If you like to Netflix and chill, you might want to try Manbang and chill. Only if you happen to be in North Korea that is. The reclusive country unveiled a new on-demand streaming service called “Manbang“.
Actually in Korean the word “Manbang” means “everything”. Of course, in English it may lead some to consider other meanings.
Manbang is a service of KCTV or Korean Central Television, the state-run Korean TV. The way it will work is that users will using a device like a Roku set-top box to connect through a state-controlled intranet to a collection of viewing options.
Certainly, “options” may be a strong word as the content will be mostly propaganda, focusing on North Korea’s history and government. It will also offer language courses in English and Russian.
KCTV announced in a report on the new service that Manbang will show North Korea’s “socialist cultural power” as its people will be able to watch their country “make a leap forward every day, every hour.”
In the report, a North Korean kindergarten teacher And Kim Kum-hee, is excited that Manbang will also help children watch their favorite programs, saying:
“Kids really love [Manbang]. They just used to read books from school but now they can look at the screen and understand what these animals and plants look like. I can see that their concentration levels have improved.”
Here’s that KCTV report, in case you want to hear it from the source:
Of course, it bears noticing that North Korea doesn’t make Internet available for everyone, mainly just to government officials and some select people, who are always closely monitored.
Most people in North Korea have access to a walled-off intranet called Kwangmyong. That small network has just a few thousand government-controlled websites.
Netflix actually acknowledged this new player in the streaming market by adding “Manbang knockoff” to its Twitter profile.