hayu Review – Reality TV Done Right.


Summary

Our Verdict

hayu


A great way to get your reality TV fix without breaking the bank, hayu has the binge-worthy content

 
Overall 85%
Content
Usability
Value

Review was updated on 6th June, 2020

Reality TV is big business in the 21st century, with dozens upon dozens of shows — and their spin-offs — loyally followed by millions of fans every week. hayu changed all that, with a streaming service dedicated only to reality TV shows, top to bottom, up to date and on demand. Some of TV’s biggest shows are listed on hayu, check out below for our full review on the streaming service.

What’s In this Review

What is hayu?

hayu is the streaming service that reality TV fans have long wished for. In recent decades, reality TV shows have arisen as their own genre type – pretty impressive when its relatively humble beginnings are considered. Long thought to be a passing fad, reality TV is here to stay on our screens. The problem for Australian reality TV fans up until now has been actually finding these shows — some are buried in late-night TV listings, some are only available on Foxtel, and some are never seen here at all. That’s where hayu comes in. hayu offers reality TV and only reality TV, with its speciality being new reality content which primarily comes from the United States.

hayu is owned by the giant NBC Universal group, and as such, you’ll only find shows on hayu that they have the rights to. That means you won’t find the latest season of Survivor here, or The Amazing Race, or Hell’s Kitchen, all of which belong to other studios. The dominant force on hayu is the “observational drama” type of show. Given that this is all the rage now, hayu – the trendiest of all the TV options – is proving its street credentials. hayu also links itself closely to social media, offering easily shareable clips from the various shows, as well as the ability to rate each episode with a cute emoji. There’s a “join the conversation” button at the bottom of every playback screen, too, inviting you to add your comments about the episode you’re currently watching.

hayu — Pros and Cons

The Good

  • Delivers anything and everything you want from reality TV, lifestyle, documentaries

The Gotchas

  • Limited shows on offer given its niche offering

What can I watch on hayu?

The TV streaming service has something for every taste — with shows like Below Deck, The Jury Speaks, Top Chef, Botched (yes, more plastic surgery!), hit show Vanderpump Rules, and Hollywood Medium. There’s no shortage of reality TV shows. Plus, hayu’s been steadily adding new content since launch to keep subscribers glued to the screen.

You can watch the Real Housewives shows — all of them, dating back to the 2006 original. Keeping Up with The Kardashians is available, as well as its many spin-offs. Million Dollar Listing is there for the property-minded, while Mel B: It’s A Scary World follows the life of a former Spice Girl. The Platinum Life follows seven women on their journeys through the Los Angeles music scene, while Love & Hip Hop takes music makers and turns them into leads in their own romantic dramas. And how could you resist Ice Loves Coco, where we follow the lives of rapper/actor Ice T and his swimsuit-model wife? A contender for weirdest competition show, by the way, has to go to Bridalplasty: “12 brides compete to go under the knife before their big day”! Even more important, a lot of shows are available the same day as in the US, so you don’t have to worry about spoilers. You can even download episodes on your devices and watch anytime. That means watching an episode while you’re on your way to work without burning through your mobile data!

How much does hayu cost?

There’s only one subscription package for hayu — they keep things nice and simple. The streaming service gives you everything they have to offer for the one price, without having to worry about different membership tiers. For $6.99 per month, you can access hayu immediately. And with the month-to-month pricing structure, you can sign up for as long or as little as you like.

hayu Plan

Plan
Inclusions
Price
Monthly Subscription
  • Free trial
  • Monthly Subscription
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • hayu app: download shows
  • 6,500+ episodes of reality TV
  • $6.99/mth
$6.99/mth
Try for free – subscription required, 7 days free, auto-renews to $6.99AUD/month after unless cancelled.

Last audited 20th of September 2021

It’s an increasingly crowded field in the Australian streaming business, and we’re pretty sure hayu recognised that early on. Australians have always been hungry, early adopters of new technological marvels, and the incredible rise of Netflix’s customer base – into the millions in less than a year — shows that’s still the case. While many people are subscribed to both Stan and Netflix, having another new player come along asking for a monthly fee might seem a bit too much for some.

hayu’s clearly aware of that. They currently operate in the UK, Ireland, and Australia. They’re substantially cheaper here than in those two other countries, as well as offering more device support than anywhere else. The UK and Ireland pay the equivalent of over $9/month for hayu, while we can have it for $6.99/month. Obviously, a reality TV streaming service isn’t for everyone, but if this is your television genre of choice, hayu is an absolute bargain. Plus, hayu makes for a great companion to services like Stan and Netflix, even if you don’t want all the reality TV shows on offer. We all have our favourites! The usual free trial offer is available. You can sign up either via the website (paying by credit card) or using the iOS/Android apps (paying using iTunes or Google Play credit). With iTunes gift cards routinely available at 10-20% off, paying that way can take the price down to under 6 bucks a month.

Get hayu’s free trial offer!

Start streaming the hottest reality shows on TV with new releases express from the US with hayu’s free trial offer. Only pay $6.99 thereafter.

hayu features

We tested hayu on iOS, using both a modern iPhone and an older iPad. On the phone, the app was quick and graphically rich. On the much older iPad, it struggled with the large amount of graphics that needed to load as we scrolled around the various pages. It’s still usable, but can be frustratingly slow. The iPad interface is great, though, so owners of newer iPads will be well pleased. If you’re unsure about whether your device is up to the challenge, note that you can download the app for free. Unusual for a streaming service, you can also browse the catalogue and the various sections of the app before you even create an account.

The Apple TV app, meanwhile, is slick, fast and easy to use — with the main downside being the solid pink hayu logo that sticks in the corner of the screen on every single show that you watch! Both phone and tablet apps support Chromecast for casting to your TV — so you’re not just restricted to the small screen. hayu fully supports high definition for shows made in that format — which is virtually all of them here — and if you’ve got the broadband speed to cope with it, you can stream full 1080p HD to your browser window, device screen, or to your TV.

HD quality and support

We tested out the streaming service’s HD support for both AirPlay and Chromecast, and both worked perfectly — with some differences. With AirPlay, the video started almost immediately after pressing play, but in extremely low resolution. It then increased its resolution in stages until it reached full 1080p HD. It’s a similar system to the one Netflix uses, and presumably is able to drop back down to lower quality if there’s any streaming problems. With Chromecast, after pressing play there’s a fairly hefty delay while the show loads and starts buffering. But once it lands on your screen, it’s 1080p HD right from the start.

Picture quality is extremely good. hayu seems, based on what we saw, to be using a lower bitrate for HD than Netflix or Stan. That means that more people on marginal broadband connections should be able to enjoy the shows at full quality. Sure, it’s not as “Blu-ray-like” as the 1080p streams from the big players, but it’s plenty good enough.

Data usage and wide screen support

Perhaps to help keep the data usage low, most of the shows come only with mono audio — a strange decision, but again, one which has little impact on the content. We had no problems with buffering, stalling, or any other streaming issues, not surprising given the low bitrate (and the fibre connection we were streaming with).

Older episodes of shows such as Real Housewives, though, were a bit more problematic. Reality TV was late to the HD party. First, HD cameras had to get small and portable enough to make it possible. So shows made before 2008-2009 are very likely to only be available in SD. The issue here is that at least some of these older episodes have been encoded as a small stretched “widescreen” image inside a square box inside the HD widescreen frame. End result: tiny image and horizontally stretched people. Hopefully it’s just a technical glitch that will get ironed out down the track. These older shows do have stereo audio, by the way. Subtitles are available for pretty much everything and work perfectly when casting to a TV as well.

Streaming TV & Movies Plans

Plan
Inclusions
Price
Monthly
  • 7-day free trial
  • Monthly
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • Stream on up to 5 devices
  • Watch hundreds of shows and movies ad-free
  • $8.99/mth
$8.99/mth
Min Cost - $8.99 over 1 month

All Access
  • 14 day free trial
  • All Access
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • Get access to more than 20 global & local news sources
  • Stream on 1 screen, HD quality, live & on demand
  • $8/mth
$8/mth
Min Cost - $8/month after 14 day free trial

Monthly Subscription
  • 14-day free trial
  • Monthly Subscription
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • 1000+ award-winning docos online
  • New titles added every week
  • $6.99/mth
$6.99/mth
$6.99/month after 14-day free trial

Monthly
  • New customers: 7-day free trial
  • 3 mos free when you buy an eligible Apple device
  • Monthly
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • 4K HDR included
  • Up to 6 simultaneous streams
  • $7.99/mth
$7.99/mth
Min Cost - $7.99 over 1 month

Basic
  • Free 14 day trial
  • Basic
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • SD or HD, stream on two devices
  • Watch Live NRL, AFL, Super Rugby + more
  • $25/mth
$25/mth
$25/month after 14 days free trial; no lock-in contracts.

Basic
  • Free 14 day trial
  • Basic
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • Stream in SD on a single device
  • 10,000+ hrs of the best shows
  • $10/mth
$10/mth
Min Cost - $10/month after 14 days free trial

Essentials pack
  • 10 day free trial
  • Essentials pack
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • 25+ channels: Lifestyle, Drama, Comedy, Entertainment & more
  • $25/mth
$25/mth
Min Cost - $25 over 1 month

Pay Per View
  • No Subscription Fee
  • Pay Per View
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • Latest releases from the cinema
  • Huge library of movies & tv shows
  • $/ days
$/ days
You can only purchase TV shows, not rent them.
Min Cost - Depending on title

Monthly
  • Monthly
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • Stream in HD on up to four devices
  • Downloads on up to 10 devices
  • $11.99/mth
$11.99/mth
Min Cost - $11.99 over 1 month

Monthly Subscription
  • 14-day free trial
  • Monthly Subscription
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • New docos added weekly
  • Watch on your TV with Chromecast and AirPlay
  • $7.99/mth
$7.99/mth
$7.99/month after 14-day free trial

Monthly Subscription
  • 30-day free trial
  • Monthly Subscription
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • Titles available in 4K
  • Use 3 screens at the same time
  • $6.99/mth
$6.99/mth
$6.99/month after 30 days free trial

Basic - Netflix from Telstra
  • No Contract, Cancel anytime
  • Basic - Netflix from Telstra
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • Stream on one device at a time
  • Watch in SD
  • $10.99/mth
$10.99/mth
Min Cost - 10.99 over 1 month

Last audited 26th of November 2021

How to watch hayu

hayu – an unashamedly modern channel – is offered in an unashamedly modern way. The network is available on a range of popular devices, meaning you can catch up with your favourite reality TV shows pretty much everywhere and anywhere.

hayu’s app support has been expanding slower than many might like, though they had the all-important Apple TV and Fetch platforms covered early — along with Chromecast support. More recently, hayu added support for the Telstra TV and the Amazon Fire TV stick, making it easy for a vast number of people to get hayu shows onto the TV for an end-of-the-day binge. And even more recently, support for Android TV was added, bringing hayu direct to smart TVs that use that system – including most recent Sony models.

Interestingly, the minimum iOS version that the app requires on your iPhone or iPad is now iOS 11. Android similarly requires a relatively recent OS, version 5.1.1 (“Lollipop”). For iOS it’s really not that much of an imposition — iPhone and iPad users tend to keep up to date with the latest OS for their device, and iOS 11 supports everything back to the iPhone 5s and the iPad Mini 2. Android users may find things more difficult, depending on what Android OS is available for their device. It’s worth noting that video quality is impeccable across all platforms. Check the table below for a quick list of compatible devices.

As a side note, the download feature makes it great for mobile devices. If you enjoy tuning in on your commute to work, during a work break, or pretty much whenever you’re out and about, the streaming service has you covered. Simply download the content you want to see when on WiFi and enjoy it anytime.

Best Hardware Deals for Streaming TV

DeviceReviewPriceMore Information
Apple TV 4KRead Review$220Buy Now
chromecast with google TV imageChromecast Ultra Media StreamerRead Review$159Buy Now
fire tv stick 4k imageFire TV Stick 4KRead Review$59Buy Now
Fetch TV BoxRead Review$279Buy Now

Last audited 26th of November 2021

How to contact hayu

To contact or get in touch with hayu customer service, visit their website by clicking the button below or email them on support@hayu.com. Alternately, the quickest way to get in touch with a hayu representative is to reach out to them via Twitter at @hayuhelps. Someone will respond ASAP, since the team is on call 24/7. hayu also has a Facebook page. However, according to the service, Twitter is faster.

hayu verdict

hayu represents a new phase of the streaming video phenomenon in Australia. It’s a content creator grabbing up all the shows in a particular genre, packaging them and selling the lot to a ready-made audience, cutting out the middle-man in the process. They’ve done an excellent job with the service. And as more and more content gets added, there’s going to be more reality TV here than even the most determined binge-watcher could possibly get through.

Plus, the price simply can’t be argued with. Sure, it’s not a one-stop shop for your favourite shows of all genres. But if it’s reality TV that keeps you glued to the couch, hayu is the right streaming service for you.

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