North Korea’s state broadcaster KCTV looks to have drawn inspiration from the likes of Netflix and Apple TV, launching a dedicated on-demand set-top box.
Dubbed ‘Manbang’, which translates into ‘Everywhere’, the device will allow those with access to North Korea’s state-run internet service to “replay documentary films about the leadership and learn Russian and English languages,” according to NK News.
The network has said there has been high consumer demand for the product but Variety estimates that only “a few thousand” people have access to the countries heavily-moderated internet, which apparently only grant access to a list of 5000 websites.
The box will let viewers search and browse for programes in a similar manner to Netflix, with state official Kim Jong-min quoted as saying in KCTV report: “The information and communications technology is based upon 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.”
Earlier this year a North Korean Facebook-style website was pulled by leader Kim Jong-Un after people began setting up spoof profiles in his name. The social network clone was discovered by cyber security researcher Doug Madory.
Many North Koreans are believed to have no internet connectivity, with the World Bank estimating that the DPRK has no secure internet servers per million people in the closely-guarded country, compared with a world average of 209.