With so much choice in binge-watching, most Aussies are finding the most difficult decision to make is choosing which streaming services are right for them.
Here's a helpful breakdown on what you get with the main streaming platforms in Australia right now: Netflix, Stan, Amazon Prime Video and Foxtel Now.
Which streaming service is the best value for money?
When it comes down to it price is one of the biggest factors and with each service getting their own exclusive content, it's more than likely you'll be juggling more than one membership at a time.
Netflix structures their price in three tiers: Basic ($8.99 a month), Standard ($11.99 a month) and Premium ($14.99 a month). The standard supports HD streaming as well as allows you to watch on two screens at the same time, the basic package is limited to SD and one screen. The premium package includes Ultra HD and allows concurrent streaming on up to four devices. Netflix is also on a ton of devices including mobile and tablet apps, smart TVs, gaming consoles, Apple TV and Chromecast. That's just the beginning.
Stan is a flat $10 a month, which supports HD streaming and can be streamed on up to three screens simultaneously. Like Netflix, Stan has a great range of supported devices.
Prime Video, the newest to arrive in Australia, offers the first six months at $2.99 USD before upping the price to $5.99 USD for all remaining months. At launch, the service offered a few great exclusive titles which we'll get into later, but at this early stage you're paying for a very limited library with limited device support.
Foxtel's rebrand came with a new streaming service Foxtel Now, which offers a bunch of packages at different price-points depending on the content you're after. Like Prime Video, Foxtel Now launched on a limited number of apps and devices, and handheld (tablets and mobile) devices currently don't support HD streaming. If that doesn't phase you, it's the easiest way to get some of Foxtel's amazing exclusive content at a reasonable price point, there's just no ability to record content like with their iQ boxes.
Foxtel Now's packages are as follows:
Entry level packs:
Lifestyle, Doco or Kids: $10 each a month.
Drama or Pop: $15 each a month or $25 for both.
Movies pack $20 a month on top of an entry pack.
Sport pack: $29 a month on top of an entry pack.
All four platforms offer free trials ranging from a free month (Netflix and Stan) to two weeks (Foxtel Now and Prime Video).
Can I watch content if I'm not connected to the internet?
Currently Netflix, Stan and Prime Video all support offline viewing, which means you can download select content on all three services and watch it when you're out of internet. It's a great feature for long commutes and especially on long flights, having a few series downloaded ahead of time can make a boring trip a lot more manageable.
Downloadable content doesn't add extra costs to your service membership, but be careful to make sure you're on wi-fi before downloading a ton of episodes.
Which services have the best shows and movies?
Obviously this is down to personal taste, but each service boasts excellent exclusives, it's just a matter of wading through and finding what you like.
Netflix nailed the original programming early on, with a huge slate of TV shows like 'Orange is the New Black', 'House of Cards' and 'Master of None', made-for-Netflix stand-up specials and more and more original movies.
Stan have also waded into the original content creation with their series like 'No Activity' and 'Wolf Creek'. The platform is also very good at scoring shows from the US and airing them immediately after broadcast. Most recently the latest season of 'RuPaul's Drag Race' was nabbed out from under Foxtel, as well as the 'Breaking Bad' spin-off 'Better Call Saul', 'Younger' and 'iZombie'. Stan's movies tend to err on the side of artsy if that's your bag, with a bunch of foreign and classic films alongside new releases. They've also picked up every episode of shows like 'FRIENDS', 'Seinfeld' and 'Will & Grace' if you're looking for some nostalgia kicks.
As mentioned earlier Prime Video is still very new to Australia so their offering is really limited, but they have launched with a few key exclusive titles like 'Man in the High Castle', Starz's 'American Gods' (which is exceptional), 'Fleabag' and 'The Grand Tour'. They're releasing more exclusive titles every month, but at this stage the library is far the smallest of the four services.
Foxtel Now has 'Game of Thrones'. That's basically all you need to know. If you are on the Drama or Pop package you have access to Showcase, which is the channel where 'GoT' is shown. You'll also have access to Foxtel's other content, which includes a bunch of HBO series you can't stream on any of the other platforms as well as shows like 'Wentworth' and the upcoming 'Picnic at Hanging Rock' series.
A huge bummer with most of these services is that they don't allow you to view their library until you've actually signed up. Luckily there are sites like JustWatch.com.au which allows you to search shows and movies and it'll tell you which platforms have it for you to rent, buy or stream.
Other notable players?
Glad you asked! For reality TV fans, HayU is probably your best bet. For $5.99 a month the service ONLY offers reality TV shows like the US 'Real Housewives' franchises, 'Top Chef', 'Million Dollar Listing' and many, many more. HayU also offers shows like 'Keeping Up With The Kardashians' the same day it airs in the US. It's a lot more limited in terms of how you can watch it (Chromecast is the best bet for getting it on your TV) and it's pretty expensive if you're only watching one or two shows.
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