A Guide To Every Streaming Service in Australia

Credit: Kayo

With more and more consumers are opting for on-demand streaming video services like Netflix as their go-to entertainment service, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and/or confused.  

To help, here’s a run-down of every streaming service currently available in Australia and what the pros and cons of each are.

Disney+ 

Credit: Disney+

What’s good about it?

Disney+ is Disney’s streaming service, which means it’s home to all your faves - both old and new. The content library here is split into five broad sub-brands: Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel and National Geographic. 

At launch, there’s about 800 or so TV shows and movies on the service. Some of these are classics, others are new original series like The Mandalorian

Disney+ also includes support for 4 simultaneous streams as a baseline. You can also download as much content as you want for offline playback on up to 10 devices. 

What’s less good about it?

If you’re buying into Disney+ on the promise of getting access to everything under the Disney umbrella, which now includes 20th Century Fox, there's a chance you might be a little disappointed by what Disney+ delivers. 

You get a lot for you $8.99/month but you don’t get everything in the way you might expect. Things like Fox's X-Men films or Disney flops like John Carter or Prince of Persia are nowhere to be found.

In Australia specifically, there are also some odd rights issues in play that mean you won’t get the same Disney+ experience as subscribers in the states. The first 29 seasons of The Simpsons are on Disney+ but the more recent season isn't. 

This situation will probably change over time but right now it does detract from the “have it all” attitude attached to Disney’s streaming service. Unless you do your research first, you might not know whether the thing you’re excited to watch on the service is available until after you subscribe - which sucks.

Does it offer 4K and HDR Content?

Although the majority of content on Disney+ is available in HD quality, about 70 or so titles are also available in 4K with HDR10 and Dolby Atmos. The latter includes major releases like Moana and Star Wars but if you’re keen to watch something more obscure in 4K, you might be out of luck.

Of course, the silver lining here is that 4K is included as standard in the price of your subscription - rather than treated as an extra. 

How much does it cost?

In Australia, Disney+ is priced at $8.99 per month or $89.99 a year. There’s also a 7-day free trial available here.

Netflix

Credit: Netflix

What’s good about it?

Netflix didn’t become one of the biggest entertainment companies in the world for no good reason. If you see people talking about a show on Twitter or Facebook, there’s a good chance it’s on Netflix. The company have invested billions into fleshing out their original content lineup and producing the kind of content that you’ll enjoy watching and then want to talk about with your friends.

If you’re planning on watching series like Stranger Things, Black Mirror, The Dragon Prince and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt or films like Bird Box or Roma, you’ll want to look at subscribing to Netflix. There's a volume, quality and diversity of tone in the kind of content here that you'll struggle to find on other streaming platforms.

What’s less good about it?

The one drawback to being an Australian subscriber to Netflix is that the library of content on the Australian version of the streaming service is notably inferior to that offered to US and overseas customers. In the US, Netflix customers can watch a ton of compelling third-party content (like Breaking Bad and The Office) that isn’t available to Australian users unless you use a VPN - which is pretty disappointing.

Credit: Netflix

Netflix’s movie selection is also quite limited and, at-times, fickle. Movies are constantly disappearing from the service and if you put off watching something specific, you might not be able to find it at a later date - which can be pretty frustrating.

Does it offer 4K and HDR Content?

Netflix does offer 4K and HDR content, assuming you’re paying for the higher price tier and have the required TV and internet connectivity.

How much does it cost?

In Australia, Netflix offer three subscription plans. Each of these tiers also comes with a free first month.

  • The Basic subscription tier is priced at $9.99/month and gets you all the same content as more expensive plans but limits you to watching on one device at a time, which isn’t great if you plan on sharing your Netflix access with any friends or family. You’re also limited to Standard Definition (SD) content.

  • A Standard Netflix subscription costs $13.99/month and allows you to watch content in High Definition (HD) and allows up to two streams to be active at once.

  • The Premium is the most expensive Netflix subscription available at $19.99/month. It gives you the ability to stream UHD (4K) content and for four people to watch using the same subscription at once.

Amazon Prime Video

Credit: Amazon

What’s good about it?

Although Amazon’s streaming service has yet to amass anywhere close to the volume of original content available on Netflix, Prime Video does offer some great original content in the form of shows like The Grand Tour, American Gods, Bosch, The Romanoffs, The Man In High Castle and Homecoming.

The other major strength to Amazon Prime Video is that it's bundled in with the existing Amazon Prime subscription - which can make it great value compared to the other SVOD services out there.

What’s less good about it?

Though Netflix’s movies selection has its quirks , Amazon Prime Video’s movie selection is closer to a bargain bin than a curated collection.

If you’re after the latest film releases, you won’t find them here. You’ll sometimes stumble on modern classics like No Country For Old Men and Zombieland but you’ll sometimes have to trawl through a fair amount of Jack and the Beanstalk and The Last Airbender to get there. It has gotten better over the last twelve months, but it’s still a ways to go before it can really be called out as a solid aspect of the service.

Credit: Amazon

At the moment, Prime Video also lags behind Netflix in terms of how frequently it releases these new content. Where Netflix will have a major content release every few weeks, Amazon’s cadence is much more spread out across the year. At least, for now. Some analysts say Amazon is expected to invest $5 billion on content in 2018, so that could well begin to change over the 12-24 months.

Does it offer 4K and HDR Content?

Amazon Prime Video does offer 4K and HDR content, assuming you have the requisite TV and internet connection.

How much does it cost?

After your free trial, Amazon Prime is just A$6.99/month.

Stan

Credit: Stan

What’s good about it?

Stan is Australia’s own local streaming service. Now owned by the Nine Network, it offers up a mix of licensed international content and select original programming. While Stan doesn’t offer the same volume of content offered by Netflix, it does deliver a pretty strong hit rate when it comes to the quantity of that content - particularly if you’re a fan of Australian films.

Stan’s originally-produced content is limited to things like No Activity, Wolf Creek, Bloom and Romper Stomper. However, this lineup is supplemented by a strong stable of licensed international content like The Office, Parks and Recreation, Breaking Bad, Preacher, Billions, Better Call Saul, Who is America, Get Shorty and the entire James Bond filmography.

What’s less good about it?

Stan’s app isn’t quite as responsive or polished as Netflix’s app. It can sometimes be a little finicky to use.

In addition, like Amazon Prime Video, Stan’s cadence on new original content can sometimes be a little inconsistent.

If one of their major licensed shows from overseas - for example, Better Call Saul - is airing overseas, they’ll have each new episode as it airs. However, original content arrives at a much more irregular pace than either Netflix or Amazon. In the past, Stan has only produced 1-2 original series each year.

Does it offer 4K and HDR Content?

Stan offers 4K content but does not currently offer HDR support.

Credit: Stan

How much does it cost?

Like Netflix, Stan offers three different subscription tiers and gives subscribers their first month free:

  • The Basic Stan subscription is priced at $10/month and limits you to watching in Standard Definition (SD) and a single screen at once. You’re also only able to download content to a single device at a time.

  • The Standard Stan subscription is priced at $14/month a allows you to stream High Definition (HD) and stream to up to 3 devices at once. It also ups the download limit of the Basic plan to three devices.

  • The Premium Stan subscription is priced at $17/month and allows you to watch select content in UHD (4K) quality and stream content to up to four devices at once. This plan also raises the download limit to a total of five devices.

Apple TV+

Credit: Apple

What’s good about it?

Although it does work out to be one of the cheapest streaming services available in Australia, the pitch for Apple TV+ is more about quality than quantity.

Unlike Netflix, Amazon, Disney+ or Stan, you aren't really getting access to a huge backlog of TV shows and movies. Apple TV+ are a bet that the only thing you really care about is the exclusive originals and they've attracted plenty of talent to hedge their bets when it comes to this gamble.

At launch, Apple TV+ might only feature a handful of original series. However, each series (from See to Dickinson to For All Mankind) comes with A-list talent and lavish productions values. You can almost smell the money that Apple are throwing into building a reputation for quality original programming.

The other potential advantage to signing up to Apple TV+ is that Apple will likely be looking to bundle the service with their other subscriptions. The company are already offering a bundle that combines Apple TV+ and Apple Music for students. More and similar bundles are expected to be announced in the future.

What’s less good about it?

Well, the biggest disadvantage here is that Apple TV+ just doesn't have a lot of content on it right now. You don't get the bargain bin library of Amazon Prime, the comprehensive catalogues of Stan or the revolving stable that Netflix uses to buffer their original content library. 

In the future, this situation will certainly improve but right now, Apple TV+ probably gets you the least amount of content for your dollar of all the streaming services available in Australia. 

Does it offer 4K and HDR Content?

Apple TV+ offers 4K content with support for the Dolby Vision HDR standard.

How much does it cost?

In Australia, Apple TV+ is priced at AU$7.99/month. There's a 7-day free trial for the curious and a free 12-months of access included with the purchase of any new Apple iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac or iPod touch.

Next Page: Kayo, Ten All Access, Foxtel Now and Hayu

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Tags netflixstreamingSVODStanAmazon Prime VideoKayoTen All AccessHayu

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