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No matter whether we’re committed couch potatoes or if we just watch the occasional program – or if we’re somewhere in between – television forms a big part of our lives. TV has undergone a massive change in recent years. Viewers from the 1990s and probably even the 2000s would be unable to recognise modern TV and the way we watch it. Today we have more options than ever before and a large group of providers all looking to capture your attention with better deals.
At Compare TV, 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. Then there’s bundling, which has become an increasingly popular and affordable way of accessing top-quality TV content for millions of Aussies.
Understanding Pay TV in Australia
It might seem like an age ago now – and hey, with the way things have changed recently it probably is – but the introduction of 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. But it was not until 1995 when Foxtel finally launched in Australia.
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. Sports fans went from being treated as second-class citizens to having wall-to-wall programming with Australia’s first dedicated, sports-only channels. We went from having two or three games of AFL or NRL per round to having pretty much every match available live. Hey, rugby league 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 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. 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.
Last audited 27 October 2020
Understanding Streaming TV in Australia
If Pay TV can be compared to TV’s arrival on our shores, then streaming is definitely when it 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 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.
Connect to Netflix in 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-winning film Roma – a movie which was commissioned and produced by Netflix – had a short theatrical run but was mostly exclusively watched 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.
Connect to BINGE in Australia
You also have the option to watch some of the most popular shows on TV with BINGE. BINGE is offering a 14 day free trial for new customers and will show all seasons and episodes of shows such as Big Little Lies, Euphoria, Westworld Outlander and many, many more… You can stream your favourite shows using compatible mobile devices such select PC and Macs, iOS and Android phones and tablets, Apple and Telstra TV, Google Chromecast, as well as Safari, Firefox, Chrome and Microsoft Edge browsers. BINGE has no lock-in contract or equipment fees, which means you can cancel anytime if you’re no longer using it.
Connect to Stan and Amazon Prime
Besides Netflix, who else is out there on the streaming landscape? Stan is also known to millions of Aussies as 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 to compete 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 in Australia.
Connect to Kayo Sports, Fetch TV and plenty more
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 unique content however on a low budget so it doesn’t have the premier sports leagues that Kayo or Foxtel does. 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. 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.
Last audited 27 October 2020
Bundling TV with internet, phone and other services
Bundling means purchasing 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.
Last audited 27 October 2020
Finally, with the internet now a necessity in modern life, providers like Sumo, amaysim and Dodo have sought to bring all your needs under one roof – by 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 future of TV is here
Just a decade ago, few of us would have thought we’d be seeing the biggest thing since colour TV replaced black and white happen right before our eyes. The ‘streaming revolution’ has not only changed the providers, programs and channels we watch, but it’s changed the way we actually watch TV. TV is now made for binge-watching – or a bit of ‘Netflix and Chill’ if that’s your thing – and we can watch what we want when we want and how we want. So whether it’s holding live sport in the palm of your hand or bingeing your favourite series back-to-back, there’s never been a better time to watch TV.
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