Updated 1st July 2020
Thanks to the streaming revolution, it has become even easier these days to access premium pay-TV without the hassle of hardware installation. With tons of great entertainment and loads of must-watch events, where to access has become the latest challenge. Foxtel Now brings the channels, shows and sports of Foxtel into your lounge room as a pay-as-you-go streaming service, but it can be expensive. Fortunately, several more affordable options offer similar entertainment.
Best Streaming Alternatives in Australia
Affordability is great to have if you’re looking for an expanded range of the types of content that Foxtel Now offers – but don’t want to spend too much. Your entry-level subscription to the service gives you a range of options from drama, entertainment and lifestyle channels. Plus there’s even Foxtel’s home of all things HBO – Fox Showcase.
However, that starts at a $25/month fee, and if you wanted to expand your viewing options with extra channel packs, the costs can start to bite. For example, adding the Movies pack gives you ten channels of recent and classic movies for $20 extra, while the Sport pack costs $29 for access to a 12-channel range from the Foxtel sports line-up. Add the Drama pack at $10/month and you’re already spending $84 per month – hardly loose change.
Of course, you can always pick and choose the packs that suit you (you’ll always have to have the $25 Essentials pack). Families may want access to the Kids’ or Docos packs. For that, you need to go for the full bundle at a hefty $104/month.
Fortunately, there’s good news for those of you who gasp at prices like that, thinking such a wide range of entertainment is out of reach. However, nothing could be further from the truth – there are some excellent alternatives you can go for instead. Pick and choose from these options, and you’ll very likely find you’re getting far more bang for your buck! Here are the best streaming services in Australia.
Foxtel Now from Telstra FREE Trial Offer
Start your 1 month free trial with Foxtel Now from Telstra. Simply add Foxtel Now to your existing Telstra bill for only $25/mth, no contract, cancel anytime. Ends 30 June 2021
If you’ve been using Foxtel Now for its sports coverage – as many do, since it includes access to the majority of live sports channels – you might have come to the conclusion that you just have to wear the $25 base cost to get to the Sports pack – a total of $54 per month. But if sport is your passion, there’s no need to spend that much – because the freshly launched streaming service Kayo Sports delivers all the live sport you’d find on Foxtel Now and more. In addition to all of Foxtel’s usual offering, Kayo provides dedicated sporting codes and events that you can follow, watch live, on delay or on-demand, all with full high definition picture quality. Kayo also includes interactive features you can’t find anywhere else. And the price? A mere $25 per month, with no hidden extras and no contracts. For sport fanatics, this is how you stream like a champion!
Sign up to Kayo’s FREE 14 day trial offer
Live sport returns to Kayo, with every game and every round from the NRL and AFL, action from the Super Rugby, UFC and V8 Supercars – all available on Kayo’s 14 day trial.
You have the option to watch some of the most popular shows on the planet with Australia’s newest streaming service, BINGE. BINGE is offering a 14 day free trial for new customers and will show all seasons and episodes of shows such as Big Little Lies, Euphoria, Westworld Outlander and many, many more… You can stream your favourite shows using compatible mobile devices such select PC and Macs, iOS and Android phones and tablets, Apple and Telstra TV, Google Chromecast, as well as Safari, Firefox, Chrome and Microsoft Edge browsers. BINGE has no lock-in contract or equipment fees, which means you can cancel anytime if you’re no longer using it.
Try BINGE for 2 weeks FREE!
Stream a huge selection of new and classic TV shows, movies, and documentaries from the likes of HBO, BBC, FX, Cartoon Network and many more…
Free BINGE for 3 months for Telstra mobile customers!
While there’s not much of it left on free to air TV, quality drama shows are bigger than ever in the streaming TV era, and while you’ll find some great stuff in the base Essentials pack and optional Drama pack on Foxtel Now, those combined will set you back $35 per month – and whether that’s worth it to you will depend on how much time you want to spend with HBO shows. Alternatively, you can spend far less each month on a content-packed streaming service such as Netflix, where you’ll find hundreds of hours of quality drama – much of it exclusive – for as little as $9.99 per month (though budget for $13.99 if you want to watch in HD on your big screen TV).
Amazon Prime Video
Similarly, Amazon Prime Video (at $6.99 a month or $59 per year) is packed with drama content including exclusives. Your subscription also provides you with exciting entertainment courtesy of Amazon Originals. Plus with the addition of Prime Reading (access to over 1,000 eBooks) and Twitch Prime for gaming lovers, this is a great alternative if you’re looking for more than just television.
Get a 30-Day Free Trial!
Experience the best from Amazon Prime including Prime Video, free shipping, special deals and more! Only $6.99/mth.
Let’s face it, reality TV is bigger now than it’s ever been, and if you’re one of the millions who’s looking for a regular reality fix, the handful of “lifestyle” channels provided in Foxtel Now’s base packages might not seem like enough. Again, streaming services come to the rescue – in this case, wall-to-wall reality TV service hayu. Costing only $6.99 a month, this nicely designed, fun and friendly streaming service collects thousands of hours of reality TV from the present and the past (ever wanted to watch every Real Housewives season ever? Here’s your chance!) They add new content just about every day and go the extra mile with shareable highlights clips and extras.
Get hayu free for 30 days!
Start streaming the hottest reality shows on TV with new releases express from the US with hayu’s 30-day free trial. Only pay $6.99 thereafter.
Out of all the packs available on Foxtel Now, the docos pack is, along with the Kids pack, easily the furthest out of reach. Just to get access to the range of documentary channels on Foxtel Now will set you back an eye-watering $104 per month – because the only way to get those channels is to subscribe to the “everything” pack. While lots of us love our docos, that’s a hefty price to pay to watch them. But luckily there’s an alternative – an Australian-run streaming service that specialises in docos. Named DocPlay, it carries a huge range of documentaries of all kinds, from historical and political to music and culture. And access to their entire library, streaming in HD, is a mere $6.95 per month – making it a must to check out if you’ve been hanging out for some documentary goodness.
Get DocPlay free for 30 days!
Stream the world’s best documentaries from Australia and around the globe!
Telstra TV Box Office
The $45 per month bundle from Foxtel Now that gives you the Movies pack is nothing to be sneezed at – there’s a huge rotating catalogue of movies there to watch, after all. But if you’re looking for the very latest movies to stream in the comfort of your home then you might want to take a look at an option that’s very tasty for movie fans – the Telstra TV. This compact but powerful streaming TV device – powered by hardware made by US giant Roku – is your one-stop portal to stream everything we’ve mentioned above – but it’s especially useful for those who love movies.
You can get the latest Telstra TV box included with a Telstra Broadband bundle, or you can buy one outright. A perfect all-in-one steaming solution with its own movie store built right in, Telstra TV can also handle Foxtel Now, should you ever want to drop back in. This smart little device puts complete control of your streaming entertainment in one place. Give Telstra a call on 13 22 00 if you’d like to know more.
Telstra Internet Plans + Bundles
Internet NBN Plans starting from $75p/m with 3 months BINGE. Or, bundle in Entertainment with unlimited NBN 50 and choose a Telstra TV, Xbox or Foxtel from $99p/m. Join Telstra Plus and get loads of FREE entertainment offers.
Summary: Alternative choices galore
There are plenty of ways to spend less and get more, no matter what you’re streaming – but Telstra TV is the device that can handle all of it, letting you take full advantage of the range of streaming services that have been changing the way we view TV, but still giving you access to Foxtel Now for when you need it. Truly the best of both worlds.
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.