It’s a streaming world these days – there’s no getting around it. And fans of quality TV and movies have never had it so good! Gone are the days when you’d flick between five channels of an evening hoping to run across something that grabbed your interest (and chances are, the really good stuff was buried at 11.30pm after most people had gone to bed). If you loved a show, you had to be home to watch it, remember to record it, or just miss out. It seems so primitive now.
But then, we’re really spoilt for choice these days, and for not very much money at all. When Stan arrived in Australia with Netflix coming in hot on its heels, the way we watch TV was changed forever – and oh boy, didn’t our broadband plans know it!
Suddenly we’re streaming everything. Dark dramas like Black Mirror and Mindhunter or acclaimed award-winners like The Crown and Orange is the New Black on Netflix. Cutting-edge action comedy like Get Shorty, the poignant Jim Carrey comedy-drama Kidding or the weirdness of Twin Peaks on Stan. Brilliant sci-fi drama like The Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime. And if you’re signed up with Foxtel from Telstra, you can stream a vast array of shows and movies, including the entire HBO catalogue – Game of Thrones, Westworld, Big Little Lies and so much more, as well as thousands of movies.
All this streaming uses data, obviously. And despite massive advances made in squishing high quality video down to a fraction of its size, streaming can still use a lot of data. If you spend any time with your favourite shows and movies on Netflix of Australia, Stan streaming TV, Amazon Prime or even Foxtel from Telstra (where you get free streaming access to almost everything they have to offer, in crisp HD) then you’ll have realised long ago that your budget $25/month “works most of the time” broadband simply won’t cut it, especially not with that 100GB monthly download limit – which seemed like so much data, until streaming arrived to eat it all in days. No, these days, you want a broadband plan that offers unlimited data, so you can stop stressing.
And then there’s the other problem with streaming, so often complained about – buffering. If you sit down to stream your favourite show for the evening and find that it keeps stopping and starting, or try but fail to stream far enough ahead to make things seamless, you may be a victim of the dreaded “peak hour slowdown.” Basically, your internet provider has signed up too many users and not paid for enough capacity to serve them all – so when a whole lot of users all get online and start streaming, a data traffic jam happens and everyone has a bad time.
The best way to solve streaming pain is simply to choose the right internet provider and get yourself a broadband plan that’s designed with streaming and entertainment in mind. In many cases, that can be a real win for you as the customer – since there’s some great bundles out there which give you everything you need, from a fast and reliable broadband connection to the hardware you need to stream like a champion.
Let’s take a look at some of the best bundles currently on offer, especially for the streaming life.
Telstra Broadband – Unlimited + Streaming Bundle
As Australia’s largest communications company – with a vast network as the foundation for everything they do – Telstra has long been one of the go-to companies for fast, reliable broadband. The dreaded peak-hour slowdown was never an issue for Telstra customers, since the company actively monitors capacity on their network and tweaks things to make sure your broadband performance is just as smooth and fast an experience in those key evening times as it is the rest of the day and night.
This bundle, with unlimited downloads and solid 25 Mbps speed, comes with a very nice bonus – the popular Telstra TV 2 streaming box, which will take care of all your streaming needs by giving you access to Netflix, Stan, and of course, Foxtel Now. And just to make sure you’ve got plenty of stuff to stream, you get a 24-month Foxtel Now subscription bundled in as well. With the Telstra TV box usually priced at $192 and Foxtel Now normally $25 per month, you don’t need to be a maths whiz to realise this is great value.
A new addition to Telstra bundles this year is the Telstra Smart Modem, a clever little device that takes advantage of the vast Telstra 4G mobile network to provide an instant and seamless backup for your broadband connection. It’s a fact of life that broadband outages do occasionally happen, but with the Telstra Smart Modem you’ll never be without an internet connection, no matter what.
The Unlimited + Streaming bundle comes in at $99 per month on a 24-month contract – and it includes a home phone line with unlimited local, national and mobile calls, so when you factor the usual cost of a home phone into the equation this is a pretty stunning deal for fast broadband with no data limit.
Dodo Unlimited Supercharged with Fetch TV
Now a part of the massive Vocus network, much-loved provider Dodo has streamlined its offerings in recent years – this is the company that used to bundle things like tablet computers with their internet packages – and now has the undeniable advantage of being on a blazingly fast network that has near-direct connections to the servers that deliver all your streaming TV – Netflix, Stan, Amazon and Foxtel. That means great speeds, no buffering, and a generally seamless streaming experience.
Opting for unlimited data and a 25 Mbps NBN connection speed, you’re up for only $65 per month for your broadband. You get a phone line at no additional cost, a free modem/router if you go for the 24-month plan and no setup or connection fee either.
But the best thing about Dodo is that they offer something not many internet providers do – Fetch TV. This brilliant service is based around the Fetch Mighty set top box, which acts as a free to air TV recorder and a streaming hub not just for Fetch TV’s range of channels, but also for Netflix, Stan and more. You can add a Fetch TV service to your bundle for $15 per month, and then add extra channel packs as you like.
Foxtel From Telstra Broadband Bundles
Now, this might sound like a bit of a contradiction in the streaming era – a broadband plan that comes with a satellite TV service? But it actually makes a lot of sense, especially when it comes to price. Here’s why.
For many people, despite the wealth of stuff available to stream on Netflix, Stan and Amazon, there’s a need for Foxtel there as well, whether for those premium HBO shows you can’t get anywhere else, or the unparalleled live sport coverage that Foxtel is famous for. But Foxtel also throws in their own streaming service with their plans – delivered via the new iQ4 box as well as your mobile devices and desktop or laptop computer, almost everything on Foxtel can be streamed on demand, and all channels streamed live. Want to watch all of Game of Thrones from start to finish in preparation for the new series? You can!
Foxtel From Telstra gives you the chance to bundle your Foxtel service with a fast, unlimited-download broadband service (powered, of course, by the Telstra network) with the highlight being the Sports HD bundle – broadband, all 15 sport channels in HD as well as 45 other channels, with a free iQ4 box included, all for $139 per month. If it’s drama you crave and having a proper Westworld binge is a priority, there’s a broadband bundle with the drama pack for $120/month. Or you can get the lot – every Foxtel channel under the sun, in HD, plus unlimited broadband on NBN or ADSL, all for $209/month.
All the above bundles will serve you extremely well when it comes to streaming all the many and varied services that we now subscribe to (as well as the free ones like YouTube and Twitch). But for sheer entertainment value we’d probably go for one of the Foxtel From Telstra broadband bundles, with the Platinum HD bundle being especially great value. It basically gives you every channel Foxtel from Telstra has to offer (and the ability to stream all of them), and adds fast and reliable Telstra-powered broadband with unlimited data and a home phone line (for the equivalent of only $70 a month for both), with the $209/month total all conveniently summed up on a single bill. It’s a comprehensive entertainment package that’s hard to beat.
There are of course options for those on a tighter budget – the Telstra bundle with Foxtel Now is particularly good – but if you’ve become a fan of having a smorgasbord of entertainment to choose from, you’ll love having live and on-demand access to everything Foxtel From Telstra has to offer.