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With choice on the streaming market at an all-time high, it can be difficult to figure out which service is actually worth your cash. After all, streaming was supposed to save us money in the long run, acting as an entertainment replacement for expensive pay TV packages.
Fast-forward to the present and subscribing to all the platforms available is anything but cost-effective. While neither 1 will break the bank on its own, get 3 or more and suddenly you'll be wondering if cutting the cord is actually worth it.
That's why it's important to figure out which of Australia's streaming services will offer the most bang for your buck.
Some services including Netflix and Stan offer a monthly subscription to access a large, constantly evolving catalogue. Other services such as ABC iview let you watch shows that have aired on television for a limited window after the broadcast period.
If you want access to an enormous volume of content but don't want to spend a huge amount of money, you'll want a subscription streaming service.
On that note, here's a comprehensive run-down of all major streaming players currently on the market. Compare and contrast or mix and match until you find the combo that best suits your entertainment needs.
Streaming subscription service providers
Foxtel-owned BINGE is an appealing streaming service in the Australian market, especially for users just giving up their pay TV service. While it has the same shows and movies as Foxtel, the library is full of heavy hitters. It incorporates many of the existing Foxtel channels including content from HBO, NBCUniversal, BBC, Warner Bros. and more.
That means the content library is full of binge-worthy shows. In fact, BINGE is trying to hang its hat on this, stating at launch it had 6 of the 10 top-rated TV shows of all time on IMDb. Some of its top-rated shows include Sex and The City and revival And Just Like That..., The Wire, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, The Big Bang Theory and The Sopranos. More recent popular productions are Succession, Euphoria and Big Little Lies. There are also a wide range of movies. Plus, the platform launched its first original series, Love Me, in December 2021.
BINGE is available in 3 price points similar to Stan and Netflix. The Basic package starts at $10 a month for a single stream in HD, but it features ads. There's also a $18 a month subscription for 4K and 2 devices. The Premium package costs $22 a month and supports 4 concurrent 4K streams.A 7-day free trial is available for new customers. BINGE works on your standard array of streaming devices, including smart TVs and game consoles.
BINGE's really unique feature is the Surprise Me function. This aims to bring channel surfing to streaming. When you can't decide, let it dish something up for you. Netflix implemented a similar function as well.
With it being cheaper than Foxtel Now, it'll increase the chances of exposing Australians to the Foxtel brand. You could do worse than pausing your similarly priced Stan or Netflix subscription for a month and giving BINGE's content a trial. Over time it'll be interesting to see if a Kayo and BINGE bundle arises, similar to the ESPN Plus and Disney Plus offer in the US.
Disney Plus became available in Australia in late 2019 and has made waves globally. With a generous content library, it's easy to figure out why. The platform offers a plethora of family-friendly TV shows and movies, which makes it a clever choice for big households and diehard Disney fans.
Add the fact that it also streams content from all of its subsidiaries and you've got yourself a hit. The list includes Pixar, Lucasfilm, National Geographic, 20th Century Fox and Marvel.
Content-wise, Disney Plus is a virtual godsend for lovers of big, crowd-pleasing blockbusters. Think Avengers: Endgame, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Encanto or Eternals. The content line-up includes Disney Channel shows as well as documentaries and original series.
Most notably, you can watch The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, the first 2 live-action Star Wars series, exclusively on Disney Plus. Or, tune into Marvel shows like Hawkeye, Loki or WandaVision and animated gems like The Bad Batch.
The service also has programs under the Star banner, which includes content for a more adult audience. That means you can watch a wider variety of both TV shows and movies – with highlights including Grey's Anatomy, How I Met Your Mother, Deadpool, Alien and more. The channel also features originals like the popular mystery series Only Murders in the Building or hard-hitting drama Dopesick.
Disney Plus offers only 1 subscription tier at $13.99 a month. You can also save by getting a yearly subscription, which costs $139.99.
As for the streaming experience itself, it's pretty seamless. Selected content is available in 4K video quality, the service comes with Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision support, the interface is intuitive and you can stream on 4 simultaneous devices at once.
Disney Plus works on a variety of gadgets, including laptops, mobile devices, smart TVs, game consoles and streaming media devices. You can read more in our in-depth Disney Plus guide.
Disney Plus verdict
All in all, Disney Plus is definitely worth looking into, making it a solid streaming choice the entire family can enjoy. In the US, you can purchase a Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and Hulu bundle. There are no deals between Disney and other Australian providers right now, though you can mimic the deal by packaging both Disney Plus and Kayo Sports and enjoy a similar entertainment plus sport experience.
Streaming giant Netflix is still going strong despite competitors' efforts to get ahead. With years of experience behind it, Netflix has come to know its subscribers very well, which makes it a force to be reckoned with. The global platform shows no signs of slowing down. Quite the opposite.
With the streaming wars in full swing, more distributors are pulling their content from Netflix to prop up their own services. As a result, Netflix has given its original library a boost, to the point where it's releasing so much new content on a weekly basis that it's basically impossible to keep up. So while the platform suffers as far as licenced titles are concerned, it's doubling down on releasing original shows and movies to compensate.
Netflix's Australian library is fairly comprehensive, with more titles being added each month. The downside is that Netflix original titles are a mixed bag. For every The Crown you have Sexy Beasts and for every The Power of the Dog you have The Ridiculous 6.
Still, there are plenty of titles to feed your binge-watching addiction, with TV hits including Squid Game, Emily in Paris, Bridgerton, Stranger Things, Black Mirror, Russian Doll and The Witcher.
Another great thing about Netflix is that it streams content from a wide variety of genres, offering kids' programming, documentaries and reality TV. If quantity and diversity are what you're after, Netflix remains a solid pick.
The service is also tough to beat on the actual streaming. Top features include multiple profiles, 4K video quality, a great interface, audio descriptions and offline viewing. Plus, Netflix is available on virtually every device imaginable.
As for price, that's what might make some would-be users think twice before signing up. At its cheapest, Netflix's Standard with Ads plan start at $6.99. As the name suggests, you view ads as part of your streaming experience. You can watch on 2 devices at a time and it is available in HD. Though not all of the regular Netflix library is available.
If you don't want ads on Netflix, a Standard plan costs $16.99 a month and gives you access to HD titles and 2 simultaneous streams while a Premium plan lets you watch on 4 devices at the same time in 4K for $22.99 a month. It is worth noting that Netflix doesn't offer a free trial.
Netflix is also cracking down on password sharing, and you have to pay extra for someone outside of your residence to use Netflix. In Australia, it is $7.99 a month to add an extra member. can only add extra members on the Standard and Premium plans, where they allow 1 and 2 extra members respectively.
There is also a Basic plan for Netflix, but it is not available to new or rejoining subscribers.
If you're purchasing Netflix for a family, you could do with the Standard option as long as watching in 4K quality isn't high on your must-have list. The service remains an industry leader, so you'll have plenty to watch if you try it out.
Also read: Netflix vs Disney Plus
Australia's home-grown streaming service Stan has been consistently improving its library ever since launch. It offers a healthy variety of TV series, original productions and exclusive shows fast-tracked from the US. It doesn't particularly stand out on the movie front, especially with Disney taking back its blockbusters, but it does offer a decent variety of titles.
Stan's original shows have been earning plenty of praise, so you might want to prioritise those when signing up. The list includes Wolf Like Me, The Tourist, RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under, Bump and No Activity. As for fast-tracked series, the service lets you watch fresh episodes of popular series like Yellowstone, City on a Hill, Walker, All American, New Amsterdam and Billions.
Stan really shines when enabling users' predilection towards comfort binges. The platform hosts hits like Parks and Recreation, The Office or Veronica Mars. If you're a fan of rewatching favourites, this is definitely a worthy service.
As for pricing, Stan offers tiers similar to Netflix, but doesn't feature ads. For $10 a month you get the Basic plan that lets you watch titles in SD on 1 device at a time. The Standard plan at $16 a month lets you watch on 3 screens simultaneously in HD. To stream in 4K quality you'll need the Premium plan, which costs $21 a month and lets you watch 4 concurrent streams. Whatever plan you choose, new subscribers get a 30-day free trial.
The platform also offers sports streaming via a $15 a month Stan Sport add-on that offers live access to most domestic and global rugby union, as well as the tennis Grand Slams. You must have an existing Stan account first.
With offline viewing also available, Stan is compatible with an array of devices, including smart TVs, game consoles, tablets, mobiles, Apple TV, Chromecast, Telstra TV and Fetch. There are multiple profiles, closed captions and plenty of 4K content as well.
Unlike Netflix, Stan won't recommend you titles based on your viewing habits, but its library is very intuitive. If you're a TV enthusiast, you'll love Stan. If you're a movie buff, you might want to look elsewhere.
Foxtel's streaming offering Foxtel Now can be a worthy alternative to a traditional pay TV subscription. Its main appeal is that it lets you watch content both live and on-demand, so you can tune in to your favourite channels via the Internet with no strings attached.
The platform offers different channel packs based on users' interests. The Essentials pack at $25 a month comes with a mix of Lifestyle and Pop channels that include shows like Insecure, Gogglebox and The Great Australian Bake Off.
From there, you can add more packs which are pretty self-explanatory: Sport ($29 a month), Drama Extra ($10 a month) and Movies ($20 a month). You can subscribe to them all and get Kids and Docos as well for $104 a month. There is no free trial for Foxtel Now after it was removed on 5 October 2023.
The Sport channel pack is Foxtel Now's main appeal. It lets you watch over 50 sports from all over the world live. However, with Kayo available as a cheaper alternative, subscribers might be tempted to get their sports fix there.
On the TV show/movie front, Foxtel Now offers HBO hits like Euphoria, Succession and Game of Thrones. You'll find most of them on BINGE too. Original productions like The Twelve and Wentworth are streaming on Foxtel Now too. The service also boasts a great library of movies, including recent blockbusters. As far as quality content is concerned, there's plenty to binge.
Foxtel Now issues and devices
Unfortunately, Foxtel is still struggling with buffering issues and drops in video quality at peak times. There's also no 4K content or offline viewing function, but the device compatibility is pretty solid.
You can access Foxtel Now on laptops and mobile devices with the Foxtel GO app or directly on game consoles, smart TVs, Telstra TV, Chromecast/Airplay and the telco's Foxtel Now box. The service lets you stream on 2 devices at the same time.
So, should you give it a go? If you're really into watching live TV or a massive HBO and movie fan, Foxtel Now should be on your radar. Otherwise, the service is fairly expensive compared to some alternatives.
Prime Video offers a generous library of content and also comes free with an Amazon Prime membership. So if you shop on Amazon a lot and are thinking about getting Prime to enjoy expedited shipping, you'll be happy to know Prime Video comes as an extra perk.
An Amazon Prime membership will set you back only $9.99 a month, which is affordable especially as it gives you access to exclusive deals, discounts and free shipping on selected items, all with a 30-day free trial.
As for the streaming service itself, its biggest drawcard is its impressive slate of original content. That means shows like The Wheel of Time, The Boys, Invincible, Upload, Hunters, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel to name a few.
As for licensed content, the library is less generous, but it contains some notable hits at the time of writing, such as This Is Us. As for movies, you can stream a lot of recent blockbusters, as well as originals like The Tomorrow War, The Tender Bar or Spider-Man Across the Spiderverse.
The platform's interface is a bit clunky, so it can be difficult to find something to watch. Yet the streaming experience is seamless. The service is compatible with a wide variety of devices, from smartphones to game consoles. There are closed captions and you can download titles to watch on the go. You can also access Amazon Prime Channels, which lets you bundle multiple streaming subscriptions through the Prime Video app.
Subscribing to Prime Video on its own may not be worth it. But if you want Amazon Prime, the streaming service is definitely a welcome bonus.
A more recent addition to the Australian streaming market, Paramount Plus launched with an appealing content library which features both TV shows and movies. Additionally, the service became the ideal destination for Australian football enthusiasts as the home of the A-League, offering matches live and on demand.
Original productions include acclaimed titles like revival Dexter: New Blood, survival thriller Yellowjackets, crime drama Mayor of Kingstown, Aussie dramedy Five Bedrooms and Yellowstone prequel 1883. Additionally, you can stream complete seasons of popular hits South Park, Survivor US, NCIS and more.
Paramount Plus costs $9.99 a month with a 7-day free trial. The service is compatible with a variety of devices, including smartphones, Telstra TV, Apple TV, Android TV, Fetch and Chromecast.
Unlike the previous services on this list that offer content across most genres, Hayu has a very clear niche: reality TV. The streaming service offers a fabulous library of reality shows, a lot of them fast-tracked from the US.
Content highlights include The Only Way is Essex, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Vanderpump Rules, Below Deck and plenty of titles from the Real Housewives franchise. There are over 6,000 episodes available, so it should keep you busy for a while.
Hayu costs $6.99 a month with a 7-day free trial. It should be enough time to let you test-drive the platform and binge some addictive boxsets. It is easy to browse, boasting a user-friendly interface and useful categories like true crime, lifestyle and body modification.
You can watch on a variety of devices, including via the web, on smartphones or tablets, Telstra TV, Android TV, compatible smart TVs and more. Offline viewing is available and you can watch content in HD (no 4K).
All in all, Hayu is definitely worth subscribing to if you're a devoted reality TV fan. It might not work though if you're looking for something the entire family can enjoy.
Apple TV Plus
Apple TV Plus focuses on quality over quantity with a small roster of original content compared to other services.
So far, highlights on the platform include sci-fi epic Foundation, a remake of The Mosquito Coast, feel-good show Ted Lasso, animated gem Central Park, drama Morning Wars and space series For All Mankind. Or you can enjoy exclusive movies like The Tragedy of Macbeth, CODA or Greyhound.
Given the small content library, Apple TV Plus costs $12.99 a month with a 7-day free trial. The platform is easy to navigate and comes with exciting features such as 4K video, Dolby Atmos audio on most content, offline viewing and the ability to stream on 6 devices simultaneously.
It works via web, Apple devices (Apple TV, iPhone, iPad), compatible smart TVs, game consoles, Roku devices, Android streaming devices and TVs and Amazon Fire TV devices.
All in all, Apple TV Plus is worth looking into if you're a TV enthusiast who follows everything prestige TV-related. Otherwise, you might want to wait a while for the content library to grow.
Similarly to Acorn TV, BritBox specialises in British content. A joint venture of the BBC and ITV, the platform offers a varied selection of TV series. Highlights include All Creatures Great and Small and Line of Duty.
A subscription to BritBox will set you back $8.99 a month with a 7-day free trial for new users. The service works with a variety of devices – computers, smartphones, smart TVs and set top boxes.
Acorn TV is a niche service that specialises in British television. If you enjoy dark humour and gritty crime shows, this is the perfect platform for you. Popular titles include Agatha Raisin, Foyle's War, Midsomer Murders, My Life Is Murder, Queens of Mystery and Agatha Christie's Poirot.
Aussie series like Miss Fisher's Murder Mystery are also streaming. Subscriptions to Acorn TV in Australia cost $6.99 a month with a 7-day free trial for new users.
Shudder is a streaming service that specialises in horror for both TV series and movies. The platform hosts an impressive collection of titles that fall into the horror, thriller or suspense genre.
Highlights on Shudder include It Follows, Creepshow and Cursed Films. You can subscribe for $6.99 a month or $69.99 annually. New users get a 7-day free trial.
CuriosityStream only offers documentaries, so it's recommended for those who want to learn and be entertained at the same time.
You can choose between thousands of documentaries on history, space, nature and more. Subscriptions to CuriosityStream start at US$5.99 a month, or you can purchase a yearly plan for US$39.99. These prices include videos in HD quality, so you'll need to pay more for 4K plans: US$9.99 a month or US$69.99 a year.
Flash is a go-to destination for everything that has to do with news.
For $8 a month you can watch more than 20 news channels live or catch up with content on demand. The list of channels includes CNN International, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, FOX News Channel, Bloomberg TV and domestic option Sky News Australia. New users get a 14-day free trial.
Comparing services on face value isn't easy. While it's easy to compare the price and free trials of services, comparing the libraries is difficult unless you're familiar with who has what titles. For help in that area see our list of best streaming services which compares the libraries of each provider.
Catch-up TV services compared
Australia is different from many markets in the world in that it has a robust and popular free-to-air television service. With the arrival of the internet, broadcasters have had to evolve to offer digital platforms that take advantage of the freedom the internet offers.
Pioneered by ABC's iView platform, these services all offer customers a way to catch up on programming they have missed during the original broadcast schedule. Some platforms have begun experimenting with their online offerings, showcasing new and original content they have yet to broadcast or short web-exclusive clips that users can't see elsewhere.
Unfortunately, there's still a fairly short window for how long some programs stay on a catch-up service for, especially if it isn't owned by the network. So being able to binge-watch a series isn't common on these platforms. If the network owns the show such as Channel 7's Home and Away then it has numerous seasons available.
Because most of the broadcasters are commercial networks, watching programs on catch-up means you will have to sit through the advertising breaks as well.
On the upside though, you aren't expected to pay for these services and because of this, you can watch on as many devices as you like.
Catch-up TV providers
The national broadcaster was the first Australian network to dip its toes into the brave new world of video streaming. iview is still the benchmark for Australian catch-up services, offering a wide range of ABC programming through a simple user interface.
iview offers original shows available exclusively through the platform. It also live streams its main channels 24/7. The catch is that the stream quality varies up to 720p HD, which is especially evident when watching on a massive 4K television.
SBS On Demand
Australia's multicultural television channel offers one of the most robust catch-up platforms in the market. There's a wide range of TV shows, movies, documentaries and web exclusives on offer, available across a wide range of devices.
You need to create a user account to access the SBS On Demand service, which is used to target advertising and programming to your interests.
Channel 7's 7Plus catch-up service comes packed with tons of exciting content you can binge for free. All you need to do is sign up for a free account.
You can watch popular Channel 7 shows like My Kitchen Rules and The Voice, a small collection of movies and full seasons of comedy shows and dramas.
The catch-up platform for Network 10 offers full episodes of 10's shows, plus live streams of the main channel as well as 10 Peach, 10 Bold and Nickelodeon, alongside a wide variety of FAST channels devoted to both individual shows and genres. 10 play's apps are designed to be a one-stop-shop for news and entertainment, with a dedicated TV guide offering a week's scheduling into the future.
The catch-up service runs across all Network 10 channels, but it doesn't have every show available.
You need to sign in to get access to Channel 9's 9Now, but it offers a wide range of catch-up programs and the ability to live stream the broadcast channels. Unlike some of the other catch-up services, 9Now does support HD streams using adaptive bitrate.
Sports streaming services
While the services above are all great regarding TV shows and movies, with the exception of Paramount Plus, Apple TV Plus, Foxtel Now and the Stan Sport add-on they all come short on the sport front. So if you're a sports enthusiast, you're likely looking for something more.
There's also Optus Sport, the exclusive home of the English Premier League, which makes it extremely appealing to football fans. It offers matches live and on demand for $24.99 a month. The service however is available to eligible Optus customers for $6.99 a month.
BeIN Sports may also catch your eye thanks to its extensive coverage of football leagues and competitions like Serie A, Bundesliga and more. beIN SPORTS CONNECT costs $14.99 a month with a 7-day free trial.
In terms of value, it's hard to beat Kayo. The streaming platform offers coverage of the AFL, cricket, NRL, Supercars, Formula 1 and international competitions. You can see the full list of sports on Kayo here.
A Kayo One subscriptions costs $25 a month and allows you to stream on only 1 device at a time. A Basic subscription costs $30 a month and lets you stream on 2 devices at the same time, while a Premium subscription supports 3 simultaneous streams for $35 a month. The platform has an elegant interface and comes with fun features like SplitView, which lets you watch up to 4 videos on the same screen.
As you've probably figured, each service has something going for it, so it ultimately comes down to the type of content you're most interested in. None of the platforms come with lock-in contracts and some have free trials, so there's nothing stopping you from giving them all a spin to figure out which option you like most.
You can also interrupt your subscription for a while to try out something else. What you should really be doing is sharing services that support multiple concurrent streams with friends or family members.
That means you can cut down on your monthly subscriptions while increasing your access to content. It's a good time to be a streaming fan.
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