Review was updated on 5th March, 2021
If you’re the type of person who loves their documentaries, you’ll know the story. Turn on the TV, head straight for the ABC or SBS, hunt around for something interesting to discover. Hunt no further, DocPlay is here.
What is DocPlay?
DocPlay is every documentary lover’s dream. As you’d know, there are platforms that offer this content, from Netflix and Stan to the public library-run Kanopy. But, what’s on offer can be slim pickings if you are after something with a bit of substance to it.
Some streaming services can also tend to be repositories for some seriously dodgy documentaries that hels bulk up the library. When you’re looking for a good documentary to watch and keep bumping up against moon landing conspiracies, “unauthorised” fan-made music docos and a sea of stuff about Hitler, the frustration is very real.
DocPlay solves this in two ways – by only offering documentaries, for starters. Secondly, the key word here is quality – sure, not every topic will be of interest to you, but the DocPlay team has spent time curating a proud library. But, there’s a much better sweetener as the first 14 days are completely free.
In this Review
DocPlay – The Pros and Cons
What can I watch on DocPlay?
DocPlay offers quality content, whether it’s an acclaimed film about rockstars’ backing singers with 20 Feet From Stardom, the environment with Blackfish or religion with Louis Theroux’s My Scientology Movie.
There are sections filled with docos that cover everything from movies to crime, surfing to songwriting and everything in between. With new titles regularly being added, you have a reason to keep coming back. Though, it would already take months to chip away at the existing library.
While DocPlay itself doesn’t produce its own exclusive content, parent company Madman does. Alongside that, DocPlay has a partnership with the Documentary Australia Foundation. Screen Australia also contributes to the running of the service.
|Popular Categories||Docos Featured|
|Popular Titles||Louis Theroux: My Scientology Movie, Searching for Sugar Man, The Cove, The September Issue, Man On Wire|
|Short Films||The Ghost in the Machine, Drummer Girl, The Battle, Land To Vale, Wild Waters|
|Art & Culture||Blank City, McQueen, Trespassing Bergman, Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable, A Matter of Taste|
|Human Interest||Midnight Oil: 1984, Wayne, Machines, 91%: A Film About Guns in America, A Complete History of My Sexual Failures|
|Music||Leonard Cohen: Bird On A Wire, Biggie & Tupac, 20 Feet From Stardom, Broadway Idiot, A Band Called Death|
|Science & Nature||Future Baby, Homo Sapiens, Acid Ocean, Chasing Ice, Blackfish|
|Sports||The Final Draw, The Final Story, Andy Irons: Kissed By God, All For One, The Chosen Few|
How do the documentaries compare?
As far as content goes, Netflix, Stan, Foxtel Now, and even hayu offer a hefty amount of documentaries across different genres. All of these providers offer the same free trial DocPlay does. So, competition can be a little tricky, but does DocPlay offer something they don’t?
hayu, for one, surprisingly offers a lot of true crime documentaries on top of its extensive reality TV show catalogue. As for Stan and Foxtel Now, both offer a range of environmental, cultural, and societal documentaries with a few additions every month. But, if there’s one provider that can really go toe to toe with DocPlay, it’s Netflix.
Netflix also boasts a number of original and highly acclaimed docuseries and films like the massively popular Tiger King, Our Planet, Conversations With A Killer: Ted Bundy, FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, The Keepers, and many more. All these doco offerings from Netflix are more than enough for the moderate doco fan, but if you are more serious and looking for a wider range — specifically, more of Australian documentaries — then DocPlay is the way to go.
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How much does DocPlay cost?
DocPlay is without a doubt much cheaper than its major competitors — especially given that it only has two pricing points and no premium tiers whatsoever. This monthly flat rate of $7.99 a month gives you HD streaming and full access to its entire doco catalogue. If you’d prefer to pay for an entire year upfront it’ll only cost you $79.99, effectively giving you two months of the year completely free (in addition to having your first 14 days free of charge!)
When DocPlay launched, there was originally an option to watch a small selection of docos free of charge, with some restrictions – ads, no HD, no viewing on streaming devices. That free tier looks to have been scrapped now, which makes perfect sense. The value of DocPlay is in the exploration of its library and finding something that grabs your interest, and $7.99 a month for full access to do that is trivial. Unlike most streaming services, you can browse the full library before signing up, to see what you’d be getting.
DocPlay is just one of the many streaming providers now available in Australia. This puts them in direct competition with big-leagues like Netflix, Stan, and Foxtel Now, just to name a few. So how does it compare?
What are DocPlay’s best features?
How to watch DocPlay
While streaming services backed by billion-dollar companies launch with apps on just one or two platforms (hello Ten All Access), the team at DocPlay has clearly recognised how important it is to have solid app support right from the start, and they continue to expand it to new devices.
Their first apps out of the gate were for Apple devices, with iOS and Apple TV both getting beautifully designed, easy to use apps that get you to the content quickly and seamlessly. These apps also let you sign up for a premium account directly on the device, using your iTunes account or Apple Pay for payment rather than directly entering a credit card number. If you choose to subscribe this way, it’ll cost a little more – $8.99 per month or $89.99 per year – to help offset the percentage that Apple takes from every subscription.
Android TV has support which puts the DocPlay app on most current Sony TVs along with popular Android TV powered streaming boxes like Nvidia Shield, the Foxtel Now box and Vodafone TV as well as Google’s popular Chromecast with Google TV device. Just recently, DocPlay has also been made available on all 2016-2019 Samsung TVs via the Samsung TV App Store.
Telstra TV users aren’t left out – DocPlay quickly had an app ready to go for these popular devices, making sure that people using the Telstra TV 3 as their entertainment hub can easily access DocPlay. Chromecast is of course supported directly from the iOS and Android phone and tablet apps.
On the go
The native app offers full support on Android and iOS phones and tablets. All devices support streaming up to 1080p high definition – which covers most modern content, though you will run into the occasional older title that was made before HD become commonplace.
In the game
Released at the end of 2018 was DocPlay’s app for the Xbox One game console, which is a popular choice for watching video as well thanks to its superior format support and quality. There is currently no app available for the Playstation.
Devices supported on DocPlay
– Apple TV: Yes – Download app via the App Store.
– Apple AirPlay: Yes – Use AirPlay to connect to your Apple TV from the DocPlay iOS app or website.
– Telstra TV: Yes – Available on all models.
– Xbox One: Yes
– Smart TV: Yes – Available on Samsung 2016-2019 models.
– iOS devices: Yes – Download the app from App Store.
– Android devices: Yes – Download the app from Google Play Store.
– Android TV: Yes – Available on all Sony Android TVs and other Android TV devices.
– Google Chromecast: Yes – Cast shows directly to your TV using Chromecast from the DocPlay iOS & Android apps or website.
– Foxtel Now Box: Yes – Install DocPlay from the Google Play Store on your device.
Last audited 18 May 2021
How to contact DocPlay
If you want to get into direct contact with DocPlay, the best way to do so is to send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. They also offer a web form for direct contact. If you want to let DocPlay know what they do well or what you think they could do better – or if you just need something clarified – simply click the ‘feedback’ button in the bottom right corner of each screen on their website.
If you are a fan of serious documentary filmmaking and find nothing more relaxing than to sit down and watch a real-world story being told, DocPlay is most definitely for you. With a single-tier monthly (or annual) price that’s hard to beat at a mere $7.99, quality apps on almost all key platforms and a company backing it that has access to a never-ending stream of content, DocPlay is well worth checking out.