A Guide To Every Streaming Service in Australia

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.

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.

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 $17.99/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

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.

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

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, The Disney / Marvel catalogue, 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.

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.

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

Page Break

Kayo

What’s good about it?

Kayo is the only dedicated sports streaming service in Australia. So if you’re after on-demand sports content, there’s a lot to like about it. Kayo offers up a compelling lineup of content that covers both local leagues like the AFL and NRL and international fare like the NBA and NFL.

The complete list of sports available on Kayo can be found here.

What’s less good about it?

The main drawback to Kayo is that it’s substantially more expensive than the other options and there’s not a huge amount of diversity to the content on it. If you want to watch something that’s not sports, Kayo is going to end up being only one of several streaming services you’re subscribed to.

Does it offer 4K and HDR Content?

Kayo does not currently offer 4K and HDR content.

How much does it cost?

Kayo is offered on two pricing tiers.

The Basic package is priced at $25 per month while the Premium package is priced at $35 per month. The difference here is that premium option gets you access to more simultaneous streams (2 vs 3) and additional sporting news, highlight and commentary content.

Foxtel Now

What’s good about it?

The main thing in the favor of Foxtel Now is that, assuming you’re subscribed to the relevant channel pack, it offers access to the cable service’s biggest shows and, more-specifically, their HBO-produced content like Game of Thrones, True Detective and Sharp Objects.

What’s less good about it?

Much like the traditional cable TV service its name is derived from, subscribing to Foxtel Now can be convoluted and usually involves paying for content you might not actually want to watch.

Where Netflix and Stan have comparatively simple pricing structures, Foxtel Now’s content is split across a half dozen or so different channel packs. These vary in pricing but the entire package totals out at $104 per month if you want everything.

Does it offer 4K and HDR Content?

Foxtel Now does not currently offer 4K and HDR content.

How much does it cost?

Pricing for Foxtel Now varies depending on which channel packs you choose. The cheaper packs cost $10/month while the more expensive options are $29/month. If you don’t own a smart TV or a compatible streaming hub, you’ll also need to buy the $99 Foxtel Now streaming box.

Unfortunately, you have to buy the $25 “entry pack” before buying any specific add-on channel packs. This means that even before you’re getting to paying for the stuff you actually want, Foxtel Now is already more expensive than Netflix, Stan or Amazon Prime Video.

The full pricing breakdown for Foxtel Now is as follows:

  • The Pop and Lifestyle packs are packaged as a bundle and priced at $25/month

  • The Premium Pack is priced at $10/month

  • The Sport pack is priced at $29/month

  • The Movies pack is priced at $20/month

  • A bundle containing all packs is also available for $104/month

Ten All Access

What’s good about it?

If you’re a fan of Ten’s regular TV content and would prefer to watch it on your terms, Ten All Access is a service that lets you do exactly that. You won’t find top of the line prestige dramas like True Detective here but if you’re after things like NCIS, CSI and Blue Bloods - Ten All Access has a lot to offer.

What’s less good about it?

You won’t find much in the way of original programming here. At the time of writing, Ten All Access is all third-party content.

Given that CBS now owns Channel Ten, it’s expected that future original content produced for the CBS All Access service offered in overseas markets may be exclusive to the service. However, at the time of writing, the reality does not quite reflect this.

Some CBS originals like Tell Me A Story are exclusive to Ten All Access. However, CBS’ biggest original series to date Star Trek: Discovery remains available to Australian viewers via Netflix - which hurts the case for subscribing to Ten All Access.

Does it offer 4K and HDR Content?

Ten All Access does not offer 4K and HDR content.

How much does it cost?

Ten All Access is priced at $10/month.

Hayu

What’s good about it?

Like Ten All Access and Kayo, Hayu is a streaming service that caters to a specific audience: diehard fans of reality TV. If you’re keen to binge some Keep Up With The Kardashians, The Real Housewives or Top Chef, it’s the streaming service to go for.

What’s less good about it?

Hayu’s app can be a little clunky and can sometimes be not as well supported by Smart TV vendors as the other streaming services like Netflix or Stan. That said, the app does have ChromeCast support - which makes up some of the difference.

Hayu also lacks any sort of original programming. It’s all syndicated content.

Does it offer 4K and HDR Content?

Hayu does not support 4K and HDR content.

How much does it cost?

Hayu is priced competitively at $6.99/month.