Stan, the plucky homegrown streaming service appeared seemingly from nowhere. Ever since, the platform has tried to establish dominance in what is rapidly becoming a crowded entertainment marketplace. How does it stack up against Foxtel Now? We put them head-to-head.
The official Stan TV streaming service launched back in January 2015, after a short period of hype. It gave no reason as to why it has such a bizarre name beyond brand spokesman, Rebel Wilson, confirming that “It’s not named after the Eminem song, I checked.” Go figure.
Foxtel Now is Foxtel’s answer to the problem of their service needing a hardware installation. It lets subscribers watch content from a wide range of channels, direct to their TV, without the trouble of installing a set-top box or satellite dish. Cheaper than your usual Foxtel install, how does it stack up against Australia’s own SVOD contender?
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What do Stan and Foxtel Now Have to Offer?
If you’re buying into an all-you-can-eat streaming package, what you’re really interested in is the content and the price. The quality of exclusive shows and movies is about equal, although Foxtel Now gains favour with exclusive access to HBO shows, as well as live streaming sports. The downside is the additional cost for these Premium Packs. While the starting price is $10/month, if you add everything on together, it ends up costing $104/month. This is great if you’re continually after on-screen entertainment, but if you’re just after casual watching, the price feels a bit steep.
On the other hand, Stan gives you movies and TV for just $10/month in SD — HD costs $12/month. And while Foxtel has significantly more content available at the same starting price point, Stan has the edge in offering value for money through a simple flat monthly cost. All in all, both streaming TV deals are pretty appealing. Stan also offers a Premium Plan for $15/month that allows you to watch titles in 4K Ultra HD.
Foxtel Now offers a variety of pack choices separated by groups of channels, with the cost of entry a similarly low $10/month:
|Essentials + Drama pack||$10||
|Essentials + Sport pack||$29||
|Essentials + Movie pack||$20||
|All Packs (including Kids & Docos)||$104||
What Sort of Exclusive Content Do They Have?
The content lineup on Stan is quite extensive, including deals with World Movies, Sony Pictures Television, Viacom, Showtime, Warner Bros, MGM, CBS, ABC, and the BBC. These deals provide Stan subscribers with some great TV, including exclusives like Sweetbitter, Vida, Twin Peaks, iZombie and Billions. Check out the top shows to stream on Stan this month.
Using our top secret (and totally not guessing) technique, we estimate that Stan has around 1000 movies and 370 TV shows. Kids even have their own section on the site, with content divided up nicely into categories such as “Sugar and Spice”, “Watch with the Family”, and “Nickelodeon”. Apart from this, there is a great combination of upcoming and popular shows offered.
With Foxtel Now, it’s hard to say exactly what’s available at any given time, as the viewing experience changes depending on the Genre Pack you have chosen. “Docos” gives you documentaries, “Lifestyle” provides lifestyle channels, “Kids” delivers child-friendly programming, “Drama” brings gripping programming like Westworld and Game of Thrones, and “Pop” lets you enjoy a mix of shows. Here are the top shows to stream on Foxtel Now this month.
Topping these options off are the Premium Packs — Sports and Movies. They both do what they say on the tin and are added on top of one (or more) of the Genre Packs that you select when signing up.
Both Stan and Foxtel Now are committed to expanding their libraries. Currently, Stan is leading by quite a way when it comes to movies, while Foxtel carries more international TV programming.
The User Experience
The signup process for Stan was simple. Once we had made sure that we were using a compatible device, we were able to access content within minutes.
Anyone already using Netflix (as more than a third of Australians already are) will find it a breeze to navigate Stan. On the homepage, an almost full-screen carousel displays popular shows. Moving down reveals a list of genres with thumbnails which automatically scroll left or right if you hover your mouse over the very beginning or end.
Searching for content on Stan is easy, with the search function accessible from any page. There is no autocomplete function, but spellings don’t need to be exact. Typing in Luther returns the BBC crime drama Luther — as does typing in “Luthor”.
Signing up for Foxtel Now is a little different. Subscribers choose from a range of Genre Packs. The genres are Drama, Pop, Docos, Lifestyle, and Kids. There are two other Premium Packs available — Sports and Movies. For football fans, a further three English Premier League channels are available as well, which are included at no charge with the Sports Pack.
Foxtel Now’s main screen shows a mix of the latest and most popular content available. The screen is split between two panels: Live TV and On Demand.
The Live TV section shows all the channels available on Now. Anything that’s not included in your pack is greyed out. Then there’s a half-screen guide, with an inset video stream of the channel you have selected and a detailed “now/next/later” guide.
The On Demand panel displays featured content that is available to stream on demand. Intuitive filters and sorting tools let you search quickly and accurately. You can rank results alphabetically, restrict the results to show content from channels you subscribe to, or filter out everything except movies or TV shows. You can even sort your results according to release date and popularity.
How to Access Stan and Foxtel Now
On its front page, Stan advertises the fact that you can “watch Stan on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone”. However, you’ll need to dig a little deeper and visit the “help” section to find out if you can genuinely view content from Stan on your favourite device. Chromecast, Apple TV, and most Smart TVs are compatible if you want to start watching on the big screen. Stan is also available on Xbox One, Playstation 3 and 4, Telstra TV, Android TV, and Fetch TV, with more devices on the way.
You may be in the clear if you’re planning to watch on your brand-new Android mobile phone or tablet running the latest edition of the OS, but don’t take it for granted. All Apple devices running iOS 7 and above are okay though.
Stan also officially supports laptops or desktops running Chrome, Firefox, IE, or Safari. But again, you’ll need to look closer. Stan would not run at all on our Chromebook, and it required extensive workarounds to get Stan running on our Linux system. However, Stan has since rolled out an HTML5 version of their web player. This will enable it to work in the Chrome browser on all supported operating systems.
Stan allows streaming to only one screen at a time on the Basic Plan (they don’t require users to register their devices). If you get the Standard Plan you can stream on three devices at the same time, and Premium Plan subscribers can use four.
Foxtel Now is available on a wide range of platforms. Subscribers just need to install the relevant app on their preferred devices. Devices include PC/Macs, mobile devices, Chromecast, PS4, and Telstra TV, along with Foxtel’s own Foxtel Now Box. The Foxtel Play app is still available for the Xbox One, PlayStation 3, recent-model LG, Sony, and Samsung Smart TVs and Samsung Blu-Ray players.
The only drawback here is that Foxtel Now limits the number of devices that can access a particular subscription. Users can register up to five devices they want to use with Foxtel Now and only two screens can be active at any given time.
In short, both Stan and Foxtel Now should be compatible with most devices. However, there are exceptions, not all of which are publicised.
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Stan is accessible on a large range of devices.
|Device||Does it work?|
|Smart TVs||Samsung, Sony, LG, Hisense, Philips & TCL|
|Apple TV||3rd Generation and up|
|Android TV Devices||Yes|
|Computers (PC & Mac)||All web browsers, latest version preferred
Native app for Windows 10
|iOS and Android Phones & Tablets||iOS Version 7 and above (9.3 required for downloads)|
|Android Phones & Tablets||Android Version 4.2 and up|
Foxtel Now, meanwhile, covers many different platforms as well, though not all of them in HD:
|Device||Does it work?|
|Computers (PC & Mac)||Yes (Chrome and Safari browsers only) (HD)|
|iOS and Android Phones & Tablets||Yes (HD)|
|Telstra TV||Yes (HD)|
|Apple TV||Via AirPlay Only (HD)|
|Foxtel Now Box||Yes (HD)|
|PlayStation 4||Yes (HD)|
|Smart TVs||LG, Sony, Samsung|
Stan vs Foxtel Now — Which One Wins?
In the end, it comes down to this: If you want access to Foxtel, but don’t want to deal with cables, proprietary set-top boxes, or lock-in contracts, then Foxtel Now is the service for you.
If flat pricing and binge-watching is your thing — and you don’t plan on watching too much television — then Stan should be your choice.
Stan and Foxtel Now are both solid, homegrown TV products, and both can offer exceptional viewing and value for your money — you really can’t go wrong with either of them!
And you’re lucky because both providers offer free trials! You can try Stan free for 30 days, or take a look at Foxtel Now’s two-week FREE trial.