you may use more data than you anticipate doing it that way.

You will of course need the associated apps and credit to purchase the content but once you have that, the latest movies are a tap away.

With all of these options you should be sorted for content when the lights go out or when you’re on the road to a holiday destination this festive season.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]