Compare TV Plans: Streaming, Cable and On-Demand
All Things TV in Australia: Compare Providers and Plans and Score the Best Deals
Television forms a big part of most of our lives, no matter whether we’re committed couch potatoes or if we just watch the occasional program – or if we’re somewhere in between. TV has undergone a significant set of change in recent years; television viewers from the 1990s and probably even the 2000s would be unable to recognise modern television. With more options than ever before and a large group of providers all looking to capture your attention with better deals and more extensive options.
We know a thing or two about TV – hey, it’s our name! – and we’re well placed to give you the low down on the current state of affairs and some new trends in the area. From streaming to Pay TV – and don’t forget free-to-air – we’re up to date on everything there is to know about TV. Then there’s bundling, which has become an increasingly popular and affordable way of accessing top-quality TV content for millions of Aussies.
It might seem like an era ago now – and hey, with the way things have changed recently it probably is – but Pay TV was the first time Australian television was truly shaken up in a generation. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Pay TV’s arrival on our shores was the biggest moment since TV broadcasts began in 1956. For a country which had had decades of four, maybe five (if you could get SBS) channels of television, a world of programming was now at our fingertips. The United States had Pay TV since the end of the Second World War and other parts of the globe quickly caught on. It was not until 1995 when Foxtel finally launched in Australia with its cable TV product.
And while the idea of paying for television seemed a little odd at first, plenty of us quickly made the adjustment. It sounds odd now, but never before did we have more than five options of what to watch of an evening. For sports fans, we went from being treated as second-class citizens to having wall-to-wall sports programming with Australia’s first dedicated, sports-only channel. we went from having two or three games of AFL or NRL per round to having pretty much every match available live. Hey, NRL fans even got two competitions to choose from. Since then Pay TV has evolved and changed for the better, giving viewers loads of choice not only of what to watch but what to pay for.
Today, roughly a third of Australians have Pay TV. Although this is low by some international standards, the advent of streaming – see below – and the internet has slowed the roll out somewhat. Australians also tend to watch less TV than people in other countries – thanks, great outdoors! – but in recent years we’ve gotten more and more used to the variety and the quality that’s been provided in contemporary television. These days, Pay TV penetration is light years from where it was just a few decades ago. And with options getting better and better, it stands to reason. Plenty of Pay TV providers in Australia used to operate under a one-size-fits-all scheme, where you were not allowed to pick and choose – and pay for – what you actually wanted to watch. In the most part, these bad days are now over – which has driven the growth of Pay TV to even higher levels.
If Pay TV can be compared to TV’s arrival on our shores, then streaming is definitely when TV went colour. While Pay TV gave us loads more options as to what we wanted to watch, streaming changed the very way we watched television – and changed traditional television in the process. Streaming introduced the concept of ‘binge watching’ shows – don’t get us started on ‘Netflix and Chill’ – where you could watch episode after episode of your favourite series, rewinding and pausing wherever you see fit. It sounds odd to describe it now, but for fans of classic shows like Lost and The X-Files, they’d have to wait a whole week to follow on with a story arc. These days the wait is a mere few seconds.
Netflix of Australia
Aside from giving you an active role in what to watch and when to watch it, streaming – along with Pay TV – improved the quality of television as a whole. These days some of the best entertainment available is on television rather than in the cinema, with modern classics such as Breaking Bad and True Detective being enabled by the structure of streaming television. Then there’s the cash factor – big streaming providers like Netflix now have serious budgets to commission their own shows, something which traditional TV channels have struggled to keep up with. The 2019 Oscar-nominated Roma – a movie which was commissioned and produced by Netflix – had a short theatrical run but was mostly exclusively by Netflix subscribers. With the number of exclusive series, documentaries and stand-up specials exclusively produced by streamers only set to increase, there’s literally never been a better time to be a TV viewer than right now.
Stan and Amazon Prime
So you’ve probably heard of Netflix, but who else is out there on the streaming landscape? Stan is also known to millions of Aussies and is our very own streaming provider. Since being launched as a collaboration between the Nine Network and Fairfax in 2015, Stan has come into millions of Australian homes and competes with big guns like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. And while Stan showcases some great international content, it also has a focus on local shows like Summer Heights High, The Wiggles and Redfern Now. In just four short years, Stan has now reached over one million regular subscribers meaning that it rivals Netflix’s numbers in Australia.
Fetch TV, Kayo Sports plus more
Another popular streaming service is Fetch TV. Fetch TV has a significant amount of unique content and they’ve also struck up partnerships with Aussie telcos to deliver great bundles (see below). Foxtel Now is another relatively new arrival, blending the flexible and open aspects of streaming with the pedigree and reputation of Foxtel. When it comes to unique content – particularly in the realm of sport – streaming service Kayo has it all and the interface is extremely easy to use. OVOPlay has quite a bit of content however on a low budget so it doesn’t have the premier sports leagues that Kayo or Foxtel does. Then there’s others like 10 All Access, Quickflix, Amazon Prime Video, Telstra TV Box Office, DocPlay, and hayu. Be sure to check out our streaming article for more info.
Bundling is the option of purchasing a group of different products from the same company. There are many types of bundles these days – whether it be bundling your TV with broadband, or your broadband with landline rental, and even your TV entertainment, telecommunication and household needs together. There are now many options to bundle these diverse range of services all under the one roof. Aside from the convenience of having one provider – and having one bill – bundling also gets you great discounts. And while it might sound unusual to get all of your different services from the one provider, telcos and TV companies have partnered up to bring you great deals. The ‘buy in bulk and save’ mantra never rang truer than it does now.
The options provided by bundling let you think more broadly about your household and personal entertainment and telecommunications needs. As these often overlap, it makes sense to consider them together. For instance, if you’re subscribing to a streaming provider, you’ll want to be sure that your broadband is fast enough – and has a high enough limit – to prevent it from buffering or maxing out. Similarly, if you’ve got a broadband connection, that company is also likely to be responsible for the phone line that the broadband runs off – which means they’re the ones to speak to when it comes to phone plans and suggested usage. Finally, with the internet now a necessity in modern life, it has become considered as a utility in recent years. In this direction, providers like Sumo, amaysim and Dodo have sought to bring all your utility needs under one roof – by also giving you access to gas and electricity in a bundled deal. Aussie Broadband now bundles Fetch TV with a number of plans including 100GB of data, and unlimited data depending on how much you like to watch TV and other various tasks online. Put simply, there are loads of bundles out there – all you need to do is find the right one for you.
The Top Streaming TV Providers
The one that needs no introduction. With over 100 million subscribers around the world, Netflix is the streaming TV service that’s set the standard. Their vast library of high quality original TV shows (and now movies as well) is worth the price of admission on its own.
What’s on Netflix Guide
Read Netflix Review
The service provides easy, contract-free streaming access to a huge number of Foxtel’s live TV channels via online streaming. That means that even if you can’t get access to satellite or cable Foxtel, you can still catch all the sport, movie and TV action as it goes to air.
What’s on Foxtel Now Guide
Read Foxtel Now Review
The “local Netflix” has a superb library of films as well as some brilliant TV you can’t see anywhere else – like the latest shows from US network Showtime. Stan also produces its own shows, including the excellent TV series version of Romper Stomper, Wolf Creek, and the hilarious comedy series No Activity.
What’s on Stan Guide
Read Stan Review
Hayu is owned by the giant NBC Universal group and is basically wall-to-wall reality TV – it’s the name of hayu’s game. They do it well, offering something for everyone. With a bargain monthly cost of $6.99, it’s a must for everyone who likes to relax with a big dose of exciting reality television.
What’s on Hayu Guide
Read Hayu Review
Amazon Prime Video
Still in its “soft launch” phase in Australia while Amazon properly sets up shop here, Prime Video costs only US$2.99 a month. That’s worth it for the superb Amazon Originals alone, including The Grand Tourfor Top Gear fans, The Man in the High Castle, Red Oaks and the award-winning Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
What’s on Amazon Prime Video Guide
Read Amazon Prime Video Review
Telstra TV Box Office
There’s no need to wait to watch the latest movie releases when you can easily rent or buy it from Telstra TV Box Office, formerly known as BigPond Movies. Rent out movies from $3.99 or buy recent releases at $19.99, including blockbusters. You can also purchase single episodes or full seasons of your favourite TV shows or get a season pass.
What’s on Telstra TV Box Office Guide
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Fetch TV offers a unique alternative to conventional pay TV. With a broadband connection from one of Fetch TV’s partner ISPs, you can stream your favourite shows across an extensive package of TV channels — including free to air and pay streaming TV apps — using either the Mighty or Mini set top boxes. With the Mighty box, you can also record shows.
See Fetch TV Plans
Read Fetch TV Review
Exciting sports content is well within reach — and for free — with OVOPlay. Whether or not you’re an existing subscriber to any of OVO Mobile’s plans, you can easily stream some of the best sports content online, from gymnastics, rugby, to water polo, via the OVOPlay website or the OVOPlay app on your iOS or Android devices.
See OVO Mobile Plans
Read OVOPlay Review
Quickflix has maintained its popularity as a mail-order DVD company in Australia. For those who want it “old school”, so to speak, Quickflix is a great go-to for movies delivered right at your doorstop and without any due dates or late fees! You can also choose to simply stream the movies or TV shows from their library on either a subscription plan or just pay as you go.
What’s on Quickflix Guide
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It’s been a long time coming but Aussie sports fans can now finally tune in to all the sports action they want with Kayo, the first ever streaming service dedicated to premium sports in the country — and from around the globe. Featuring two affordable and no lock-in plans, sports fans can get the ultimate viewing experience in HD and tune in live or on demand.
What’s on Kayo Sports Guide
Read Kayo Sports Review
Ten All Access
Ten All Access is Network Ten’s answer to the rise of streaming TV, in partnership with CBS in the US. For just under 10 dollars per month, you can get an ‘all access’ pass to some of TV’s classic hits plus new releases even before it arrives on Network Ten. That’s over 7000 ad-free episodes that you can binge watch — and best of all, you can kick things off with a 1-month risk-free trial.
What’s on Ten All Access Guide
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A streaming service that’s solely dedicated to docos, DocPlay features an extensive range of the best documentaries from all around the world. From biographical to true crime, social to nature and wildlife, plus many more in between, you’re bound to find a gem or two — or more — that would provoke your thoughts and possibly change your perception. Start your doco-binge with a free 30-day trial.
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Foxtel Now - Streaming TV plus 10 Days FreeFoxtel Play was a huge success with customers, but had its limitations. The newly-launched Foxtel Now, though, shakes things up with HD support on multiple devices, a revamped user experience and high definition on-demand content.