Is it possible to choose between Netflix vs Stan? How do their libraries stack up? How’s the service quality? What about their subscription prices? How easy are they to use? Are there any features that put one ahead of the other? Read on to find out how these two excellent services compare!
Stan launched in Australia back in January 2015, and offers unlimited viewing from a big library.
Its parent company StreamCo is co-owned by Nine Entertainment Co. and Fairfax Media – meaning it has access to some well-known titles. These include exclusive offerings like Electric Dreams, iZombie, Better Call Saul, Will & Grace, The Girlfriend Experience, The Detour, Black Sails, Good Behaviour and Friends, as well as an extensive selection from US cable giant Showtime’s catalogue that includes Billions, White Famous and the new season of Twin Peaks.
Australian content includes shows such as the complete series of Rake, Summer Heights High, Frontline, The Hollowmen, Underbelly, Mother & Son and Love Child. And Stan has begun producing its own content, too – so far with the half-hour comedy series No Activity and two seasons of the high-budget horror-drama series Wolf Creek. Most recently, Stan’s 6-part series sequel to the movie Romper Stomper was launched.
On the cinematic front, Stan delivers modern titles like John Wick, Kill Switch, San Andreas, The Zookeeper’s Wife and Miss Sloane as well as older favourites like Men In Black, Jumanji, Ghostbusters and Jerry Maguire.
Meanwhile, Netflix Australia offers dozens of its own award-winning titles, including House of Cards, The Crown and Altered Carbon, and the show they produce with Marvel Comics – including Jessica Jones and Daredevil – are also attracting viewers’ attention.
Australian-produced content available on Netflix includes Offspring, The Time of Our Lives and Glitch.
Looking at the libraries, it’s clear that Stan offers Australian viewers more content. However, SVoD libraries aren’t static offerings. Companies buy, swap and extend broadcasting rights to certain programmes and movies. In that light, the perceived value of any SVoD service becomes quite subjective. Libraries change – and so does what the viewers enjoy.
Stan’s library is smaller than Netflix’s, but offers far more content for niche audiences, including foreign and arthouse films as well as less mainstream TV shows. There’s a bit of crossover between the two, but with Netflix’s library dominated by their original shows and movies, Stan tends to be the first port of call for more classic material. Netflix got off to a slow start in Australia, but their local library is now very large and frequently updated.
It’s clear that Stan offers viewers more content, as Australia users of Netflix can’t access around 7/8 of the titles available to US customers. Photo: Supplied
Stan is available on a wide range of devices, including both iOS and Android tablets and smartphones. It’s also available on laptop and desktop computers with modern browsers. Apple Airplay and Google’s Chromecast are also compatible with Stan’s mobile apps. Additionally, Stan has apps available for select Smart TVs, current gaming consoles, Apple TV, Fetch TV and Telstra TV, and there is also now an Android TV app that works even on imported Android based streaming boxes like the Nvidia Shield.
Netflix has apps available for just about every device. It’s available on most modern smartphones and tablets, modern browsers, gaming consoles, Blu-ray players and Smart TVs, as well as Windows 10 via a dedicated app. It’s clear that Netflix has had years of development to refine their streaming technologies.
It’s pretty much a draw. Netflix edges ahead for owners of more obscure devices, and those of us with an older Smart TV, but Stan has been constantly adding and updating apps to the point where they’ve pretty much caught up.
The sign-up processes for both services are very simple, and take about one minute. They also both offer a 30-day trial experience from the day of sign-up. One difference is that Netflix gives you the opportunity to pay with PayPal. It also offers to remind you when your trial expires.
Stan needs a minimum connection of 2Mb/s for streaming. For buffer-free viewing, they recommend a 3Mb/s connection for standard definition. At 1080p, subscribers need a minimum broadband connection of 7.5Mb/s for buffer-free HD display, while those streaming at 4K will want a connection capable of at least 15Mb/s.
Netflix adjusts streaming quality based on the connection available. It also depends on the subscription package – more on that below. The minimum recommended broadband speed is 1.5Mb/s for standard definition. This moves up to 25Mb/s for subscribers making use of 4K streaming.
Speaking of 4K, both Netflix and Stan offer a selection of Ultra HD shows and movies to stream on your new 4K smart TV – if you have a fast enough broadband connection. Stan’s 4K library is still very small – but growing steadily, and showcased by original productions Wolf Creek and Romper Stomper which were both made in the format. Netflix, meanwhile, has plenty of 4K content – including most of their original productions – with some available to stream in HDR if your TV supports it.
Stan’s entry level rate of $10/month is now called the Basic plan. This price gives you access to the entire library in standard definition and viewing on one screen at a time – just sign up and start watching. New subscribers also get a 30-day free trial. The Basic plan is great for those watching on mobile devices, but there’s also a $12 Standard plan (HD available and 3 screens) and a Premium plan for $15 (HD and 4K available, 4 screens). Currently, no Australian ISPs offers unmetered access to Stan’s content.
Netflix offers three tiers of subscriptions. The Basic plan brings the full catalogue to a single screen for $9.99/month. The Standard pack is $13.99/month and enables streaming to two screens simultaneously. And the Premium pack brings streaming to up to four screens for $17.99/month. Again, there are no lock-in contracts, and new users can check out Netflix for free for 30 days. Netflix limits HD viewing to Standard subscribers, and Ultra HD (4K) to the Premium plan. Both iiNet and Optus have offered broadband packs with unmetered viewing for Netflix in the past, but both ISPs now let their unlimited-download plans get customers the same result.
All in all, both TV streaming offers are pretty appealing.
Stan offers an extensive and growing help service. The Stan Help Service is streamlined and easy to navigate. Every article offers links to helpful resources. Subscribers can submit written help requests and even files directly through the help interface, and support through Facebook is lightning-fast. As usual, lost passwords are easily recovered using an automated email system.
The Netflix Help Centre offers subscribers quick links to frequently-asked questions. These are alongside with a searchable library of helpful answers. Users can chat with an online representative, after about a one-minute wait. Customers can also call Netflix directly, with a one-minute wait time in most cases. Lost passwords are easily resolved, with subscribers getting email support in seconds.
Stan makes it easy to find shows and movies across a range of genres and it lets subscribers add content to a list for later viewing. The interface also delivers brief descriptions, classifications and viewing times. Additionally, Stan offers suggestions based on what both you and other customers have viewed. This works well when combined with the “my list” feature. Maybe you start watching one movie and Stan suggests something similar. Instead of writing it down, you just click a button and Stan remembers the title for later.
Netflix features a personalised online interface that offers viewing options based on subscriber feedback. Users can rate what they watch with a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, and get recommendations based on their feedback. You can also add programs and movies to your list for later viewing. Netflix’s apps have a consistent look and feel no matter what device you’re using, with full-motion previews playing as you browse through content and suggestions for what to watch next displayed at the end of each episode or movie.
Choosing Between Stan and Netflix
Both Stan and Netflix offer compelling reasons to sign up. The content they provide is excellent and the availability is improving all the time.
On one hand, Stan delivers a massive content library. Many well-known titles are exclusive to Stan, making this a valuable selling point. The interface is slick and easy to use, and their library offers a lot of content that you’re not going to find anywhere else.
Netflix offers a vast library of shows and movies including a seemingly endless list of originals that you can’t see anywhere else. Like Stan, the service keeps track of what you’re watching, so if you’re interrupted you can find where you left off without fuss. Netflix also offers suggestions based on your viewing habits and customer ratings.
Right now, in terms of content, Stan comes out just ahead of Netflix. Its library features a good range of content, much of it exclusive. However, on self-produced content and technical slickness, Netflix has the lead. The buffer-less viewing make watching movies and series a breeze, while the $9.99 entry point is easily affordable.
Speaking of commitment, both services offer 30-day Free Trials. They both charge by the month and subscribers are not bound by contracts. So you can switch back and forth between these services on a monthly basis. You know, if you want to. Simple!