hayu vs Foxtel Now vs Netflix: Which Offers the Best Streaming Value


If you’re a huge fan of TV in all its many forms, you’ve never had so much choice thrown at you all at once. Streaming TV is big business, taking in everything from fly-on-the-wall observational drama (something the Kardashian clan have just about made their own) to documentary-like “day in the life” shows. There’s competition shows, cooking shows, talk shows, and much more – decide whether Netflix, Foxtel Now and hayu is the right streaming tv service for you.

Yes, Australia loves its reality TV – which is no doubt why hayu, a streaming service run by NBC Universal that streams only reality TV, chose this country as one of only three around the world it’s set up operations in.

hayu’s immediate appeal is its low price. At $6.99 per month, it’s half the price of Netflix or Stan and yet comes jam-packed with thousands of episodes of reality TV, with new episodes often added right after they air in the US.

But fans of the genre don’t just have hayu as an option. There’s also Foxtel’s revamped and re-priced Foxtel Now streaming service, which mixes live streaming channels with an on-demand library for a price way below that of getting a full Foxtel installation. And while the two services have some shows in common, Foxtel has its own exclusives as well as its own in-house productions.

hayu TV

The appetite for all things reality in the US has seen and explosion of shows there over the past decade or more. Everyone wants to see the latest episodes as soon as possible so they can keep in touch with all the stuff that’s happening, and hayu knows that these shows make perfect binge-watching material. This is precisely why you’ll find not only the very latest episodes of dozens upon dozens of shows, but also multiple entire seasons of them – in many cases, the entire back catalogue.

For example, fans of Keeping Up with the Kardashians can find an epic 15 seasons of the show on hayu in their entirety. So if you want to, you can take a trip back in time and watch the whole saga play out from the very beginning. It’s similar with the Real Housewives brand, where there’s sixteen different full Real Housewives flavours available each of them in their entirety – including the original Real Housewives of Orange County, now clocking up its 13th season.

Aside from the mega-brands, there’s also a wealth of other shows available in hayu’s extensive library. There’s the pro-cooking content show Top Chef to the controversy-filled Mysteries and Scandals to… well, all the other shows featuring the extended Kardashian family!

hayu’s also made itself nice and accessible with apps for the Telstra TV boxes, as well as the Apple TV and most recently, a native app on the popular Fetch TV platform. High definition is streamed when possible (not all the older episodes are in HD, of course) at no extra charge. Mobile devices are covered with an excellent app for iOS and Android that makes it easy to browse the library and can also stream to Chromecast.

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Foxtel Now

While not a dedicated reality-show service like hayu, Foxtel’s keenly-priced streaming service, Foxtel Now, has plenty of reality TV to offer – thanks in no small part to the dedicated channels they have for the genre and associated shows.

Fans of all things TV will want to head straight for the Foxtel Now Entry Pack, which for $25 per month combines Pop and Lifestyle, bundling 11 channels – Lifestyle and Lifestyle Home, Arena, TLC, Lifestyle Food, E, Fox Showcase, Fox8, MTV, 111Funny, and Comedy Channel. Between them, there’s plenty to watch. Arena bundles reality shows, new and old, including the locally-produced Real Housewives shows (Melbourne and Sydney), which is exclusive to Foxtel. Episodes of Top Chef appear here before heading to hayu.

For those in search of something different, there’s Embarrassing Bodies, Project Runway and Million Dollar Listing. Lifestyle focuses more on more grounded stuff including The Great Australian Bake-off¸ Selling Houses Australia and the mini-phenomenon Googlebox (both Australia and UK editions). And with the inclusion of Showcase, you can also enjoy acclaimed TV shows straight from the US, including top favourites Game of Thrones, Westworld, and The Walking Dead.

PackCostIncludes
Pop & Lifestyle (entry)$25/monthShowcase, FOX8, Comedy Channel, MTV. 111 funny, Lifestyle, Arena, E!, TLC
Drama (premium)$10/monthShowcase, BBC UKTV, BBC First, Universal Channel, TV Hits
Sports (premium)$29/monthFox Sports (501, 503, 505, 506, 507), Fox League, Footy Play, BeIn Sport (1,2,3), ESPN (1,2), Eurosport
Movies (premium)$20/monthPremiere, Disney, Masterpiece, Action, Romance, Thriller, Family, Comedy, More, Greats
All Packs Bundle (including Kids & Docos)$104/monthDiscovery, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Turbo, CI, A&E, BBC Knowledge, History, Nat Geo Wild, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Nick Jr, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon

There’s tons more to keep you properly distracted. The big difference with hayu is that while Foxtel Now gives you on-demand access to the shows, you also get live streaming of the actual channels in your pack – so you can literally “tune in” via the Foxtel Now app and see what’s on.

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Foxtel Now has apps for its own dedicated Foxtel Now box, the Telstra TV and Playstation 4, and the excellent companion app for iOS and Android can stream to your Chromecast or Apple TV as well. Live channels and on-demand shows stream in HD on the Foxtel Now box, Telstra TV and Playstation 4, too. For a more comprehensive list of Foxtel Now devices, check out the table below.

DevicesUser Guide
Foxtel Now BoxYes
Sony Android TVYes (2015 models and above)
iOS Mobiles/TabletsYes, via native app (iPhone 4s or above, iPad 2 or above – using iOS9 or above)
Android Mobiles/TabletsYes, via native app (Jellybean 4.1 or above)
PC/MacYes, web browser only (Google Chrome and Safari)
Google ChromecastYes, via casting
Apple TVYes, via AirPlay
Telstra TVYes, all models
PlayStation 4Yes, all models (Foxtel Play on PlayStation 3)
Xbox OneNo – legacy Foxtel Play app only
Selected Samsung, LG Smart TVsNo – legacy Foxtel Play app only

Netflix and Stan

Reality offerings are a little thinner on dominant platforms Netflix and Stan, with Netflix offering only a few to fit the genre – Grand Designs, Project Runway, Skin Wars and a few others including Japanese reality show Terrace House.

Stan has a “Real Life” section that heavily features reality megastar RuPaul, including first-run episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race along with The Hills, Barely Famous and the explicit and controversial Showtime series Gigolos.

Meanwhile, Amazon Prime Video, doesn’t seem interested in the reality genre much at all. The closest they come includes only a handful of documentaries and of course, The Grand Tour (though it could be argued there’s precious little reality in that show!)

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The Verdict

There’s no doubt about it – if reality TV is your thing, then hayu is something you need in your life, especially at the bargain-basement monthly price. With a huge library, excellent apps and a bright, breezy look and feel, it’s a great destination whether you’re bingeing or just browsing for something to watch.

But Foxtel Now’s Entry pack certainly provides stiff competition with a wide variety of shows, exclusive content, live-channel streaming, and an equally bargain-heavy price. You can even have full access for 10 days at no charge!

Still, at $6.99 and $9.99 per month respectively, you could easily add hayu and Netflix to your collection of streaming services without breaking the bank – and if you’re unsure, both will let you try their service free for 30 days.