While traditional broadcast is slowly dying, online stream media services are rising.
|What service is available?||Streaming||Streaming|
|What content is available?||TV shows and movies||TV shows and movies|
|How to buy||Click here for full details||Not available in Australia without a VPN|
|Starting price per month|
|Contract type||No lock-in||No lock-in|
|Hardware||Smart TV, desktop, gaming console or mobile device||Smart TV, desktop, gaming console or mobile device|
|Compatibility on your mobile phone||Yes||Yes|
|Compatibility with consoles||Yes||Yes|
|Maximum streaming sessions||Depends on plan (up to four streams)||One device per plan|
|Closed captions||Select programs||Select programs|
|Quality||From SD to 4K Ultra||SD and HD|
|Content (approx)||220 TV shows, 900 movies||N/A|
|Hours of content (approx)||5,000 hours||N/A|
|Affiliates include||Netflix USA, Disney, Warner Bros, BBC Worldwide, 20th Century Fox, NBC Universal, Village Roadshow, ABC Commercial||Hulu, NBC, Fox, Disney, ABC television group, CW, Bravo, E!, Fox Sports 1 and 2, Syfy, Onion News Network, Oxygen,|
|How much data does it use?|
|Who's offering unlimited data on these providers?||N/A|
What’s a Hulu? And what does it want with your money? Just like Netflix, Presto, and Quickflix, Hulu is a TV and movie streaming service available in the US. Hulu launched public access to their free service in March of 2008 and began selling their paid premium service, Hulu Plus, in November 2010 with a broader selection of content.
Just like its competitors, Hulu and Hulu Plus are offered on a vast range of devices including Smart TV, computers, gaming consoles and mobile devices. But, if you’re an Australian resident you’re out of luck, as the service is only offered within America. Unless you’ve set up a VPN on each of the devices listed above, you’ll be automatically blocked from viewing Hulu content.
Hulu and Hulu Plus differ from other streaming services as they enforce advertisements and surveys mid-viewing, regardless of whether you’re paying for the service or not.Back to top
Launched in 1997 by founder Reed Hastings, Netflix started out as a DVD delivery service. Australia never had the chance to experience packaged DVDs at your doorstep, but we did receive the beloved streaming service in March this year. Netflix released amidst endless hype, and it’s no doubt you’ve heard all about it. If you’re still scratching your head wondering what on earth a ‘Netflix’ is, let us explain it.
Netflix is a streaming service that allows you to watch a variety of television shows and films from your computer, mobile device, gaming console or Smart TV. The company uses its own global network of storage servers, known as a content delivery network (CDN), that cache content. Having these servers spread globally allows for reduced bandwidth expenditure and allows for Netflix services to be distributed over a large area. This network is made up of about 1,000 storage systems, and with each server storing approximately 100TB of data, they are able to stream between 10,000 and 20,000 movies and television shows at any given time.
This huge library consists of around 220 TV shows and 900 movies in Australia, including Netflix exclusives like House of Cards, Daredevil and Orange is the New Black.Back to top
If you are considering Hulu or Netflix, it’s important to take into consideration pricing. Currently, Hulu Plus is going to set you back $7.99 USD (approx. $10.30 AUD), and on top of that you’ll be paying an additional fee to set up a (secure) VPN, and in some cases an additional fee for each device you want to setup a VPN and Hulu membership for as Hulu only offers one stream per membership. As you can see, Hulu Plus can become expensive quickly if you’re an Australian resident. There’s also the risk that Hulu will recognise that your account is being streamed from another country, and they could potentially cancel your subscription, causing you to lose any credit you’d purchased in the process.
Now that Netflix is available in Australia, it offers a much more attractive pricing model. Netflix will cost you $8.99 AUD for single streaming and standard definition (SD), $11.99 AUD for double streaming and high definition (HD) and $14.99 AUD to stream four separate devices in Ultra-high definition (4K).
Another thing worth considering when comparing these two services is data usage. A fixed monthly cost is all well and good, but if you don’t have the data allowance to support high-quality streams, you’ll likely end up forking out more money for excess fees.
This where Hulu Plus becomes a little more desirable, as they claim that their HD streaming service only uses 650MB per hour. Whereas HD Netflix will consume about 3GB per hour (SD uses 1GB per hour and 4K uses 7GB per hour)– useless for those running a mobile broadband connection.
That being said, Netflix has partnered with both iiNet and Optus. So, if you are lucky enough to have a reliable ADSL connection through either of those internet service providers (ISP), Netflix streaming will be unmetered– meaning it doesn’t count towards your monthly allowance.Back to top
Hulu Plus has a slight advantage over Netflix due to their partnerships with many television networks. These connections allow for Hulu to stream loads of popular television shows immediately after airing. This might be handy for users who enjoy scheduled viewing and mainstream American networks like NBC, ABC and Fox. Hulu has roughly twice as many shows as Netflix, but that includes a whole lot of trash.
Whereas Hulu aims to appease viewers of serialised television shows, Netflix approaches the ‘binge’ approach to consumer entertainment. Netflix will usually wait until an entire series is released before adding it to their lineup, and they even release entire seasons of their exclusive content, like House of Cards, Daredevil and Orange is The New Black, all at once. Netflix have completely trashed the traditional model of week-to-week viewing by giving you everything you need all at once.
At the moment, Australian Netflix offers around 220 shows and 900 movies, which adds up to approximately 5,000 hours of viewing and they’re constantly adding content. One of the most prolific categories of the Netflix catalogue is the children’s section. There’s even a designated ‘Kids’ section of the application where you can let children freely explore options without the worry of them running into some inappropriate content.
Though, many Australian users are quite concerned at the lack of content currently in Australia. This is because Netflix is yet to obtain the rights to sell certain big name shows, like Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, within Australia. While Netflix is working on making more content available for Australians, there is always the option of using a VPN to access the US or UK libraries (you would have to use one to access Hulu anyway).
Stream on your regular TV with one of these devices
Hulu offers up a huge variety of serialised shows, like Scandal – that’s for sure. But, with the added cost of a VPN and the risk of having your subscription canned, it doesn’t really seem worth it.
Currently, Netflix offers more than enough exclusive and existing content (5,000 hours worth!) and if you’ve got children in the household, the Kids section is nearly too good to pass up. But, for now you’ll have to stick to free-to-air or other paid TV services to get your trash TV fix.
Too-da-loo, Hulu. Netflix wins this round…Back to top
Can I watch Netflix on a TV if I use Google Chromecast?
Yes, you can! Check out our guide to setting up Netflix with Google Chromecast.
My broadband connection is quite slow with downloads at about 1.5mbps. Will I be able to stream Netflix or Hulu? And what if I move to a rural area with slower Internet?
The minimum speed requirement for Netflix and Hulu is 0.5 Mbps. So you’ll definitely be able to connect. However, the recommended connection speed for standard definition streaming is about 1.5 Mbps for Hulu and 3 Mbps for Netflix, so you might experience lag times while viewing. Remember, both Netflix and Hulu have free trials, so it’s worth trying out for yourself. It’s also worth remembering that using a VPN can have an effect on your download speed, so if you’re already experiencing slow internet, Hulu might not be for you.
Why is Netflix so limited in Australia? And how would I access the US Netflix library?
Netflix have yet to acquire the rights to distribute a number of shows locally in Australia. This is why we won’t see the exact same lineup. Netflix are working on that though, and we’ll begin to see more and more programs added each month. If you’re looking for a larger selection here and now, Quickflix might be for you. Just remember that premium shows will incur an additional fee. But if you are desperate to check out the US library, you could always sign up for a VPN. Check out our comparison list here: https://www.finder.com.au/vpn-software
Will shows like Scandal, the Vicar of Dibley, and Game of Thrones make their way to Australian Netflix?
It all depends on Netflix acquiring the right to screen these shows locally in Australia. Australia’s pay-TV service, Foxtel, has locked down an exclusive agreement to broadcast the insanely popular Game of Thrones. So, if Netflix wants to broadcast it they would have to put up a hell of a fight. This is Hulu’s greatest benefit, as they have the license to stream a huge variety of shows from many different American networks.
What about new releases, how long after a DVD is released will it become available on Netflix or Hulu?
It varies; neither company has any hard and fast rules about when they will release a title, though, Hulu is able to release some television episodes nearly immediately after airing, thanks to their network partnerships. It all comes down to the title in question and whether either company can acquire the rights to stream it at release. Netflix have been pretty ambitious on this front though, and in 2013 they claimed their aim was to release movies between 30 and 45 days after the theatrical release. Imagine that!