Netflix Australia vs Foxtel

Information verified correct on December 4th, 2016

Netflix Australia has arrived, but will it give cable giant Foxtel a run for their subscribers?

After becoming available in Europe and most of the world, Netflix has finally become available to viewers in Australia. This premium internet television company has an extensive library of movies and television shows as well as compelling programming unique to their service, but is it worth looking into if you are already a Foxtel subscriber? There are distinct differences between the two providers that you should take into consideration before jumping on the Netflix bandwagon.

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Netflix Australia versus Foxtel - Who has better content?

For those Australians who have been using VPN devices to access Netflix being broadcast from the United States, you will immediately notice a difference in the variety of television series available with the at-home version. The list of shows that are blocked from viewing seems longer than what is available. In the defence of Netflix, this is partly due to broadcasting rights, and they have mentioned that the content will continue to increase as these rights are ironed out with the individual networks that aired the programming.

The following is a list of TV series currently available through Netflix Australia. You will notice that popular shows such as Breaking Bad and Revenge did not get included in the available packages:

  • Joss Whedon’s Firefly - 2002
  • Doctor Who - 2005
  • Arrested Development – 2003
  • Mad Men – 2007
  • Freaks and Geeks – 1999
  • Pretty Little Liars – 2010
  • The Vampire Diaries – 2009
  • Friday Night Lights – 2006
  • The It Crowd – 2006
  • Life – 2007
  • How I Met Your Mother – 2005
  • Luther – 2010
  • Terra Nova – 2011
  • The Killing – 2011
  • Prison Break – 2005
  • Torchwood – 2006
  • Gossip Girl – 2007
  • Lost – 2004

Whats available on Foxtel?

  • Game of Thrones Seasons 5
  • Deadline Gallipoli
  • Wentworth Season 3
  • Australia's Next Top Model Season 9
  • Tony Robinson's Tour of Duty
  • Mad Men
  • Geordie Shore Season 10
  • Donnie Loves Jenny Season 1 (M)
  • The Block Triple Threat
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
  • Happy Endings
  • Friends
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • Malcolm in the Middle
  • New Tricks
  • Death in Paradise
  • Scott & Bailey
  • Pilgrimage with Simon Reeve
  • Strip The Cosmos
  • Cucumber
  • Wheel of Fortune
  • Entertainment Tonight
  • Person of Interest
  • Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities
  • Everybody Loves Raymond
  • Seinfeld
  • Frasier
  • Law & Order
  • Hawaii Five-0
  • Without a Trace
  • Four Corners
  • Media Watch
  • Heroes – 2006
  • Shameless – 2004
  • House of Cards – 2013
  • American Horror Story – 2011
  • Wallander – 2008
  • Fawlty Towers – 1975
  • The Fall – 2013
  • Orange is the New Black – 2013
  • Longmire – 2012
  • Hemlock Grove – 2013
  • Call the Midwife – 2012
  • Arrow – 2012
  • Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries – 2012
  • Rita – 2012
  • The Paradise – 2012
  • The Originals – 2013
  • The Almighty Johnsons – 2011
  • Broadchurch – 2013
  • The Sopranos Season 1-6
  • Entourage Season 1-8
  • Girls Season 1-3
  • Sex and the City Season 1-6
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past
  • Noah
  • The Fault In Our Stars
  • Divergent
  • The Years That Made Us
  • Newlyweds: The First Year
  • Judge Judy
  • Double Your House for Half the Money
  • Escape to the Country
  • Long Lost Family
  • My Kitchen Rules
  • The Water Diviner
  • Cougar Town
  • The Goldbergs
  • The Dr. Oz Show
  • Jane the Virgin
  • 2 Broke Girls
  • New Girl
  • The Simpsons
  • The Odd Couple
  • Modern Family
  • Law & Order: SVU
  • Sherlock Homes: Elementary
  • M*A*S*H
  • As Time Goes By
  • All Quiet on the Western Front
  • Bones
  • Elementary
  • Love/Hate

*Please note that this is not the full list available from Foxtel

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It should also be noted that you will never see premium series from HBO or any of its affiliates on Netflix. This includes shows like Sex and the City and The Sopranos. You will however find these available through other internet TV options such as an Apple TV console with iTunes.

Despite the limitations in the number of series you can watch with Netflix Australia, the movie selection is extensive and includes recent blockbuster hits alongside beloved classics. You can view the entire list here keeping in mind that it is continually updated as new titles become available.

What is Foxtel internet TV?

Foxtel is one of Australia’s leading cable TV service providers. As a part of their services they offer Foxtel Play, an internet streaming service that gives you access to exclusive television series and a library of movies. This is a separate entity from the cable service and can be used as an enhancement to what you are currently being provided with, or on its own as a no contract and installation free option to watch television.

Instead of subscription service, Foxtel Play internet TV is more of a Pay Per View option, where you are charged for each series or movie you want to watch. For example, if you only were interested in The Game of Thrones you could order the complete season for $30. You are also able to stream live sporting events with Foxtel and see popular programming like Game of Thrones in its first run.

Comparing Netflix to Foxtel

While both television service providers offer a range of TV shows and movies, you will get current Australian programming with Foxtel, while Netflix only offers what they have available in their video library. Both are streaming services that can be watched over multiple devices, including smartphones and tablets, but you need to add Foxtel Play to your subscription to take advantage of this option.

With both Netflix Australia and Foxtel Play, you will be accessing premium programming over the internet. If you are an Optus or iiNet user, your Netflix data usage will not be metered, while the Telstra BigPond home broadband service will allow the same for Foxtel Play. Both are a no contract provider, allowing you to cancel at any time.

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Frequently asked questions

The following attempts to cover any remaining questions you might have about Netflix in Australia compared with Foxtel and their Foxtel Play service:

How do you sign up for Netflix in Australia?

You can sign up right from the Netflix Australia home page. Right now they are offering a month free trial that allows you to view all of its functions before having to pay. You will however need to give them your credit card information. Unless you contact Netflix and cancel the subscription, that card will be automatically billed at the start of your second month.

With Foxtel Play you will sign up through your Foxtel cable TV subscription, customizing the types of content you wish to watch.

Can I get Netflix in Australia using Google Chromecast?

Yes, Netflix streams through Google Chromecast, Apple TV console boxes as well as certain internet TV enabled television sets. Both providers are also accessible with gaming consoles, tablets, desktops, and laptops.

What type of internet connection will I need to stream television from Netflix or Foxtel Play?

Netflix says that you can stream video with as little as 0.5 Mbps, but with any internet TV provider, you will get the best quality using a connection that it at least 36 GB for standard definition and 156 GB for high definition viewing.

Why is Netflix Australia so limited in its offerings?

While Netflix has affiliations with a number of networks including Disney, Warner Bros, and BBC Worldwide, not all of the programming is available worldwide due to broadcast regulations. In some cases, exclusivity contracts will also disallow Netflix from showing certain content in Australia.

Will Scandal seasons three and four be available on Netflix Australia?

As of now Scandal is not available on Netflix Australia, despite its availability on Netflix in the United States.

With such a limited variety of programming available from Netflix in Australia, would the cost of streaming the US version be a better option? How do you go about doing that?

If you are a Netflix subscriber in Australia, and were to take your mobile device to the United States, you will be automatically switched to that content while you are there. In that same token, you could technically use a VPN to make it appear that your device is in the United States while still paying the lesser expensive Australian price.

Do understand though that in doing this, you lose the unmetered access if you had been using iiNet or Optus to access Netflix Australia.

How do I watch movies on Netflix? Do they have the latest releases the way that Foxtel does? How is the streaming in rural areas?

Netflix movies are a part of the content that comes with your subscription. They will offer recently released movies, depending on their deal with the studio, typically before the movie is made available on DVD. This is the same policy that cable TV providers like Foxtel have as well.

The quality of the streaming from Netflix is dependent on your internet speed and type, but a broadband at 36 GB or better will give you a good quality picture when streaming with Netflix.

Does Netflix Australia have all series of Parenthood?

No, at this time Parenthood is not available from Netflix in Australia.

Can an Australian sign up for Netflix in the US, and I guess because a person pays, be able to use a program to download the TV shows viewed, like they do with YouTube?

Yes, a large number of Netflix users are already using the service from the United States using a VPN. This is a free device you can download online that hides your location. With this, you can watch the programming offered by Netflix US.

What about movie releases? How long after a movie has been released on DVD will it become available on Netflix Australia?

Netflix strives to have a new movie in their archives before the release of the DVD. Exactly how long after its theatrical debut is dependent on the studio and the deal they have in place with Netflix.

American Netflix has the Vicar of Dibley and the Australian Netflix doesn’t. I understand that channel 7 or 7mate has the broadcasting rights to the Vicar of Dibley, so is this why it isn’t available on Australian Netflix?

That is possible if channel 7 has exclusive rights to air the show as part of their agreement with the broadcaster. This is not true with all programming, and at times you will find the same content is being streamed to two different providers.

Is there going to be an improvement in the quantity of Foxtel shows?

Like Netflix, Foxtel is continually working on bringing premium content to subscribers. Since the launch of Foxtel Play they have been adding shows and movies to their library and will likely continue to do so as the competition for television providers continues to increase in Australia.

While there is special pricing for persons receiving senior pensions, none exist for those with a disability pension.

There is a lot to think about with all of the television viewing options becoming available for Australian’s. What it comes down to is your personal preferences for the types of shows you want to have readily available, and how much you are willing to pay for the service.

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