11 ways to make your streams come true
TV and movie streaming is on the rise.
Recent research conducted by NBN Co – that looked into how Australians are using the nbn™ broadband access network – shows the average data consumption at end-user premises in April was 190GB for the month.
This is thanks, in part, to streaming.
Australians are no longer reliant on free-to-air or pay TV to view top-shelf series and movies in the comfort of their own homes.
Of course, there are the well-known names in streaming: Netflix, Stan and Foxtel Now among them. But the list below shows there’s more than just the ‘big three’ when it comes to streaming movies and TV shows.
Here’s the latest rundown of Australia’s current movie and TV streaming options.
The majority of content on YouTube is available for free, by way of advertising support.
With YouTube Premium, which costs $11.99 per month (or $17.99 per month on a ‘Family plan’ for up to six users), the ads are a thing of the past.
On top of this, YouTube Premium offers access to background music playback via YouTube Music, and offline music and videos. It also offers access to YouTube Originals, which includes dramadies like Cobra Kai, documentaries such as Katy Perry: Will You Be My Witness?, and a range of other series and movies broken down into categories of interest.
YouTube Premium supports up to 10 mobile devices at a time, lets you download videos for offline playback and has a one-month free trial.
The Australian Netflix library of TV series and movies continues to grow and change every month.
There are three tiers of monthly subscriptions, which range from single-screen playback of standard-definition (SD) content ($9.99), to two-screen high-definition (HD) playback ($13.99) and, finally, four-screen playback with the option of ultra-high-definition (UHD) 4K quality ($17.99).
You can download videos for offline playback on one, two or four compatible mobile devices, depending on the Netflix plan.
Netflix is supported across a range of devices including smart TVs, web browsers, gaming consoles and mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets.
Every month, Netflix updates its library of syndicated content alongside new additions to its steadily growing original programming. This includes comedy series like GLOW, thrillers like the wildly popular Stranger Things and sci-fi movies like ARQ.
Netflix offers a 30-day free trial.
Like Netflix, Stan offers a range of syndicated movie and TV series content, alongside a smattering of original programming.
Stan’s biggest point of difference is its access to US shows not available on Australian Netflix, including moody drama Ray Donovan, oddball comedy Better Call Saul and classic comedy Seinfeld.
Stan also offers three monthly subscription plans, with single-screen SD playback ($10 per month), three-screen HD playback ($12) and four-screen 4K playback ($15).
Depending on your plan, Stan supports up to four simultaneous streams and offline playback on up to five phone or tablet devices.
You can stream Stan content on compatible media-streaming devices, including Apple TV, Chromecast, and Fetch TV, as well as Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. You can also watch Stan on compatible Samsung smart TVs and Blu-ray players, as well as supported LG, Sony and Hisense smart TVs.
Stan also offers a 30-day free trial.
Amazon Prime Video
The big newcomer to Australian shores, Amazon Prime Video, has a promotional offering of $4.99 (until 31 January 2019, at the time of writing) and then $6.99 thereafter.
Prime Video is more focused on exclusive content than its main competitors in Australia, although it does have some additional programming.
The exclusives include alternative-history The Man in the High Castle, fantasy drama American Gods and The Grand Tour, for the car-loving.
Currently, Prime Video only offers a single subscription price, which means you can watch available 4K content without having to pay for a higher-tier plan.
Prime Video is supported on several devices, including PC and Mac browsers; tablets and smartphones; Nvidia Shield TV; PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One gaming consoles; and select-model smart TVs.
Amazon Prime Video offers a 30-day free trial, and content can be watched on three different devices simultaneously (as long as it’s not the same video).
Eligible Amazon Prime members can download Prime Video content for offline viewing on compatible mobile devices.
Foxtel Now and Foxtel Play
Foxtel Now and Foxtel Play are the digital streaming equivalents of Foxtel’s usually cable-determined TV service.
Currently, Foxtel is in a state of transition with Foxtel Play, which is expected to be rebranded to the newer Foxtel Now. It offers both SD and HD streaming options.
This means that certain devices like PlayStation 3, Xbox One, as well as certain-model smart TVs still use Foxtel Play. Meanwhile, PlayStation 4, Telstra TV, Chromecast, the Foxtel Now box, PC and Mac, as well as compatible iOS and Android devices use Foxtel Now (which is called ‘the Foxtel app’ on the App Store, Google Play, Samsung App Store, and for PC/Mac).
Like the set-top-box cable service, the price varies based on the modular channels you add.
Starter channels begin from $10 per month for the Lifestyle, Docos, or Kids ‘packs’ (it’s $15 per month for the Pop or Drama packs), and then there’s a choice of premium packs: $20 per month for the Movies pack, and $29 per month for the Sport pack, which includes live sport.
After that, there are smaller bolt-on channels for $5 per month apiece – Chelsea TV, LFCTV, MUTV (for the soccer fans) – and you can also order a dedicated Foxtel Now box for $99.
Foxtel is currently the only streaming service in Australia that offers new shows like Marvel series Legion, zombie cult-hit The Walking Dead and the binge-worthy Game of Thrones.
You can register up to five devices for Foxtel Now and use two of these registered devices for simultaneous streaming.
There are two-week trials available for Foxtel Now and Foxtel Play, which grant access to all channels during the trial fortnight.
Hayu is focused on one streaming area. In Hayu’s case, its speciality is reality TV.
For a $5.99 monthly subscription cost, you can access thousands of episodes of reality TV, which includes popular options such as Keeping up with the Kardashians, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Vanderpump Rules.
Hayu is available via computer browser, as well as iOS (iOS10 and above recommended) and Android (version 4.4 and above recommended) devices.
Hayu does not currently support simultaneous streams across screens but does offer a 30-day free trial.
Free-to-air companion services
There’s also a range of companion streaming services for the major free-to-air channels in Australia.
Because they’re companions for existing free-to-air channels, they’re free to use and supported by advertising.
Also, because they’re free to use, they can be installed on as many compatible devices as you like, and you can have as many simultaneous streams as you want, too.
ABC iView is the streaming companion of ABC Television.
It includes channels for ABC, ABC2, ABC Me, ABC Kids, ABC News, ABC Arts, ABC Comedy and ABC Presents, which cover TV episodes, series and movies.
ABC iView is available on a variety of PC, smartphones and tablets, gaming consoles, as well as compatible smart TVs and streaming devices.
SBS On Demand
SBS On Demand is the streaming companion of the SBS network.
It offers access to a range of local and international programming, which includes a rotating roster of movies, as well as TV series such as The Handmaid’s Tale, Search Party and Homeland.
SBS On Demand is available on PC and Mac web browsers, compatible Android (4.4 and above) and iOS (9.3.5 and above) devices, and a variety of smart TVs and streaming devices.
tenplay is the companion streaming service for Network Ten, which includes channels Ten, Eleven and One.
It offers a variety of news and sports, as well as local and international TV programming.
Titles include Family Feud, NCIS and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
tenplay is supported on a range of compatible devices, including select smart TVs, streaming devices, Xbox One, smartphones, tablets and computer browser.
Nine Network has 9Now as its on-demand companion streaming service.
9Now offers a range of live TV and pre-recorded programming, which are both locally and internationally produced.
Its programming includes series like Australian Ninja Warrior, Young Sheldon and Four Weddings.
9Now is available on compatible smartphones, tablets, computers, smart TVs (select Sony, LG and Samsung models), PlayStation 4 and supported streaming devices.
Seven Network uses 7plus as its companion streaming services for live and prerecorded programming, both local and international.
Live programming includes content that’s playing on the free-to-air channel at the time, while prerecorded programming includes Home and Away, How I Met Your Mother and Modern Family.
7plus content can be streamed to compatible PC and Mac web browsers, smartphones, tablets and streaming devices.
As you can see from the streaming services above, there’s a lot of choice when it comes to accessing online video content.
It’s anticipated that the popularity of video streaming services will increase as fast broadband becomes more readily available in Australia.