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There's Now a Netflix-Like Streaming Service in North Korea

North Korea is currently among a handful of countries and territories in the world, including Crimea, Syria and China, where Netflix is not available. However, the reclusive East Asian country has now remedied that shortcoming – well...sort of – by launching a Netflix-like streaming service of its own.

The service, called Manbang in Korean, offers on-demand videos to televisions via a set-top box, reports The New York Times. Manbang, which really is the name, provides a "diverse" repertoire of entertainment options for local Koreans, ranging from news reports to daily updates about Chairman Kim Jong-un's heroic escapades. For the more linguistically inclined, the service also features language courses in English and Russian, according to a recent report by Korean Central Television.

The report also elucidates how the service will enrich the lives of local citizens, saying that the device is further proof of the country’s “socialist cultural power,” enabling its people to witness their nation “[making] a leap forward every day, every hour.”

“[Manbang] is elevating the people’s cultural life a step up by allowing them to watch what they want any time they want,” Ju Dae-hyun, a telecommunications official from Sinuiju, a town near the Chinese border, shared in the report, without a hint of irony.

It’s unclear how much Manbang relies on an internet connection to function, as internet access in the impoverished state is heavily restricted, and only available to a limited few of the 25 million citizens, according to the Times. Even if one is lucky enough to have a web connection, they can only watch state-run television and propaganda movies.

Recently, the US-based Netflix reacted to the launch of Manbang by changing its Twitter bio text to “Manbang knockoff.”

Netflix's response to the release of Manbang. Photo via The Verge.

[Top photo via NBC News]


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