Screengrab via KOREAN CENTRAL TELEVISION (조선중앙텔레비죤) - KoreanCentralTV1/YouTube

We can’t wait to watch Manbang, the North Korean Netflix

The only downside is that it's mostly propaganda.


Sherry Tucci


Published Aug 22, 2016   Updated May 26, 2021, 5:12 am CDT

As usual, the North Korean regime is surprising the rest of the world with its new developments, and this time it comes in the form of on-demand, video streaming services for its citizens.

That’s right—North Korea created its own version of Netflix

The new service is called Manbang, which loosely translates to “everywhere” in English. Manbang comes as a box and remote control set that connects to the state-run intranet, Kwangmyong. However, only a small slice of North Korea’s population actually has a connection.

You can probably guess what’s available to stream (spoiler alert: it’s propaganda). Viewers have access to a selection of documentaries about their leaders, as well as five different news and educational television channels. Manbang does, however, offer Russian and English language learning programs. Additionally it allows viewers to load digital news articles for convenient reading. Perhaps North Korea’s infamous Squirrel and Hedgehog—the country’s well-known children’s cartoon that teaches about war and violence—will soon be available too.

Manbang’s technology has been credited as legitimate, according to an anonymous South Korean professor, the Guardian reported. North Korea’s head of information and technology, Kim Jong Min, described the technology as two-way communications. “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,” he said in a Korean Central Television, or KCTV, report.

In case you wanted a 17-minute rundown of how this thing actually works, KCTV came through with this video. 

(Sorry, this embed was not found.)

There are no English subtitles yet, but fear not—they will soon be available. At least that’s what the video’s description tells us. 

H/T the Guardian

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*First Published: Aug 22, 2016, 7:58 pm CDT