Binge watching comes to North Korea thanks to Netflix clone

Fancy a documentary on the greatness of Eternal President Kim Il-sung or a documentary on the genius of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un?

Binge watching comes to North Korea thanks to Netflix clone

Picture by: Ahn Young-joon / AP/Press Association Images

"Manbang and chill" could soon become a thing in North Korea as the oppressed and isolated Asian nation gets its own – unfortunately named for English-speakers – Netflix clone.

The Manbang set-top box (it means "everywhere", so stop giggling) offers video-on-demand services similar in delivery to the likes of Netflix and Hulu and has now been unveiled by state broadcaster KCTV.

Local reports say that the state broadcaster has seen high-demand for the device, which connects to a state-controlled intranet and is currently available in Pyongyang, Sinŭiju and Sariwon.

It is likely that only a few thousand people will have access to the service, with North Korea consistently ranking as one of the least connected countries in the world.

Its range of programming isn't quite up there with its Western equivalents either, with just five TV networks including KCTV available.

It does, however, allow users to stream live TV and search for and replay content that includes news, documentaries and even English and Russian language learning content.

Kim Jong Min, head of North Korea's information and technology centre, told NK News:

"If a viewer wants to watch, for instance, an animal movie and sends a request to the equipment, it will show the relevant video to the viewer… this is two-way communications."

NK News has said that demand has been driven by children eager to rewatch programmes, quoting an orphanage teacher as saying:

"Children tended to pester to show new interesting videos again after their release, but we had difficulty in dealing with it. However, we are happy since we are now able to show films to them again, and children enjoy it."