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Paramount Plus vs Foxtel and BINGE: Price, content and features compared
Paramount Plus is joining a crowded streaming market. How does it stack up to Foxtel and BINGE?
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In a world where streaming services are becoming ubiquitous, the competition for viewers' attention and hard-earned cash is fiercer than ever. There's no doubt each platform comes with benefits, but whether those benefits actually work for you is debatable. It all comes down to how much time you spend in front of the TV and what you like to watch.
As far as Aussie entertainment goes, Foxtel is somewhat of a grandfather figure these days: the wise old platform that was around before any of these shiny, new online services existed. It's still going strong with its pay TV and broadband offerings, but it had to pivot as streaming became the norm for a lot of consumers. This led to Foxtel Now and eventually BINGE.
Meanwhile, CBS in the US and Network Ten in Australia, both owned by ViacomCBS, gradually shifted their respective streaming platforms into the global masthead, Paramount Plus. The service launched in Australia on 11 August as yet another potential destination for TV enthusiasts and movie buffs. Which leads to the natural question – how does it compare with the likes of Foxtel and its streaming alternatives? Let's break it all down.
Paramount Plus vs Foxtel and BINGE: Price, screens and video quality
Paramount Plus landed in Australia at a competitive price. For $8.99 per month, you get access to TV shows, movies, kids' programming, documentaries and some reality TV. There is also an annual subscription available for $89.99. The service will also stream live football, which is a big selling point. If you already have a 10 All Access subscription, you can use those credentials to sign in to Paramount Plus.
A subscription allows you to stream on 3 devices at the same time. The video quality is HD for now, but Paramount Plus offers titles in 4K over in the US. That might mean 4K streaming in Australia is just around the corner. Sign up for the Paramount Plus 7-day free trial and you get a whole week to test the service with no strings attached.
Foxtel's pricing depends on a whole lot of factors. For pay TV, the basic channel package included in all bundles, Foxtel Plus, costs $49 per month. If you choose to add extra packs to your subscription, you'll pay more. Sports HD, for instance, is $25 per month. To get everything available with Foxtel you'll need the Premium bundle, usually priced at $99 per month.
There may be set-up costs or installation fees involved. The total price can also vary based on whether you sign a contract or opt for the month-to-month option. Foxtel runs special promotions all the time, so there's a good chance you'll be able to score a discount or avoid the extra fees.
What you get for that money is all the channels in your chosen packs, live and on demand. You'll have the Foxtel iQ box which connects to your TV, as well as access to the Foxtel GO app, which you can use to stream Foxtel content on your PC or Mac or a compatible iOS or Android phone or tablet.
If you prefer your entertainment delivered via the Internet, BINGE is more affordable and practical, with prices starting at just $10 per month for the Basic plan, which lets you stream on 1 device at a time in SD quality. The Standard plan enables you to watch in HD on 2 devices simultaneously for $14 per month. Finally, the Premium plan is $18 per month and allows you to watch on up to 4 devices simultaneously. BINGE doesn't stream content in 4K at the moment.
Most of the shows and some of the movies on Foxtel are on BINGE. Plus, you can use the platform to watch several Foxtel channels live. BINGE comes with a 14-day free trial.
Similarly to BINGE, you can subscribe to Foxtel Now. Unlike BINGE, Foxtel Now starts at $25 per month and offers channel packs. In other words, $25 buys you the basic pack, Essentials, which is a mix of pop and lifestyle channels. Foxtel Now users can stream on 2 devices at the same time.
You can then personalise your subscription by adding Sport, Movies or Drama Extra for an additional monthly fee. Buy them all and you also get specialty packs Kids and Docos, but the total cost will exceed $100 per month. You can stream content on demand or watch Foxtel channels included in your pack live. Foxtel Now offers a 10-day free trial, which gives you access to all channel packs.
How do the Foxtel/BINGE and Paramount Plus content libraries compare?
Content is a big factor when choosing whether or not to subscribe to a new streaming service. Thankfully, both Paramount Plus and Foxtel have plenty to offer. Whichever service you pick, you won't run out of stuff to watch anytime soon.
Paramount Plus brings you all the content that used to be on 10 All Access. That means you can watch Network Ten favourites like Survivor, The Bachelor and MasterChef Australia, as well as stream a lot of CBS series. Crime procedurals NCIS, CSI, The Good Wife, Elementary and Hawaii Five-O are still there, along with sitcoms like international hit The Big Bang Theory.
Additionally, the platform offers content from the likes of Showtime, MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and Smithsonian Channel. In fact, Paramount Plus is the exclusive destination for future Showtime premieres in Australia. That means that you'll need a subscription if you want to watch the upcoming Dexter revival series, scheduled to arrive in November.
For now, it offers a small collection of series, including Ray Donovan, the original Dexter and The Affair. There are plenty of kids' shows courtesy of Nickelodeon (SpongeBob SquarePants and Rugrats for the win!) and reality TV from MTV (Teen Mom is well represented).
Besides, Paramount Plus is also streaming originals and exclusive shows. You can watch the second season of popular Aussie dramedy Five Bedrooms, as well as fresh series Two Weeks to Live, Everyone Is Doing Great, Anne Boleyn and Leonardo. The service is committed to investing in original programming, including local productions, so there are plenty of exciting titles coming our way in the following months.
Movies are a new addition from the 10 All Access days. You can stream the 2021 sci-fi blockbuster Infinite, starring Mark Wahlberg. The rest of the library consists of fairly older titles which you're probably already familiar with. Think Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Clueless and Pulp Fiction.
Finally, Paramount Plus will offer live sport, with the platform practically becoming the home of domestic football. Subscribers will be able to watch A-League and W-League games, plus some matches of Australia's national teams. There's also a live news stream courtesy of CBSN.
Switching to Foxtel, what you will be able to watch depends on which service you pick. With Foxtel or Foxtel Now, you get access to content from channels included in your subscription. With BINGE, you get access to the platform's entire library regardless of which plan you get. There's a lot of overlap and most TV series available on Foxtel will be on BINGE and Foxtel Now too. A notable exception is popular drama Wentworth, which isn't available on BINGE.
A huge appeal for Foxtel is its partnership with HBO. You can use any of the 3 services to watch praised shows like The Sopranos, Game of Thrones, Sex and the City, Succession, Mare of Easttown and more. Some HBO Max recent productions are streaming on Foxtel/BINGE too: the Gossip Girl reboot, The Flight Attendant and Raised by Wolves. All services offer great selections of documentaries, reality TV and kids' shows. Plenty of series arrive on Foxtel/BINGE express from the US, which is always a plus.
On the movie front, Foxtel gets a lot of recent blockbusters, which usually don't make their way to BINGE until later on. Still, the BINGE movie library is pretty solid, so there is enough there to catch your eye. Foxtel and Foxtel Now users need the Movies channel pack, which is extra.
The same applies for live sport. Foxtel offers over 50 sports on 12 live HD sports channels, but you need the dedicated Sports HD channel pack to be able to watch the NRL, AFL, Big Bash League, NFL, NBA, MotoGP and more. BINGE doesn't stream live sport.
Paramount Plus vs Foxtel/BINGE: Devices, streaming and features
In Australia, Paramount Plus is a fairly basic service so far. It's accessible via web, with the app working on smartphones/tablets, Apple TV, Android TV/Google TV, Fire TV devices, Roku and Chromecast. It's also compatible with Fetch and Telstra TV. No smart TVs or game consoles.
For features, it lets you download content to your mobile device to watch offline and a lot of the titles come with closed captions. The content you've started watching appears in a dedicated section on the homepage, but you can't add movies or shows to a watchlist for later. There are no multiple profiles either. However, Paramount Plus does offer multiple profiles in the US, so the feature will likely appear in Australia. Eventually.
As we've mentioned, Foxtel pay TV comes with a set-top box which connects to your TV, as well as an app, Foxtel GO, that allows you to stream content live or on demand via laptop or mobile devices. The set-top box lets you record content, pause and rewind live TV. With Foxtel's latest box model, the iQ4, you can also stream content from Netflix and other services.
Foxtel Now, meanwhile, works on smart TVs, the Foxtel Now box, Chromecast/Airplay, Telstra TV and PS4. You can access it on web and mobile devices with the Foxtel GO app. The service has a user-friendly interface, enables you to select a WatchList and comes with an advanced search function. Plus, you can stream live TV as long as the channel you want to watch is included in your channel pack. A big downside is that you can't download content to watch offline.
Finally, BINGE is the most robust streaming service for Foxtel content. It works via web, phones/tablets, Samsung TVs, Apple TV, Android TV, Telstra TV and Chromecast. The interface is well-designed and easy to navigate.
The content is neatly organised and you can even search for something to watch based on mood, theme, events and more. You can create BingeLists or, if you don't know what to watch, use the Surprise Me! feature, which automatically starts playing a random title for you. Excellent for when you feel like you're wasting hours aimlessly browsing for an appealing show or movie. You can also watch several Foxtel channels live. Closed captions are available across an extensive range of content.
So, should I get Foxtel/BINGE or Paramount Plus?
When comparing these providers Paramount Plus is the most affordable option, so it's worth considering for viewers on a budget. It buys you access to a wide library of shows and movies, with something for the entire family, including live football. It's also a great choice if you like crime procedurals.
If you're after HBO titles, Foxtel is the obvious pick. You get more recent movies and more live sport. A pay TV subscription tends to get expensive, which applies to Foxtel Now as well. BINGE, on the other hand, is great for those who don't care about sport and just want to enjoy some great on-demand entertainment.
At the end of the day, you can't go wrong with any of these. Our advice? Consider the information above and take advantage of the free trials to make an informed decision.
What can I watch on Paramount Plus?
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