Ok let’s get a few things out of the way. To save you some questionable Google searches, Manbang means ‘everywhere’ or ‘every direction’ in Korean and if you need more information see this site first. Plus, despite the eyebrow-raising name and all the “Manbang and Chill” memes already flooding the internet, the thing I found to be truly entertaining is Netflix actually updating their Twitter Bio to “Manbang Knockoff.” Their sense of humor is warranted since Manbang is not poised to be a real competitor and no one will be watching the latest episodes of House of Cards on the highly controlled and limited service.
Propaganda is served up daily in North Korea, and Manbang will be there to continue that trend. Despite allowing users to search for program titles like you would on Netflix, Manbang is not a true VOD service, instead relying on IPTV technology. The biggest difference being that while VOD allows users to watch an episode or a movie whenever they want, IPTV merely provides conventional over-the-air content to be watched over the internet. Residents of North Korea will be able to choose from five TV channels including: KCTV, Mansudae Television, and Ryongnamsan TV. There are also channels with updates on whatever wacky shenanigans Kim Jong is up to, and information about the Juche ideology. The service also allows access to articles from the newspaper Rodong Sinmun, and the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
I know what you’re thinking: to hell with Stranger Things, how can I get this in my living-room right now? Well sadly Manbang will only be available in Pyongyang, Sinuiju, North Phyongan Province, Sariwon, and North Hwanghae Province. The service will expand to Canada later this year. Kidding! Of course it won’t, nothing ever comes to Canada (except Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Netflix- *shakes fist*).