Australia has already embraced streaming services with a passion – we are, after all, famous for being early adopters of new technology. But we’re now at the point where there are more streaming services looking for your subscription money than ever before. Netflix, Stan and Prime Video already have plenty of customers – and now Disney Plus has arrived, mounting a very real challenge to Stan.
As regular customers of Stan TV would know, that service signed a lucrative deal in late 2018 to get access to a bunch of movies and shows from the Disney catalogue. Rumours abounded about the possibility of Stan and Disney forging a long-term partnership in Australia, but that was not to be. Instead, Disney announced that Australia would be one of only five countries in the world to get their full Disney Plus streaming service at launch.
And that meant bad news for anyone who was subscribed to Stan for their Disney content – because as soon as Disney Plus arrived, Stan’s Disney shows and movies were gone. Now, that’s not the tragedy it might seem to be – Stan only had a small subset of the Disney catalogue available, and all of it represented only a fraction of their total library. But with the global might of Disney Plus now tempting some to drop another streaming service in favour of it, which one comes out on top – can Stan still hold its own against the power of the mouse?
Disney Plus Australia
Rumoured for years and launched to great excitement, fanfare and the inevitable server meltdown, Disney Plus brings together the legendary studio’s own decades-long catalogue of animated and live-action films and TV shows, with a distinct emphasis on family-friendly content (nothing on the service is allowed that rates higher than a PG-13 in the US, or M here in Australia). Buffing up the catalogue are movies and shows from Disney’s blockbuster franchises – Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars – as well as documentaries from National Geographic. While it’s a smaller catalogue than most, the proportion of big-name movies is far higher here than anywhere else.
Last audited 29 November 2020
Stan TV Australia
About to chalk up five years of operation, Stan is a hugely popular streaming service in Australia, second only to the Netflix juggernaut. Having beaten Netflix to launch in Australia, it remains a unique example of a local streaming service that can step up and play in the big game, with subscribers now exceeding the magic million mark. Stan’s formula is a diverse mix of quality content that runs the gamut from family fare to adult arthouse, with everything imaginable in between. Exclusive deals with Showtime, Starz, MGM, Paramount and others make sure there’s plenty of quality content you can’t get elsewhere, too.
Last audited 29 November 2020
Kids’ Movies and Shows on Stan vs Disney Plus
One thing that parents will already have noticed is that the pull of Disney can be incredibly strong with kids – not surprising since the studio’s been responsible for some of the biggest kids’ movies in history, from early cartoons like Sleeping Beauty all the way through to modern classics like The Lion King and Frozen. All of that’s there on Disney Plus ready to stream in immaculate quality, alongside plenty of Disney content for older kids, including tons of Disney Channel shows and movies. Disney Plus also lets you set up profiles for your kids that completely changes the app interface to a brighter, entirely kid-focused one.
Stan’s kids’ section has a similarly bright theme, though you have to navigate there from the main interface. And despite the loss of Disney, there’s no shortage of excellent kids’ content here. Featuring shows from Cartoon Network, ABC Kids (yes, the all-important Wiggles are here) and Nickelodeon, there’s tons of favourites to be found. And when it comes to movies, Stan has the Dreamworks Animation line-up (Madagascar, Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon and many more) as well as a curated selection of kid-friendly films from the wider Stan catalogue. Stan lets you set up kids-only profiles, and unlike Disney Plus, your main profile is protected by a PIN so the kids can’t switch over.
Family Movies and Shows on Stan vs Disney Plus
Again, the mighty power of Disney is a bit hard to beat when it comes to family content, with the small but mighty Disney arsenal bringing together films like The Nightmare Before Christmas, the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, The Princess Diaries and many more. And of course, the collection of National Geographic documentaries here makes for perfect family viewing, with some favourites from the TV channel joined by new shows like The World According to Jeff Goldblum.
Over on Stan, the huge library of movies and shows offers up some family favourites including The Lego Movie and The Black Stallion. There’s no denying that it’s a bit harder to find the family content amongst Stan’s formidable selection of stuff, but there’s plenty of it there if you’re prepared to look around.
Movies and Shows for Everyone Else on Stan vs Disney Plus
When it comes to stuff for the grown-ups, things start to fall more in Stan’s favour – which won’t come as much of a surprise to many. Disney does have the advantage of the Star Wars and Marvel franchises to play with, so if you’ve ever wanted to sit down and binge every single Star Wars movie or the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe (over 20 movies) then you can do just that on Disney Plus. Beyond these and the documentaries, though, most Disney Plus content is for the young at heart – which, to be fair, is part of its appeal.
Those looking for a diverse range of general entertainment will have a much better time with Stan, where there’s a vast range of movies and shows to suit all tastes. Whether it’s the nostalgic fun of Saturday Night Fever and Grease, modern classic drama like Breaking Bad and Billions, arthouse movies, Aussie movies, obscure horror movies, cheesy movies, classic TV shows… it’s only when you start browsing through the library that you realise how much there is. Where Disney Plus has a clear market in mind, Stan is very much “something for almost everyone” – and they do that really well.
Sports on Stan vs Disney Plus
This isn’t a comparison that could even have been made until recently, since neither service offered any sports content at all – despite Disney being the owners of ESPN, one of the world’s biggest sports broadcasting networks. And when it comes to sports, nothing’s changed with Disney Plus – the service is designed specifically to deliver entertainment in the form of movies, TV shows and documentaries, and does it extremely well. In the US, customers can subscribe to a bundle of Disney Plus and ESPN at a discounted rate, and that could happen here in the future if ESPN ever launches its streaming service here.
Stan, meanwhile, has announced the arrival of Stan Sport, a paid add-on for your regular Stan subscription that will open up access to both live and on-demand sport, all of it ad-free. Being launched in partnership with Stan’s parent company Nine, Stan Sport will initially offer a selection of exclusive Super Rugby matches as well as (presumably) add-free versions of those broadcast on Nine as part of the company’s new rights deal with the sport. Additional sports have been rumoured to be coming to Stan Sport (such as tennis) but full details (and pricing) have not yet been revealed.
Stan vs Disney Plus – Plans, Prices and Unique Features
Comparing the cost of these two streaming services is pretty straightforward, since Disney Plus has only the one plan – $8.99 per month (or $89.99 per year) for everything. That includes up to four simultaneous streams, up to seven profiles and quality up to 4K Ultra HD, too – perfect for families.
Stan’s pricing is a more traditional tiered affair, with higher video quality or extra streams costing more. The basic plan is $10/month (SD, 1 stream), but if you want HD and multiple streams you’ll have to pay $14/month for the Standard plan. And if you want 4K Ultra HD you’ll be up for $19/month – more than double what Disney Plus charges for the same level of access (though Stan has far more content, to be fair).
In the area of unique features, Disney Plus has something rather cool waiting for fans who like to take a deep dive into their favourite shows and movies – an “extras” section for many titles which includes deleted scenes, trailers, documentaries and even an alternate version of the film or a director’s commentary. No other streaming service offers this sort of thing, and it’s brilliant.
Stan vs Disney Plus – Device Compatibility
While both Stan and Disney Plus have apps available for a wide range of devices, Stan holds a slight advantage when it comes to the sheer number of devices supported. Not that Disney’s being slack about it – as a brand new service, they’re already supporting a fairly large range of popular platforms, with more to come.
|Smart TVs||Samsung, LG, Sony, Hisense, Panasonic, TCL, Toshiba, Philips, Kogan, Ffalcon||LG, Samsung, Sony|
|Game Consoles||Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, PS3||Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4|
|Apple TV||2nd Generation and higher||4th Generation and higher|
|Fire TV Stick||✓||✓|
|Phones and Tablets||iOS and Android||iOS and Android|
|Computers||Yes, web browser and Windows app||Yes, web browsers|
Stan vs Disney Plus – Free Trials
The all-important free trial period is a must for anyone trying out a new streaming service. You not only want to get an idea if the content is what you’re looking for, but also whether it’ll stream well on your devices and broadband connection.
Stan offers the more or less industry-standard 30 day free trial, giving you ample time to get a feel for the service. You get the full 30 days regardless of the plan tier you choose, and if you cancel during that 30 days you won’t get charged a cent.
Disney Plus, however, doesn’t have a free trial currently on offer.
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Watch new and classic TV and movies from Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel, National Geographic and 21st Century Fox from one streaming service.
Stan vs Disney Plus – Conclusion
It’s a difficult environment that Stan finds itself in these days, with more and more competition coming online and their brief foray into hosting Disney content interrupted by Disney itself. But Stan’s got years of experience under its belt and a long track record of giving its many customers what they want. Its pricing is on a par with its main rival (Netflix) and its library is large and diverse.
Disney Plus comes out of the gate bursting with family-friendly content and is an easy choice for parents everywhere. The great thing about it is the price – which, at only $7.50 a month if you pay annually, is low enough that you probably won’t need to cancel any other services to add the world of Disney to your streaming arsenal. It’s a winner, but it’s best paired with other services so you’ve got more choice of what to watch.
Frequently Asked Questions about Streaming TV
Since the birth of television, we’ve gotten all our TV via broadcasts – signals containing continuous TV channels sent out to anyone who can pick them up. Streaming TV is completely different – you choose what show or movie you want to watch from an app on your TV or a device, and it’s then sent to you via your broadband internet connection. It’s called “streaming” because you watch it as it’s being sent to you, rather than downloading it to watch later.
If you’ve got a recent model TV, it’s almost certainly what’s known as a “smart TV” – in other words, it can download and run apps. The most popular apps for smart TVs are those for streaming services, and that’s because it’s easy to just sit back and load up the app for your favourite service and start watching. But smart TV support for each streaming service varies, so if you’re watching a lot of it, the better option is to buy a dedicated streaming device like Telstra TV or Apple TV, or get a low-cost device called a Chromecast so you can send streaming TV to your screen from a phone or tablet app.
Streaming is really easy on modern smartphones and tablets, but not everyone wants to watch their shows and movies on a tiny screen. You can fix that easily with a small device made by Google called Chromecast. It plugs into a spare HDMI port on your TV, and connects to the same Wi-Fi network that your phone is on. Once it’s set up, all you need to do is load up your favourite streaming app – Netflix, Binge, Kayo and hundreds of others – and tap the little TV screen icon in the top right corner to connect to Chromecast. Then everything you play will stream direct to your TV.
If you’ve got a fairly recent model of Mac or PC, you’ll almost certainly find a HDMI video output socket on the back (or side, in the case of laptops) of the computer. If you have one of these, streaming direct to your TV is easy – just connect it to a spare HDMI input on your TV with a cable and switch to that input, then start streaming. Other computers may have different video connectors, such as Mini DisplayPort, USB-C or Thunderbolt; these can connect to your TV as well, but you’ll need a special adapter cable to do so. An easier option in those cases may be to use a Chromecast connected to the TV, sending video to it from the Google Chrome web browser.
Of all the streaming services, Netflix is the one that almost every smart TV and streaming device supports – in fact, if you’ve bought a TV, disc player or streaming device recently, it’ll probably have a big red and white Netflix button on its remote control! All you need to do to stream Netflix on any TV is just load up the app and sign in with your account email and password – it’ll load up all your profiles, favourites and watch lists so you can pick up on the TV where you left off on the phone or PC.
While you’ll find Netflix support on pretty much every smart TV, the other streaming services you can access on that TV will vary greatly depending on the brand, model and year of your TV. The much better solution if you’re streaming all the time is to buy a dedicated streaming box. These smart little devices plug into your TV via HDMI and act as a sort of “one-stop shop” for all the different streaming service apps, so you can stream from any of them from the one remote control. The best streaming boxes are the ones with the widest app support – with the Telstra TV and Apple TV at the top of the list. They’re both priced just above $200, but the Telstra TV can be had for $9 a month if you’re a Telstra customer, making it a great affordable streaming upgrade.
While Foxtel Now offers plenty of shows and movies for you to watch on demand, its main purpose is to deliver Foxtel’s live TV channels to you as they’re broadcast – but via streaming rather than satellite. The way this is done is very much the same as other streaming services, except that each channel is its own separate never-ending live stream, and you switch between channels rather than choosing individual titles. It’s designed to behave just like regular TV does, but under the hood it’s a streaming service and as such, it performs best on a fast broadband connection.
All streaming TV uses an amount of download data on your broadband plan – so if you’ve got a monthly download limit, you’ll want to keep an eye on just how much data is being used. That amount varies greatly between different streaming services, but as a general guide, expect to use around 1GB per hour at standard definition, 3GB per hour at HD (high definition) and 7GB per hour at 4K Ultra HD quality. We’d recommend anyone who streams regularly get a broadband plan with unlimited data – they’re incredibly cheap now.
Innovative sports streaming service Kayo Sports is still working on apps for a wider range of smart TVs – at the moment, though, they only offer an app for Samsung TVs made in 2017 and later, and for TVs running the Android TV operating system (like Sony’s recent models). For any other TV, smart or not, you’ll need to use a streaming device, with the best ones for Kayo Sports being Telstra TV (which also lets you subscribe directly from the device) and Apple TV. Kayo also supports Chromecast so you can cast from your phone, but a current-model Chromecast is recommended for best results. Check out our guide for more suggestions.
Foxtel Go is the app for phones and tablets that’s designed for use by customers of both Foxtel satellite TV and Foxtel Now services. You can stream the live channels and on-demand content to a TV by using the new Foxtel app for LG and Samsung smart TVs, or by streaming from the mobile app to a Chromecast device. However, Foxtel satellite customers will need to add the Multiscreen pack to their account before streaming is possible. Foxtel Now customers can stream on up to two devices at the same time. They can also use the dedicated Foxtel Now box or Telstra TV to stream.
With the free-to-air streaming services – ABC iView, SBS On Demand, 7plus, 9now and 10play – you’ve got plenty of choices to watch on your TV, especially if it supports the “Freeview” standard. TVs that offer Freeview will display a banner when changing channels, letting you access that network’s streaming service with the tap of a coloured button. For easier browsing and streaming, though, almost all smart TVs include apps for all five of the free-to-air networks, as do the to streaming boxes like Telstra TV and Apple TV. All of these apps are completely free to use, though some require you to sign up for a free account, and all (except ABC iView) are supported by ad breaks during your streams.
No. That’s one of the best things about all streaming services, including Foxtel Now – there is no need to agree to any sort of lock-in contract. You pay a month in advance for a month’s access and can cancel at any time. Even better, you can re-subscribe later and as long as it hasn’t been too long , you’ll find all your favourites and watch lists right where you left them.
The tradition with streaming TV has been to offer new customers a free trial period so they can see if they like what the service has to offer – but not all services have free trials. Most notably, Netflix and Disney Plus don’t offer a free trial at all anymore, so anyone signing up for the first time will have to pay for the first month up front. However, there are still plenty of free trials around, such as Foxtel Now (10 days), Binge (14 days), Kayo Sports (14 days), Amazon Prime Video (one month).
Because it’s designed to be watched on demand, streaming services don’t give you the ability to record shows and movies to watch later. However, some services do allow you to download titles to a mobile phone or tablet to stream later without using the internet. This can be brilliant for when you’re travelling – load up your iPad or phone with some movies or a series, and you can watch them anywhere without incurring a massive mobile data bill. Streaming services that allow downloads include Netflix, Stan, Prime Video and Disney Plus.