The way we watch TV has come a long way in a very short time. Now more than half of Australia’s population regularly spends time watching TV, movies or sport on a streaming service. But how you enjoy your streaming TV can depend on what device you choose to stream it with – and there’s a an increasingly large and diverse range of them to choose from.
Why Buy a Streaming Device?
Not surprisingly, it’s the big screen TVs at home where we do most of our streaming. Nobody wants to sit at a desk in front of a computer to watch the big game or balance a laptop on the couch while struggling to hear what’s being said through tiny speakers. We want to watch streaming TV on a TV, and that’s where these clever devices come into play.
There’s a wide range of different streaming services on offer, large and small. Along with Netflix and Stan – the big guns of streaming with over two million users each – there’s Amazon’s Prime Video, Binge, niche services like hayu (for reality TV), DocPlay and Curiosity Stream (documentaries) and more. For live premium TV, movies and sports, there’s Foxtel Now and Fetch TV, and for all things sport we have Kayo and Sports Flick. For purely boxing action, there’s also DAZN now available in Australia.
No matter what you’re streaming, it’s not always the platform that makes the difference – the device you use is also crucially important. There’s a huge range options to choose from – here’s some of our favourite and recommended.
Streaming TV services in Australia
It’s hard to imagine that only a few short years ago, only a very small group of people in Australia were using streaming services at all – and most of them were using internet trickery to make the then-US-only Netflix think they were in the same country. Once Stan and then Netflix arrived, though, TV in Australia changed forever and typically for Australians, we took to it like a duck to (streaming) water.
Now, with so many services available, the best way to make sure you have access to all of them is to go for a dedicated streaming device – smart TVs usually cover the big players, but devices bring all the streaming services together under the one remote control.
Latest Deals and Offers
Whether it’s a discounted device you can buy outright, or a way to get your streaming device bundled in with a broadband plan, there’s always some special offers you should be checking out before you buy. Keep an eye on this page and we’ll keep you up to date with the latest offers and best prices!
The Top Streaming Devices
There’s a vast range of different devices used for streaming, and alongside the ones we mention here, there’s quite a few niche devices making their way here from countries like China (mostly Android-powered boxes that are more for the technically minded). Keep in mind that streaming devices don’t have to just be a tiny box that does streaming and nothing else. The computing power and HD video support of some other devices can make them ideal for streaming as well. You may even already have one in your living room!
Apple was one of the first companies to introduce a dedicated streaming device, with the Apple TV released in Australia years before full-scale streaming was a thing here. By the time Netflix and Stan arrived to kick things off properly, the 4th-generation Apple TV was on the horizon and it’s this model – along with the 5th-generation Apple TV 4K – that’s still the benchmark today that other streaming devices aspire to. With comprehensive app support for almost every streaming service you can imagine, big and small, it’s a true “one device to do it all” purchase that just gets better and better as you find more apps to add to it. Oh, and it also plays games. It may be expensive ($209 for the HD version, and $249 for the 4K model) but it’s well worth it.
On the other end of the pricing scale we find the much-loved Chromecasts, which are streaming devices with a difference. It’s available in two versions – the regular Chromecast and the new 4K-ready Chromecast with Google TV. Chromecast is a little device that plugs into a spare HDMI port on your TV or amp. To use it, you load up an app on your phone or tablet and tell it to “cast” to your Chromecast device. Then everything you play is sent to your TV with your mobile device acting as the remote control. The new Google TV version adds a remote control and full on-screen menus and apps for an Apple TV-like experience – no smartphone needed. The basic Chromecast costs around $59 for the HD version (the Ultra model has been discontinued), while the latest 4K Chromecast with Google TV costs just $99, a bargain for a full-featured streaming device..
Based on the popular Roku range of streaming boxes that have sold millions in the US (with the familiar interface even integrated into some popular TVs there), the Telstra TV 3 is, as the name suggests, available only from one place – Telstra. The version currently available is the third generation of the box, and it’s a solid and reliable piece of kit that may not win any awards for its user interface, but which makes up for it by being incredibly easy to use. Telstra TV can be had as part of a Telstra broadband plan, added to any Telstra account for $9 per month, or bought for $216 outright.
Amazon Fire TV Stick
Amazon’s hugely popular Fire TV devices have a long pedigree in the US, and it was only a matter of time before they started arriving here as well. For years, Amazon opted to release only one model in Australia – the “Basic Edition,” later upgraded and renamed the “Lite.” It’s fast, it’s well designed, it’s got a great little remote control, and it doesn’t cost very much (usually $49, but it’s frequently sold a lot cheaper). In 2021, Amazon finally announced the Fire Stick 4K for Australia, with full Alexa support on an expanded remote – it costs $99 – as well as an upgraded version of the HD-only Lite stick with the expanded remote for $79.
Foxtel Now Box
It hasn’t made much of an impact in the market overall, but Foxtel’s specially-made streaming box is a terrific piece of kit – but only if you’re a Foxtel Now subscriber. You need to at least subscribe to the free 10-day trial to activate this $99 box, and can then use it without Foxtel Now if you like – but its user interface is built around the Foxtel experience. Outside of that it’s a quite powerful and well-equipped Android TV based box that does all the right things, including providing access to the Google Play store.
Sony Playstation 4/5
The multi-multi-million-selling game console that currently dominates the gaming world also happens to be a very capable media device. The PS4 supports a comprehensive range of streaming apps and the purpose-designed TV menu gives you constantly updated highlights and suggestions. It also happens to play games. A “Pro” version is available as well which enables 4K and HDR for both streaming and gaming – if you’ve got a 4K TV, go for the Pro version. A low-cost media remote control is available to make streaming more couch-friendly. Succeeding PS4 is the newly released PS5, which is still in short supply, but supports the full range of streaming apps as well.
Notorious for being more focussed on TV than gaming at its launch a few years back, the Xbox One has long been a great device for streaming – especially because even its base model (the Xbox One S) supports 4K output for both streaming and Ultra HD Blu-ray discs. It’s hard to beat for the price, if you want something for streaming that can also play the latest games. A more expensive high-powered version (Xbox One X) is available as well, but for streaming video it’s effectively the same. As with the PS4, you can buy an inexpensive media remote for the Xbox One and if you’re streaming, we highly recommend you do so. If you’re looking to bundle your gaming with your broadband, Telstra currently offers broadband + gaming packages, which include a Xbox One S or X console. Succeeding Xbox One are the Xbox Series X and the Xbox Series S, which support up to 8K resolution.
Fetch TV now offers three set-top boxes to choose from – Mini, Mini 4K, and Mighty. Both the Mini and the Mighty versions can be bundled with broadband and are offered by some ISPs in Australia, including Optus, Aussie Broadband, Dodo, and iPrimus. With Fetch, you can stream your favourite shows on the hottest apps with the likes of Netflix, Stan, Prime Video, hayu, and 10 All Access included, plus catch-up free-to-air channels. The starter box is already a powerful one for basic entertainment purposes and is only $169 from selected retailers if you purchase it outright. When added via ISP, monthly costs start at $5/month. If you want to add 4K without paying over $400, the Mini has got the brand-new Mini 4K version this year, though only available outright for $199. Finally, the glorious Fetch Mighty with 4K and 1TB hard drive capacity lets you record up to 6 shows at once. It costs from $15/month when added to an internet plan or $449 when purchased outright.
Broadband Plans with Streaming Devices
If it’s an all-in-one solution you’re looking for, you could consider going for a broadband plan that comes with a streaming device in the bundle, basically getting you all set up with everything you need to start streaming. Here’s a couple of plans we recommend.