Foxtel Now v Netflix v Stan v Fetch Review


Foxtel Now v Netflix v Stan v Fetch

On-demand streaming – we’ll call it SVOD for short, which stands for Streaming Video on Demand – has had a massive impact in the past few years, and is now a part of the daily entertainment landscape for millions of Australians. There are more subscribers to streaming services than there are eyeballs in front of the latest episode of Masterchef, with the power of choice and convenience leading more and more people into a new age of television – a world where broadband internet is the source, rather than the old metal antenna on the roof. So how do the big players in the streaming age compare to each other? Let’s take a look.

In this Guide

Foxtel Now vs Kayo Sports

If you love your sport and want a whole world’s worth of it via streaming, you’ve got two great options to pick from. Foxtel Now has been around for many years, and delivers the same live-channel experience as satellite Foxtel, only via streaming. That means it can travel with you anywhere and has no need for installation – when you move house, it moves with you! Foxtel Now’s perfect for those who prefer channel-surfing, and sports fans are well catered for with a dozen channels packed to the brim with 24/7 sport. 

Foxtel Now

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Kayo Sports, though, is a relatively new competitor with access to the same sports as Foxtel Now – but it’s the way it presents them that’s different. Instead of browsing through channels, you browse the sports themselves, with both live and on-demand streaming available, along with a bunch of clever extra features. It’s cheap, too – only $25 a month for access to everything, easily winning on price.

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Kayo Sports from Telstra

If you’ve got a postpaid mobile plan or broadband service through Telstra, you can add Kayo Sports to your account with a very keenly priced special offer. The first 12 months that you subscribe to Kayo will only cost $15/month instead of $25 – that’s $120 saved over the course of the year. It also makes the combination of Kayo and Telstra the best-value sports streaming you’ll find anywhere.

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Fetch TV Vs Foxtel Now

Combining SVOD with live TV channels, Fetch TV is probably the closest to Foxtel Now that any rival service gets. Based around its own custom box which combines a free-to-air TV tuner and recorder, and a suite of apps to stream from services such as Netflix, Fetch also offers access to a collection of live-streaming premium channels that include many also offered by Foxtel Now. Covering sports, music, lifestyle and news, they provide a similar solid base of channels that you’d get with Foxtel Now – with some additions only available on Now via the purchase of additional channel packs.

But the real strength of Fetch TV is in its versatility – not only does it provide some of Foxtel Now’s functionality with live channel streaming, it also acts as a set top box for free-to-air and a streaming box for paid services like Netflix and Stan. Fetch also gives its subscribers 30 free movies a month – but they’re pre-selected, so the range is limited compared to having access to Foxtel Now’s Movies pack.

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BINGE vs Stan

For the more premium end of streaming – where you’ll find shows from some of the biggest TV brands in the world – the recently launched BINGE and veteran service Stan are very tempting indeed. Both are straightforward, pay-by-the-month services that aim to continually feed their users a diet of some of the world’s best TV. And when it comes to that, BINGE certainly has the upper hand when it comes to content. Since it’s run by a division of Foxtel, it has access to all the exclusive stuff found on that service – including everything from the world-renowned studio HBO. That means Game of Thrones, Westworld, Big Little Lies and dozens of other acclaimed TV shows, including all the greats like The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire. There’s also shows from AMC (like The Walking Dead) and FX. And that’s just a fraction of what BINGE has to offer, with new and classic drama, comedy, docos, lifestyle and more constantly being added.

Stan, though, is no slouch in the exclusives department either – they’ve got the rights to HBO competitor Showtime, which means fast-tracked episodes of hit shows like Billions. Stan’s broad licensing deals gets them shows from respected international names like Hulu, Starz, Paramount and more. With nearly six years of growing as a service, Stan’s a bit further along in technical terms than BINGE, with 4K Ultra HD streaming available on many shows as well as movies. 

Both BINGE and Stan cost $10/month for SD and $14/month for HD, with Stan also having a $19/month Ultra HD plan.

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Netflix Vs Foxtel Now

Netflix and Foxtel Now actually have more in common than you’d think; both are creators of original content, and have pushed that content as one of the reasons you should subscribe. Both have their selection of headline exclusive shows that you will hopefully be enticed to subscribe for. And both have millions of customers consuming their content on a daily basis.

When it comes to TV shows, Netflix falls into two categories – their “originals” and their general TV content. Though branded as “originals”, many of the shows that bear the Netflix logo aren’t actually produced by Netflix – they’re just exclusive to the streaming service. But with billions of dollars being fed into producing their own stable of shows, Netflix is fast becoming its own de facto TV network – one which rivals HBO in terms of scope and quality.

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Foxtel Now, meanwhile, has access to Foxtel’s own “originals” – they don’t describe them as such, but acclaimed shows such as Wentworth or the highly acclaimed Secret City carry on a tradition of producing original Australian drama that goes back many years – Love My Way was a huge hit, for example, and has never been seen on streaming services such as Netflix. Alongside the drama, there’s a huge array of lifestyle and reality programming that is exclusive to the Foxtel brand.

Outside of “originals”, Foxtel Now has its unchallenged access to HBO content as well as early access to many hit shows from the US and elsewhere; Netflix, meanwhile, has to wait for the home video release period to end before they can get a series up on their service.

When it comes to movies, Foxtel Now has access to the newer stuff much sooner as well; Netflix generally aims once again for movies that have already done the rounds on home video and paid streaming, whereas Foxtel Now can get hold of more blockbuster movies sooner.

One thing Netflix can’t – and has repeatedly said it won’t – do is live streaming, and it’s there that Foxtel Now gets the advantage – if you want live sport or events, Netflix isn’t what you’re after.

Stan Vs Foxtel Now

Fresh and slightly rebellious Stan has at its core the same streaming model as Netflix, and they do produce some high quality original content – Wolf Creek, Bloom and the Logie award-winning No Activity in particular. They operate on a model overall of supplying a bunch of movies and TV series for people to binge on, and that’s a model that’s worked well.

But Stan pokes into Foxtel Now’s territory when it comes to current shows – that output deal with US premium cable network Showtime lets them stream brand new dramas and documentaries (such as Billions or The Circus) hours after they air in the US, and back in 2017 they premiered the reboot of the classic David Lynch series Twin Peaks – which was as big an event as any Game of Thrones season.

In movies, Stan does do both the mainstream and the blockbuster, but they’re movies that generally are well past their stay in the retail market. They go beyond that, though, by venturing heavily into non-mainstream movies – Australian classics, film festival favourites and fascinating movies from around the globe – including some decidedly challenging offerings. However, Foxtel Now does have access to many of those movies as well.

Again, though, there’s no live streaming – sports, news or anything else. Until 2021, that is. Because with the announcement of Stan Sport, the gauntlet’s been thrown down in a big way.

While full details of Stan’s upcoming sport play aren’t public yet, we do know that it’ll be an add-on to your existing Stan subscription that opens up access to the sports their owner Nine has obtained the exclusive rights to. That means Super Rugby on Stan Sport for starters (a code Foxtel’s had the rights to for years) and rumour has it that grand slam tennis is on the list of sports to entice fans over to Stan. It’s going to be a great year for sport fans!

Value for Money

The streaming-only services – Netflix, BINGE and Stan – operate on a fixed-price model where your one monthly fee gives you access to everything they have to offer. Netflix can be as low as $10.99/month – though if you want HD, you can bump that up to $15.99, and $19.99 for Ultra HD. Stan gives you access to its entire library in SD for $10 and HD for $14. For 4K Ultra HD, you need to get the Premium Plan for $19/month. BINGE mirrors Stan at $10 and $14 for CD and HD respectively. Fetch TV, meanwhile, can be had for between $6 and $20/month (with a collection of add-on packs available for extra channels – including the beIN Sports pack for an additional $19.99, which is also part of the Foxtel Now sports pack).

Foxtel Now’s pricing makes it a very enticing alternative. With their recently revamped pricing model, you can now avail of the base pack of Pop & Lifestyle for $25/month, which already gives you a lot of viewing options to choose from. If you’re looking for more, you can add premium channel packs on top of that – Drama for $10, Sports for $29, Kids channels for $10, Docos for $10 or Movies for $20.

However, if it’s purely sports you’re interested in, Kayo might be exactly what you’re looking for, with an all-inclusive $25/month price, reduced to a bargain $15/month for a year if you subscribe via your Telstra account. Then again, the upcoming Stan Sport launch may deliver live coverage you can’t find anywhere else.

Which Streaming TV Service is Right for You?

In many ways, Netflix, BINGE and Stan offer a complementary service to what’s offered by Foxtel Now and, to a lesser extent, Fetch TV (the latter having the undeniable drawcard of its versatile hardware). Foxtel Play used to be a similarly priced streaming version of Foxtel, but as Foxtel Now, it’s priced at a point where it’s a real choice for those enjoying the new way of watching live TV. And yes, Foxtel Now does offer on-demand streaming as well.

With such a low cost of entry, you really can’t go wrong with any of these services – but we reckon Foxtel Now, with its low-cost access to channels and shows previously priced way above the new players in the game, is very much worth checking out now that it’s almost criminally cheap to access. You can try it for yourself for ten days free, too by taking advantage of the free trial offer that gives you all of Foxtel Now to explore – so you can see for yourself how broadband is putting television back in your hands.

And for on-demand streaming, BINGE is becoming a massive hit with Australian streaming fans, and it’s not hard to see why – there’s more top-shelf content there than anyone could ever ask for, all for an incredibly low monthly price. You can try BINGE out for free for two full weeks, too – and we highly recommend that you do!

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