North Korea Launches Its Own Propaganda-Filled Netflix Clone

If you have internet access and a hankering to learn more about the supreme leader, you're in luck

Photo Illustration: Diana Quach
Aug 19, 2016 at 3:53 PM ET

If we had to take an uneducated guess on how North Korean leadership and state media is promoting its freshly-developed clone of Netflix, we’d assume it’d be something like: “Good news for all you North Koreans with unfettered internet access: we have a new, Netflix-style streaming service that will allow you to totally binge out on entertaining content for hours!”

There are, of course, significant caveats to this new service: given that internet access is highly restricted within the hermit country, all content will consist of little more than government propaganda.

According to, the new set-top box technology is called “Manbang” (translating to “everywhere”) and will feature video on demand content to go with five channels that broadcast over the internet. This includes state-sponsored news and morally-minded television programming to go with documentaries about Kim Jong Un and the state government. The system requires a phone line, high-speed modem, cable box, and television set, so those looking to veg out on their state-issued tablet need not apply.

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As Gizmodo notes, it’s just the latest in a long line of U.S.-inspired tech innovations that the country has pioneered following a state-sanctioned smartphone and Mac-esque operating system. How well Manbang will actually work remains up for question, given the country’s abysmal history with technology. (The country has zero secure internet servers per 1 million people, according to the World Bank.)