Streaming services review: Netflix vs. Stan vs. Foxtel Now

March 6th, 2018 - Get new posts sent straight to your inbox, click here.

If you haven’t signed up to a streaming service by now, you may be missing out on some great tv watching opportunities. With so many options available in Australia, the hardest part is often choosing which streaming service to go with.

Is the cheapest service the best? Is one easier to use than the other? Which caters best to my taste in movies and television? To answer these questions, we have reviewed three of the most popular streaming services in Australia – Netflix, Stan, and Foxtel Now.

Netflix

Netflix is probably the biggest name in video streaming, and the brand that every other service is trying to compete with. And with its vast library, competitive pricing, and original content – it’s easy to see why.

In terms of cost, Netflix is the cheapest of the three streaming services, offering three price tiers. As the content is the same across each plan, the price determines the definition quality of the streaming available, as well as how many devices you can use simultaneously.

Currently, the three plans are as follows:

  • $10.99 per month (standard definition (SD), stream on one device)
  • $16.99 per month (high definition (HD), stream on two devices at once)
  • $22.99 per month (4K definition, stream on four devices at once).

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One of the main drawcards of Netflix is compatibility. The service is available to stream on most modern devices, including IOS, Android, Windows Store, Mac and PC web browsers, most smart TVs, Apple TV, Telstra TV, Xbox One and 360, PlayStation 3 and 4, and Wii U.

While Netflix Australia’s library isn’t as extensive or impressive as its international counterparts, the service does have a large catalogue of in-house content, known as Netflix Originals. These include shows such as House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Altered Carbon, Riverdale, and Black Mirror – to name just a few. Netflix also commissions stand up comedy specials, has started to branch out into feature films, and has an extensive library of revolving content.

Ultimately, people tend to choose Netflix for its ability to be used all over the world (though the content may differ), its ease of use, the fact that you can download content for offline viewing and the pricing, as well as its original content. For first-timers, it’s a great entry point into the world of streaming.

Stan

If you’re looking for a streaming service skewed more towards an Australian audience, Stan is the choice for you. Co-owned by Nine Entertainment Co. and Fairfax Media, Stan broke into the scene in January 2015 with a large library of content, exclusive offerings, and a distinct target of an Australian audience.

Stan’s pricing structure is uncomplicated and, like Netflix, how much you pay will determine the video quality and ability to access simultaneous streaming. The three plans on offer at Stan are:

  • $10 per month (SD, stream on one device)
  • $14 per month (HD, stream on three devices at once)
  • $19 per month (4K, stream on four devices at once).

 

As the pricing is very similar to Netflix’s, the selling point with Stan tends to be its content. While known for its Australian shows, including original series such as No Activity, Wolf Creek and Romper Stomper, Stan also has a range of international partnerships. This has resulted in securing exclusive shows such as Twin Peaks, Billions, and “First on Stan” series like Better Call Saul­ – the popular Breaking Bad spinoff.

Like Netflix, Stan is available across most devices and features offline downloads. But unlike Netflix, it isn’t available to use in countries outside of Australia. However for some people, the focus on Australian content makes up for this restriction.

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Foxtel Now

Foxtel Now is is Foxtel’s latest reincarnation of their streaming service. While its predecessor, Foxtel Play, was more focused on live TV, Foxtel Now is intended to be a real challenger to household favourites such as Netflix and Stan.

In terms of pricing, the cost of Foxtel Now will depend on which channel packs you choose. While the basic packs start at $10 per month, purchasing every package will cost you in excess of $100 per month. Economically speaking, Foxtel Now will likely turn out to be a more expensive option than Netflix or Stan unless you only want the basic pack.

However, it does have its unique drawcards. Firstly, Foxtel Now allows you to watch live sports and television. Secondly, it’s the only Australian streaming service with popular HBO shows such as Game of Thrones, Westworld, Silicon Valley, The Sopranos, and The Wire. Lastly, the movies available on Foxtel Now tend to be newer and available for longer.

While full high definition is available, Foxtel Now doesn’t currently support 4K content and can end up being much more expensive. But if money isn’t an issue, you’ll find its combination of live TV, exclusive television, and new movies a big plus.  

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Weighing up the options

When it comes to making a decision, there’s no right or wrong answer here. All three streaming services offer extensive libraries of great content at reasonable prices – so it’s really a matter of personal preference.

If you’re worried about missing out on live sports and TV, Foxtel Now is the way to go. If you’re gearing up to binge the last season of House of Cards in 4K, Netflix has you covered. For content with more of an Australian leaning, Stan might be the better option.

Of course, you can always sign up for all three and see how you go. Each offers a free trial period and the ability to cancel at any time. This allows you to explore the content available on each, how easy they are to navigate, and what you can look forward to.