Netflix Australia Review - Complete guide to the streaming juggernaut


Summary

Our Verdict

Netflix


Topnotch streaming quality & unparalleled range of content with an easy to use app — plus the convenience of paying for your subscription under your Telstra account

 
Overall 89%
Content
Usability
Value

Review was updated on 15th September, 2019

The American streaming giant not just put streaming on the map – it continues to revolutionise the medium. Having established itself as plenty of Aussies’ favourite streaming service – while expanding into original content – there’s little doubt Netflix is here to stay.

Netflix Australia Review

Already a household name by the time it finally arrived in Australia, Netflix is now a global phenomenon that it is the first word people think of when it comes to online streaming. So is it as great as its reputation suggests? We took Netflix Australia for a spin to find out.

Netflix’s popularity comes not only from the content it offers – but the way in which it is offered. Years ago the networks dictated what we wanted to watch – and when we wanted to watch it. Thanks to Netflix, the idea of doing so is not only unfamiliar to millions – but it sounds downright quaint!

Netflix Highlights

  • Free trial offer: 1-month free trial offer, cancel anytime
  • Price: $9.99/mth (Basic), $13.99/mth (Standard), $17.99/mth (Premium)
  • Top content: Stranger Things, Santa Clarita Diet, Black Mirror, Birdbox
  • Streaming devices: iOS/Android devices, Smart TV, Telstra TV, Fetch TV, PC/Mac, Apple TV, Chromecast, Xbox360/One, PS3/4, Blu-ray Players,
  • Support: Phone, Web Form, Email, App

What makes Netflix Unique?

Netflix prides itself on being able to run on just about any platform. If it’s got a screen and an internet connection, you can have Netflix. At the moment, there’s no definitive list published on the site; yet Netflix’s sign-up page states that you can “Watch anywhere” — which is pretty much true! Netflix runs on more than 1,000 different devices and device set-ups. In fact, you will be hard pressed to find something on which Netflix can’t play. There are exceptions (like the Foxtel Now box) but they’re rare.

A quick search found Blu-ray Disc players, tablet computers, mobile phones, high-definition TVs, home theatre systems, set-top boxes, streaming devices, and video game consoles that already come with a “Netflix ready” sticker.

What are Netflix’s best features?

  • Simple, easy-to-use interface
  • Available in HD and 4K
  • Burgeoning library of award-winning original productions
  • Clear pricing structure with no hidden costs
  • Month-to-month billing structure – no long contracts!

How’s the Netflix User Experience?

Netflix tries, on every platform, to give its apps a similar user interface so that everything is familiar. The one notable exception to this is the old 3rd-generation Apple TV, which uses the standard Apple interface.

Programmes and shows get displayed in horizontal rows according to category. Recently watched items are at the top (though sometimes Netflix gets creative and makes you scroll down a bit to find that list). This is super-handy if you’re wading through several series at the same time. Next are the most popular shows on Netflix.

Scroll down a little more and you get to the Suggestions section. It displays programmes based on your previous viewing patterns. When we checked, we had half a dozen rows. The recommendations were based on what other members of CompareTV staff had been viewing. “Because you watched Narcos”, it would say, or “Because you watched Pokémon: Black & White”, and so on — you get the picture.

Netflix Content

Netflix User Suggestions

Now, we could have avoided getting each other’s suggestions — we’d have just needed to set up a different profile for each person who uses the account. Since we were taking turns on the same device, it would have meant creating a profile for every person in the office.

However, the multiple profile option is great — especially if you have kids. It helps keep your viewing history away from sensitive eyes, and updates to the interface have made swapping between profiles a snap.

Genre Suggestions and “My List”

Past the personalised recommendations, you will see shows displayed according to genre. ”British TV Programmes”, “Romantic Films”, “Thrillers”, and “Anime” are there, to name a few. The available choice is incredibly vast. In fact, you might need a good half hour to pick exactly what you’re going to watch this evening.

If you’re having trouble deciding, it’s easy to add movies and shows to “My List”. This lets you create a sort of “to-do” list, and then work through the programmes in turn.

The whole interface is slick, smooth, and beautiful to use. And the search function is one of the best we’ve ever seen. It features auto-complete functions, and the ability to search by title, actors, or genre.

HD and 4K HDR Playback Available

Netflix adjusts playback quality based on available bandwidth and your viewing hardware. So you can watch Stranger Things in glorious 4K HDR with Dolby Atmos surround sound — if you’re lucky enough to have a fast connection and the latest video and audio gear! If the available bandwidth drops for some reason, the picture comes through at lower resolution. It’s a little odd to see this the first time it happens, but it means you rarely experience buffering.

What does Netflix Australia Deliver?

Netflix doesn’t reveal the size of its ever-changing library, but it’s estimated to have around 6,000 titles available to stream. And while not all survived the passage to Australia, Netflix’s in-house productions are all here, including Jessica JonesHouse of Cards, Narcos, Chef’s Table, and dozens more.

And did we mention there’s a decent selection of local content? Well, it’s not available anywhere else. There are even some Australia-exclusive titles — who’d have thought?

However, there are some notable exceptions. These include comedy classics Parks And RecreationBob’s Burgers, and Portlandia didn’t make it onto Netflix Australia. Old favourites such as SlidersX Files, and Xena: Warrior Princess is also missing.

GenreNetflix OriginalsOther Most Watched Shows
Dramas13 Reasons Why, GLOW, Dear White People, The Crown, One Day At a Time, House of Cards, LuciferHow to Get Away With Murder, Suits, Grey’s Anatomy, Breaking Bad, Peaky Blinders, The Blacklist
ComediesOrange Is the New Black, Grace and Frankie, Derry Girls, Sex Education, Santa Clarita DietHow I Met Your Mother, Glee, Modern Family, The Good Place, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, FRIENDS
Sci-Fi/FantasyStranger Things, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, Black Mirror, The OA, Sense8Lost, The 100, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Outlander, The Flash
Crime/ThrillerMindhunter, The Spy, Elite, Designated Survivor, Dark, Ozark, You, Money Heist, Chilling Adventures of SabrinaSherlock, Queen of the South, Prison Break, Homeland, Orphan Black
DocosOur Planet, Fyre, The Confession Tapes, Knock Down the House, Street Food AsiaForensic Files, Conan Without Borders, Man vs Wild, Ask the Doctor, The Vietnam War
KidsCarmen San Diego, The Worst Witch, The Boss Baby Back in Business, 3Below Tales of ArcadiaPeppa Pig, The Wiggles, Teen Titans Go!, Steven Universe, My Little Pony, Totally Spies!, PJ Masks
LifestyleTiny House Nation, The Chef’s Table, The Final Table, Stay Here, Nailed It!, Terrace House, Queer EyeGrand Designs, Shark Tank, Storage Wars, Jeopardy!, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Hyperdrive, Ultimate Beastmaster
MoviesBird Box, Kissing Booth, Point Blank, Bright, Extinction, Someone GreatWorld War Z, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, You’ve Got Mail, Jumanji, The Princess Diaries

Get Your Netflix Fix Free for 30 Days with Telstra

Stream all your favourite Netflix shows and movies and do without the hassle of a separate payment. Simply add it to your existing Telstra bill and kick it all off with a 30-day free trial.

What’s in the Netflix catalogue?

A Netflix spokesman explained that the company never reveals the number of titles in the catalogue “…because it’s irrelevant.” However, because your Netflix account works anywhere in the world, you can access the Netflix catalogues from the US, UK and elsewhere, using a “smart DNS” service to choose the country you appear to be watching from. Netflix has recently started taking steps to shut out users of these smart DNS services, but the services have responded by using their own cleverness to work around it.

How much do Netflix plans cost?

Netflix Australia offers a range of subscription options to suit a wide swath of users, with each plan offered on a monthly basis. First up, the Basic monthly subscription. For $9.99 per month, this option allows the user to stream content in standard definition to one screen at a time.

The next pricing tier, Standard, which comes in at $13.99 per month gives subscribers access to high-definition streaming across two screens — which means there’s less fighting over the account! You can download onto two offline devices.

The top tier, Premium, delivers 4K streaming to up to four devices at the same time for $17.99 per month. Known as ultra-high-definition, this option requires you to have a 4k-capable TV in your home. The caveat, of course, is that this option chews data like nobody’s business. But if you have fast broadband, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Netflix Plans

Premium
  • Service Only Plan
  • 8 Content Genres
$17.99/mth
Min Cost - $17.99 over 1 month

Standard
  • Service Only Plan
  • 8 Content Genres
$13.99/mth
Min Cost - $13.99 over 1 month

Basic
  • Service Only Plan
  • 8 Content Genres
$9.99/mth
Min Cost - 9.99 over 1 month

All these options include a 1-month free trial offer. This begins when you click on “Start Membership” during the subscription process. You can cancel at any time during the first month, without charge.

Netflix Australia Device Compatibility

If you’re watching through a Windows PC, or a Mac, Netflix supports all major web browsers. And if you have a mobile device you’re more likely to be using an app; there’s also a native app for Windows 8 & 10 that brings the full feature set to desktop PCs, including HDR and Dolby Atmos sound.

We used every machine and configuration we had to test Netflix’s compatibility. It worked with our Android phones and tablets, our Apple devices, our PCs and Macs. We didn’t even have a problem with our Linux boxes. Netflix ran without a hitch on both of our Chromebooks. Apple TV was a cinch. And Netflix took to Google’s Chromecast device like it was born for it.

Device Available? User Guide
Apple TV Yes
Chromecast Yes
Smart TVs Yes Select Hisense, LG, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Sony
Gaming Consoles Yes PS3, PS4, PS VITA, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X, Nintendo Wii U
Fetch TV Yes
Blu-ray Players Yes
Select LG, Samsung, Sony
iOS/Android devices Yes
Telstra TVYes
iQ4 Set Top BoxYes
Windows Phone Yes
PCs and Mac Yes
Microsoft Windows XP 3 or later; Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later (Google Chrome 37+, Firefox 3+, Safari 8+, Internet Explorer 6+, Microsoft Edge)
Amazon Fire TVYes
Vodafone TVYes

Check out how Netflix compares to other streaming video services below:

Streaming TV & Movies Plans

Pay Per View
  • Service Only Plan
  • 8 Content Genres
$/ days
You can only purchase TV shows, not rent them.
Min Cost - Depending on title

Basic
  • Service Only Plan
  • 1 Content Genres
$25/mth
$25 for Basic subscription; no lock-in contracts

Monthly Subscription
  • Service Only Plan
  • 6 Content Genres
$6.95/mth
$6.95/month after 30 days free trial

Monthly Subscription
  • Service Only Plan
  • 7 Content Genres
$6.99/mth
$6.99/month after 30 days free trial

Monthly Subscription
  • Service Only Plan
  • 4 Content Genres
$9.99/mth
Min Cost - $9.99 over 1 month

How to setup Netflix and start streaming it

To begin watching movies and TV shows from your PC or Mac:

  1. Open an Internet browser
  2. Go to www.netflix.com
  3. Sign into your Netflix account
  4. Select a title to play
  5. That’s it

Note: you’ll need a Microsoft Silverlight plug-in installed to watch Netflix in some browsers. Netflix will prompt you to download and install the free plug-in if you don’t have it. Newer browsers such as Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome can stream Netflix natively, without the need for Silverlight.

Mobiles, tablets, game consoles, and Smart TVs have an extra step. While connected to the Internet, you just need to download the appropriate app if it’s not already pre-installed. Then it’s a matter of logging in and you’re good to go!

Netflix Australia – The Pros and Cons

The Good

  • Comes with a generous 1-month free trial offer
  • Offers a large and extensive library of shows and movies
  • Seamless and easy-to-use navigation and interface

The Gotchas

  • Does not offer sport on demand
  • Due to licensing issues, some shows/movies are taken out

Netflix Summary: A huge draw for many!

We reckon Netflix is pretty great – and here’s why. The Netflix catalogue is a huge draw for many. The pricing is competitive, and you can watch it in 4K and HD.

Netflix device compatibility is second to none. The number of devices and configurations possible are just HUGE. As always, it depends on what you want to watch, how you want to watch it, and how much you want to pay. But, in summary, Netflix Australia delivers. It’s hard to argue with that.

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