ABC iview vs SBS On Demand: How do the Aussie catch-up services stack up?
Why pay for Netflix or Stan when SBS On Demand and ABC iview are offering top-shelf content for free?
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As the current state of free-to-air TV is a depressing wasteland of infomercials and awful reality TV, you'll probably want to look a class higher to SBS On Demand and ABC iview. The former is a streaming service that offers curated online content from Australia and around the globe, whereas the latter is the free Internet TV service of the ABC.
While both allow you to watch whenever and wherever it suits you, on the convenience of a personal computer, smartphone, smart TV, tablet or games console, we're sure you're aware that not all streaming services are created equal. Therefore, the question of the day is: which of these content providers are worth your precious free time?
SBS On Demand
- The best Aussie source for free international entertainment
- Robust, high-quality movie library
- Very limited kids' content
- Sometimes inconsistent quality of international content
- Tons of content for kids
- Top-notch news and current affairs
- No dedicated movie section
|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||Click for full details|
|Starting price per month||Free||Free|
|Hardware||Smart TV, desktop, streaming devices or mobile device||Smart TV, desktop, gaming console, mobile device or streaming devices|
|Compatibility on your mobile phone||Yes||Yes|
|Compatibility with consoles||No||Yes|
|Maximum streaming sessions||1||Unlimited|
|Content (approx)||~633 TV shows, ~432 movies||~747 programs|
|How much data does it use?||Average – 675MB/hour||Average – 300MB/hour|
Do SBS On Demand and ABC iview cost anything?
Here's a simple comparison: SBS On Demand and ABC iview are both completely equal in the pricing stakes because these competing services will cost you absolutely nada, nothing, nix to use. Hooray for free things!
How do SBS On Demand and ABC iview's content libraries compare?
When you compare the raw numbers of each service, there's quite a sizeable disparity in content between SBS On Demand and ABC iview. At last check (1 April 2019), ABC iview had 747 programs on offer. Meanwhile, SBS On Demand had 633 TV programs and 432 movies for a grand total of 1,065 titles.
Clearly, this is a bit of a landslide victory for SBS On Demand. However, it's worth noting that a sizeable chunk of SBS's library is made up of world cinema and international TV shows. Though the language barrier is broached by a robust subtitling service, the production quality of overseas content is a pretty broad spectrum.
What about kids' programming?
Note before we begin: the content libraries of any streaming service are always shifting sands and what was present at the time of writing may have moved on. That being said, it's clear from our hundreds of hours of real-world experience that ABC iview is the better destination if you're keen to keep your children out of your hair for half an hour or so (or hours on end). Currently, the service is home to such big name and beloved children's fare as Sesame Street, Peppa Pig, Bob the Builder, Teletubbies, Bananas in Pyjamas, Postman Pat and Thomas & Friends.
Meanwhile, over the fence, SBS On Demand only has a handful (roughly a dozen) TV programs aimed at the little ones. But, to be fair, the service currently hosts two of our personal favourite and highly acclaimed animated shows: The Mysterious Cities of Gold and The Red Turtle. Bonus points for having the 1960s Batman show on hand, too. Oddly, the choices don't open up when you move over into the movies section of this service as it doesn't have a specific kids/family category. The best you'll get is an animation section that has a paltry five or so offerings. Nothing worth mentioning here.
Does SBS On Demand or ABC iview offer better quality streaming?
From a technical standpoint, there's not too much to differentiate between these two services, both utilise an industry standard technique called "automated bit-rate adaption technology". In simple terms, it selects and sends out your content at a quality level that rubber bands to your Internet capabilities. Bandwidth-wise, both providers recommend an Internet connection speed of 1.5 Mbps or above to use their services.
More TV and movie streaming options
Why stop at ABC iview and SBS On Demand when you can compare them all? See what Prime Video and Stan are offering in the table below.
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