Review: Best Movie Streaming Service for Australia


best movie streaming service

Whilst the rest of the world has been drowning in streaming movie options for years, it’s only relatively recently that we’ve gotten to splash around with some of these Streaming Video On Demand Services (SVODs). So, which is the best serviceout there? Perhaps more importantly, which one meets your particular needs?

Arriving at a conclusion isn’t quite as simple as it may seem. Is it the service with the video library so large that you’ll never leave your home again? Or the one which will actually put your 52 inch high-definition plasma TV through its paces? Allow CompareTV to be your helmsman as we navigate the deep and occasionally baffling waters of movie streaming. If you’re looking to stream TV shows live with ease, you’re in the right place.

Netflix

Price
Range
Ease of Use

Netflix launched in Australia in early 2015 after months of anticipation, with over 1,100 titles in its library. Although the initial offer of movies and TV shows wasn’t as generous as in the US, it’s been steadily growing since launch. Plus, the service still provides subscribers with thousands of quality streaming titles. Moreover, users get access to Netflix’s highly acclaimed original content – which includes shows like Jessica JonesDaredevilSense8NarcosOrange Is the New BlackHouse of CardsStranger ThingsThe CrownBlack Mirror, 13 Reasons Why, and more.

Netflix’s basic membership is the cheapest on this list – only $9.99/month to stream content in standard definition, to one screen at a time. The service comes with a one-month free trial and without any contracts, so users can cancel their subscriptions at any time. As for compatibility, it runs on just about any platform, with ease.

Cost: three tiers, basic ($9.99), standard (HD, $13.99), premium (4K Ultra HD, $17.99); no contract.

Platforms: PC/Mac, tablet, mobile, Apple TV, Chromecast, Fetch TV, Playstation, Xbox, Telstra TV, Smart TVs.

Screens: unlimited devices; 1 stream (basic), 2 streams (standard), 4 streams (premium).

Key content: Netflix Original content including House of CardsStranger ThingsThe CrownOrange is the New BlackBloodlineThe Unbreakable Kimmy SchmidtGrace and FrankieSense8Jessica JonesDaredevil and more, plus first-run streaming rights to films from the Disney and Marvel catalogues. In Spring 2017, Netflix users can stream Stranger Things Season 2, Haters Back Off Season 2, as well as weekly episodes of DynastyDesignated Survivor, and Star Trek: Discovery.

Trial period: 30 Days Free

Foxtel Now

Price
Range
Ease of Use

This streamlined IPTV service from Australia’s biggest cable TV company is the ideal option for people who are interested in what Foxtel has to offer, but prefer to avoid signing a contract for a cable subscription. In this case, all you need to do is sign up for an account on the Foxtel Now website and choose a package that best suits your streaming needs. You pay on a monthly basis and you can cancel or change your subscription from month to month.

The price for the service starts at $10/month, depending on the content packs you opt for. There are five basic packs – Lifestyle, Kids, Docos ($10/month each), Drama and Pop ($15/month each or $25/month both). Foxtel Now also offers two premium packs – Movies, at $20/month and Sports, at $29/month. Foxtel Now, formerly known as Foxtel Play, should be the perfect pick for Game of Thrones fans, since the cable company owns the rights to screen the series in Australia.

Cost: tiered by genre ($10-15/month), premium Movies $20/month, premium Sport $29/month.

Platforms: PC/Mac, tablet, mobile, Chromecast, Telstra TV (HD), PS4. The old Foxtel Play app still available on selected smart TVs, Playstation 3, XBox One.

Screens: 3 devices; 2 streams.

Key content: first-run episodes of Game of ThronesWestworldFear The Walking DeadThe 100SuitsPretty Little LiarsLast Week TonightRay Donovan, in addition to Foxtel Originals like Wentworth and The Real Housewives of Melbourne, plus up to 69 linear streaming channels including live sport. In Spring 2017, new shows available on Foxtel Now include A Place to Call HomeSupergirlThe FlashMr. Robot, and The Walking Dead.

Trial period: 10 Days Free

Foxtel Now

Stream the best TV, Live and On Demand. No installation, no lock-in contract, no waiting.

Stream the world’s best dramas, latest entertainment shows, live sport and Hollywood blockbusters.

Stan

stan
Price
Range
Ease of Use

Stan has an extensive collection of movies and TV shows, at a good price – $10/month for its SD-only entry-level subscription (HD is $12 per month, and 4K streaming runs to $15 a month). It’s important to note that users are allowed watch on up to three screens at the same time on the $12 HD plan, (or four screens on the 4K plan) which can be a plus for families or roommates sharing the cost. The service comes with a one-month free trial and no lock-in contracts. Also, it supports multiple platforms – PC/Mac, smart TV, tablet, mobile, Apple TV, Playstation 3 and 4, Telstra TV, Fetch TV, Xbox One and Chromecast. It has a great interface, offers fast HD streaming, and is extremely easy to use.

Another great thing about the service is that it gives users the option to choose the image quality of the stream. There’s an automatic setting that adapts the bit rate according to the quality of the connection. But subscribers can also choose to stream in SD or HD, depending on their bandwidth.

Cost: $10/month SD, $12/month for HD, $15/month for 4K UHD.

Platforms: PC/Mac, smart TV, tablet, mobile, Apple TV 3 and 4, Chromecast, Playstation, Xbox One.

Screens: unlimited devices; 3 streams.

Key content: exclusive rights to Twin PeaksYoungerRoadiesBetter Call SaulCommunityAsh Vs Evil DeadiZombieBillions, Power and Preacher; streaming rights to Breaking BadThe BridgeSherlockEye Candy; original content like Wolf Creek, The Other Guy and No Activity, along with stand-up comedy specials. In Spring 2017, Stan subscribers can get ready to stream all 12 seasons of Supernatural, as well as new series White FamousClaws, and the Will & Grace revival.

Trial period: 30 Days Free

iTunes

itunes
Price
Range
Ease of Use

As one of Apple’s biggest money spinners, iTunes offers to supply and remotely store all of your media content and movies.

Unlike Stan or Netflix, there is no all-you-can-eat option for a monthly fee. Instead, iTunes allows you to either rent movies for around $6.99, or buy them outright for around $20-30; while, typically for digital media, not allowing you to lend the titles out or sell them on.

iTunes can stream to most Apple devices and other compatible hardware, with native playback built into everything Apple; Windows PC users aren’t left out, with a fully-featured iTunes client available for that platform as well.

Cost: Movies rentals from $6.99 or buy from $9.99 to $24.99 (no contract) / TV Shows single episodes from $3.49 or buy from $14.99 (no contract).

Platforms: PC/Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, iPod classic or iPod nano, TV through Apple TV.

Screens: You can move purchased movies or TV shows between devices as often as you want, but you can only have it on one device at a time.

Key content: Latest seasons of TV shows like HomelandNashvilleFargoThe BlacklistDoctor Who; movies like Ghost in the Shell, The Fate of the Furious, The Martian, Mad Max Fury Road.

Trial period: none.

Google Play

google play
Price
Range
Ease of Use

Apple’s main competitor in virtually every area, Google has made sure to cover the streaming market as well. Like iTunes, Google Play doesn’t offer an all-in streaming option, but instead will rent or sell content to you for a similar price. In case you think we’re Apple bashing here, we have to point out that Google will not allow you to lend out the movies you own either.

It’s worth pointing out here that the Google Play Movies app is available on iOS, and iTunes will run on Android. Aside from being invested into either ecosystem, there is nothing to differentiate the two services.

Cost: Movies rentals from $3.99 or buy from $12.99 (no contract) / TV Shows single episodes $3.49 or buy seasons from $19.99 (no contract).

Platforms: There’s alist as long as your arm – it’s best you visit their supported devices page.

Screens: You can download purchased movies and shows on up to five devices using the same account. You can download movies and shows you’ve rented to one device at a time. Once you’ve downloaded a video to one device, you won’t be able to stream it on another.

Key content: Latest seasons of TV shows like HomelandNashvilleFargoThe BlacklistDoctor Who; movies like Ghost in the Shell, The Fate of the Furious, The Martian, Mad Max Fury Road.

Trial period: none.

Conclusion

We’re not going to come out and declare a clear victor in the grand battle of streaming services, because it really comes down to which of these services best fits your needs.

Sadly, iTunes and Google Play are ruled out due to their rent or buy pricing model.  For people who want to watch more than two films per month this get pretty expensive… ouch!

For the avid movie lover on a limited budget, we’d be remiss if we failed to recommend either Stan or Netflix. They both have unlimited streaming, and are pitched at a near identical price point. But if you’re after live sports and Foxtel content, Foxtel Now is the service for you.

With the catalogues expanding weekly, it’s a game of try before you buy with most of the providers. You may even end up subscribing to two or more services (like us streaming junkies!) to get the exact shows and movies you’re after.

Frequently Asked Questions about Streaming TV

  • What is Streaming TV?

Since the birth of television, we’ve gotten all our TV via broadcasts – signals containing continuous TV channels sent out to anyone who can pick them up. Streaming TV is completely different – you choose what show or movie you want to watch from an app on your TV or a device, and it’s then sent to you via your broadband internet connection. It’s called “streaming” because you watch it as it’s being sent to you, rather than downloading it to watch later.


  • How Do You Stream to Your TV?

If you’ve got a recent model TV, it’s almost certainly what’s known as a “smart TV” – in other words, it can download and run apps. The most popular apps for smart TVs are those for streaming services, and that’s because it’s easy to just sit back and load up the app for your favourite service and start watching. But smart TV support for each streaming service varies, so if you’re watching a lot of it, the better option is to buy a dedicated streaming device like Telstra TV or Apple TV, or get a low-cost device called a Chromecast so you can send streaming TV to your screen from a phone or tablet app.


  • How do you Stream from an iPad, iPhone or Android Phone to a TV?

Streaming is really easy on modern smartphones and tablets, but not everyone wants to watch their shows and movies on a tiny screen. You can fix that easily with a small device made by Google called Chromecast. It plugs into a spare HDMI port on your TV, and connects to the same Wi-Fi network that your phone is on. Once it’s set up, all you need to do is load up your favourite streaming app – Netflix, Binge, Kayo and hundreds of others – and tap the little TV screen icon in the top right corner to connect to Chromecast. Then everything you play will stream direct to your TV.


  • Can You Stream from an iMac or PC to a TV?

If you’ve got a fairly recent model of Mac or PC, you’ll almost certainly find a HDMI video output socket on the back (or side, in the case of laptops) of the computer. If you have one of these, streaming direct to your TV is easy – just connect it to a spare HDMI input on your TV with a cable and switch to that input, then start streaming. Other computers may have different video connectors, such as Mini DisplayPort, USB-C or Thunderbolt; these can connect to your TV as well, but you’ll need a special adapter cable to do so. An easier option in those cases may be to use a Chromecast connected to the TV, sending video to it from the Google Chrome web browser.


  • How Do You Stream Netflix to a TV?

Of all the streaming services, Netflix is the one that almost every smart TV and streaming device supports – in fact, if you’ve bought a TV, disc player or streaming device recently, it’ll probably have a big red and white Netflix button on its remote control! All you need to do to stream Netflix on any TV is just load up the app and sign in with your account email and password – it’ll load up all your profiles, favourites and watch lists so you can pick up on the TV where you left off on the phone or PC.


  • Do I Need a Streaming Box with a Smart TV?

While you’ll find Netflix support on pretty much every smart TV, the other streaming services you can access on that TV will vary greatly depending on the brand, model and year of your TV. The much better solution if you’re streaming all the time is to buy a dedicated streaming box. These smart little devices plug into your TV via HDMI and act as a sort of “one-stop shop” for all the different streaming service apps, so you can stream from any of them from the one remote control. The best streaming boxes are the ones with the widest app support – with the Telstra TV and Apple TV at the top of the list. They’re both priced just above $200, but the Telstra TV can be had for $9 a month if you’re a Telstra customer, making it a great affordable streaming upgrade.


  • Is Foxtel Now the Same as Streaming TV?

While Foxtel Now offers plenty of shows and movies for you to watch on demand, its main purpose is to deliver Foxtel’s live TV channels to you as they’re broadcast – but via streaming rather than satellite. The way this is done is very much the same as other streaming services, except that each channel is its own separate never-ending live stream, and you switch between channels rather than choosing individual titles. It’s designed to behave just like regular TV does, but under the hood it’s a streaming service and as such, it performs best on a fast broadband connection.


  • How Much Data Does It Take to Stream TV?

All streaming TV uses an amount of download data on your broadband plan – so if you’ve got a monthly download limit, you’ll want to keep an eye on just how much data is being used. That amount varies greatly between different streaming services, but as a general guide, expect to use around 1GB per hour at standard definition, 3GB per hour at HD (high definition) and 7GB per hour at 4K Ultra HD quality. We’d recommend anyone who streams regularly get a broadband plan with unlimited data – they’re incredibly cheap now.


  • How Do You Stream Kayo to a Smart TV?

Innovative sports streaming service Kayo Sports is still working on apps for a wider range of smart TVs – at the moment, though, they only offer an app for Samsung TVs made in 2017 and later, and for TVs running the Android TV operating system (like Sony’s recent models). For any other TV, smart or not, you’ll need to use a streaming device, with the best ones for Kayo Sports being Telstra TV (which also lets you subscribe directly from the device) and Apple TV. Kayo also supports Chromecast so you can cast from your phone, but a current-model Chromecast is recommended for best results. Check out our guide for more suggestions.


  • How Do You Stream Foxtel Go to a TV?

Foxtel Go is the app for phones and tablets that’s designed for use by customers of both Foxtel satellite TV and Foxtel Now services. You can stream the live channels and on-demand content to a TV by using the new Foxtel app for LG and Samsung smart TVs, or by streaming from the mobile app to a Chromecast device. However, Foxtel satellite customers will need to add the Multiscreen pack to their account before streaming is possible. Foxtel Now customers can stream on up to two devices at the same time. They can also use the dedicated Foxtel Now box or Telstra TV to stream.


  • How Do You Stream ABC iView, SBS On Demand, 7plus and Others to a TV?

With the free-to-air streaming services – ABC iView, SBS On Demand, 7plus, 9now and 10play – you’ve got plenty of choices to watch on your TV, especially if it supports the “Freeview” standard. TVs that offer Freeview will display a banner when changing channels, letting you access that network’s streaming service with the tap of a coloured button. For easier browsing and streaming, though, almost all smart TVs include apps for all five of the free-to-air networks, as do the to streaming boxes like Telstra TV and Apple TV. All of these apps are completely free to use, though some require you to sign up for a free account, and all (except ABC iView) are supported by ad breaks during your streams.


  • Do Streaming Services Require a Lock-In Contract?

No. That’s one of the best things about all streaming services, including Foxtel Now – there is no need to agree to any sort of lock-in contract. You pay a month in advance for a month’s access and can cancel at any time. Even better, you can re-subscribe later and as long as it hasn’t been too long , you’ll find all your favourites and watch lists right where you left them.


  • Is There a Free Trial for Streaming Services?

The tradition with streaming TV has been to offer new customers a free trial period so they can see if they like what the service has to offer – but not all services have free trials. Most notably, Netflix and Disney Plus don’t offer a free trial at all anymore, so anyone signing up for the first time will have to pay for the first month up front. However, there are still plenty of free trials around, such as Foxtel Now (10 days), Binge (14 days), Kayo Sports (14 days), Amazon Prime Video (one month).


  • Can You Record Streaming TV?

Because it’s designed to be watched on demand, streaming services don’t give you the ability to record shows and movies to watch later. However, some services do allow you to download titles to a mobile phone or tablet to stream later without using the internet. This can be brilliant for when you’re travelling – load up your iPad or phone with some movies or a series, and you can watch them anywhere without incurring a massive mobile data bill. Streaming services that allow downloads include Netflix, Stan, Prime Video and Disney Plus.


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