Latest Pay TV Plans for watching TV shows and sport in Australia
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 12 January 2021
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.
Last audited 12 January 2021
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.
Last audited 12 January 2021
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.
Last audited 12 January 2021
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 12 January 2021
Search for any TV show or Movie Streaming in Australia
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 12 January 2021
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.
Frequently Asked Questions about Streaming TV
Since the birth of television, we’ve gotten all our TV via broadcasts – signals containing continuous TV channels sent out to anyone who can pick them up. Streaming TV is completely different – you choose what show or movie you want to watch from an app on your TV or a device, and it’s then sent to you via your broadband internet connection. It’s called “streaming” because you watch it as it’s being sent to you, rather than downloading it to watch later.
If you’ve got a recent model TV, it’s almost certainly what’s known as a “smart TV” – in other words, it can download and run apps. The most popular apps for smart TVs are those for streaming services, and that’s because it’s easy to just sit back and load up the app for your favourite service and start watching. But smart TV support for each streaming service varies, so if you’re watching a lot of it, the better option is to buy a dedicated streaming device like Telstra TV or Apple TV, or get a low-cost device called a Chromecast so you can send streaming TV to your screen from a phone or tablet app.
Streaming is really easy on modern smartphones and tablets, but not everyone wants to watch their shows and movies on a tiny screen. You can fix that easily with a small device made by Google called Chromecast. It plugs into a spare HDMI port on your TV, and connects to the same Wi-Fi network that your phone is on. Once it’s set up, all you need to do is load up your favourite streaming app – Netflix, BINGE, Kayo and hundreds of others – and tap the little TV screen icon in the top right corner to connect to Chromecast. Then everything you play will stream direct to your TV.
If you’ve got a fairly recent model of Mac or PC, you’ll almost certainly find a HDMI video output socket on the back (or side, in the case of laptops) of the computer. If you have one of these, streaming direct to your TV is easy – just connect it to a spare HDMI input on your TV with a cable and switch to that input, then start streaming. Other computers may have different video connectors, such as Mini DisplayPort, USB-C or Thunderbolt; these can connect to your TV as well, but you’ll need a special adapter cable to do so. An easier option in those cases may be to use a Chromecast connected to the TV, sending video to it from the Google Chrome web browser.
Of all the streaming services, Netflix is the one that almost every smart TV and streaming device supports – in fact, if you’ve bought a TV, disc player or streaming device recently, it’ll probably have a big red and white Netflix button on its remote control! All you need to do to stream Netflix on any TV is just load up the app and sign in with your account email and password – it’ll load up all your profiles, favourites and watch lists so you can pick up on the TV where you left off on the phone or PC.
While you’ll find Netflix support on pretty much every smart TV, the other streaming services you can access on that TV will vary greatly depending on the brand, model and year of your TV. The much better solution if you’re streaming all the time is to buy a dedicated streaming box. These smart little devices plug into your TV via HDMI and act as a sort of “one-stop shop” for all the different streaming service apps, so you can stream from any of them from the one remote control. The best streaming boxes are the ones with the widest app support – with the Telstra TV and Apple TV at the top of the list. They’re both priced just above $200, but the Telstra TV can be had for $9 a month if you’re a Telstra customer, making it a great affordable streaming upgrade.
While Foxtel Now offers plenty of shows and movies for you to watch on demand, its main purpose is to deliver Foxtel’s live TV channels to you as they’re broadcast – but via streaming rather than satellite. The way this is done is very much the same as other streaming services, except that each channel is its own separate never-ending live stream, and you switch between channels rather than choosing individual titles. It’s designed to behave just like regular TV does, but under the hood it’s a streaming service and as such, it performs best on a fast broadband connection.
All streaming TV uses an amount of download data on your broadband plan – so if you’ve got a monthly download limit, you’ll want to keep an eye on just how much data is being used. That amount varies greatly between different streaming services, but as a general guide, expect to use around 1GB per hour at standard definition, 3GB per hour at HD (high definition) and 7GB per hour at 4K Ultra HD quality. We’d recommend anyone who streams regularly get a broadband plan with unlimited data – they’re incredibly cheap now.
Innovative sports streaming service Kayo Sports is still working on apps for a wider range of smart TVs – at the moment, though, they only offer an app for Samsung TVs made in 2017 and later, and for TVs running the Android TV operating system (like Sony’s recent models). For any other TV, smart or not, you’ll need to use a streaming device, with the best ones for Kayo Sports being Telstra TV (which also lets you subscribe directly from the device) and Apple TV. Kayo also supports Chromecast so you can cast from your phone, but a current-model Chromecast is recommended for best results. Check out our guide for more suggestions.
Foxtel Go is the app for phones and tablets that’s designed for use by customers of both Foxtel satellite TV and Foxtel Now services. You can stream the live channels and on-demand content to a TV by using the new Foxtel app for LG and Samsung smart TVs, or by streaming from the mobile app to a Chromecast device. However, Foxtel satellite customers will need to add the Multiscreen pack to their account before streaming is possible. Foxtel Now customers can stream on up to two devices at the same time. They can also use the dedicated Foxtel Now box or Telstra TV to stream.
With the free-to-air streaming services – ABC iView, SBS On Demand, 7plus, 9now and 10play – you’ve got plenty of choices to watch on your TV, especially if it supports the “Freeview” standard. TVs that offer Freeview will display a banner when changing channels, letting you access that network’s streaming service with the tap of a coloured button. For easier browsing and streaming, though, almost all smart TVs include apps for all five of the free-to-air networks, as do the to streaming boxes like Telstra TV and Apple TV. All of these apps are completely free to use, though some require you to sign up for a free account, and all (except ABC iView) are supported by ad breaks during your streams.
No. That’s one of the best things about all streaming services, including Foxtel Now – there is no need to agree to any sort of lock-in contract. You pay a month in advance for a month’s access and can cancel at any time. Even better, you can re-subscribe later and as long as it hasn’t been too long , you’ll find all your favourites and watch lists right where you left them.
The tradition with streaming TV has been to offer new customers a free trial period so they can see if they like what the service has to offer – but not all services have free trials. Most notably, Netflix and Disney Plus don’t offer a free trial at all anymore, so anyone signing up for the first time will have to pay for the first month up front. However, there are still plenty of free trials around, such as Foxtel Now (10 days), BINGE (14 days), Kayo Sports (14 days), Amazon Prime Video (one month).
Because it’s designed to be watched on demand, streaming services don’t give you the ability to record shows and movies to watch later. However, some services do allow you to download titles to a mobile phone or tablet to stream later without using the internet. This can be brilliant for when you’re travelling – load up your iPad or phone with some movies or a series, and you can watch them anywhere without incurring a massive mobile data bill. Streaming services that allow downloads include Netflix, Stan, Prime Video and Disney Plus.
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