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Compare Australian video streaming services

NameServiceContentPrice per monthPurchase
foxtel-now-compare-iconStreamingTV, sport and moviesFrom $10 depending on packageGet 14-day trial

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netflixStreamingTV, moviesOne device - $9.99 | 2 devices - $13.99 | 4 devices - $17.99More info
StreamingTV, moviesOne device - $10 | 3 devices - $12 | 4 devices - $15More info
Amazon Prime videoStreamingTV, moviesUS$5.99More info
StreamingReality TV$5.99Get a 30-day free trial

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DownloadingTV, music, moviesTV - From 99¢/episode or $10/season | Movies - From $10 to buy and 99¢ to rentGo to iTunes

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YouTube RedStreamingTV, music, movies$11.99More info
Google PlayDownloadingTV, music, moviesTV - From 99¢/episode or $10/season | Movies - From $7 to buy and 99¢ to rentMore info
playstation videoDownloadingTV, moviesTV - From $2.99/episode or $13.99/season | Movies - From $8 to buy and 99¢ to rentMore info
Microsoft Movies & TVDownloadingTV, moviesTV - From $2.99/episode or $11.96/season | Movies - From $8.99 to buy and $3.99 to rentMore info
bigpond moviesDownloadingTV, moviesTV - From $1.99/episode or $14.99/season | Movies - From $10.99 to buy and $3.99 to rentMore info

Get more from your internet connection with the best in streaming entertainment

The rise of the Internet towards the end of the 20th century allowed for global sharing of information in a way that completely revolutionised communication. But in the 21st century, the internet is all about entertainment. As broadband connections have gotten faster and more reliable, a new breed of entertainment service has arisen, allowing customers to subscribe to content for an affordable monthly fee, rather than buying a license to each piece of content individually.

Driven by streaming video platforms like Netflix and music services like Spotify, we're now in the age of digital entertainment, where you can access a huge selection of movies, music, TV shows and even sports from almost anywhere, so long as you have a reliable internet connection. And perhaps most exciting is the fact that we're still in the early days of streaming as a platform, which means that things are going to get much more exciting over the coming years.

What is streaming?

Before the arrival of the internet, customers would need to buy their music and movies and TV shows in a physical format. From vinyl to Blu-ray discs, physical media was a necessary component of the entertainment cycle. With the arrival of the world wide web, entertainment went digital, and a new industry of digital consumption was born. Led by pioneers like iTunes, which sold music at a fixed price through a digital shopfront, the industry has quickly developed to offer more flexible options for accessing entertainment.

Streaming services do away with the notion of content ownership, and instead rely on a subscription model to access a large library of content for an affordable monthly price. Because these platforms offer access to a much larger library for around the same price it historically cost to buy one movie or album, these streaming services rely on scale to make money, having a large customer base paying a regular fee.

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There's little argument that while there will always be a market for those wanting to own their content, subscription streaming services are growing in popularity around the world. Led by services like Netflix, Spotify and Apple Music, streaming subscription services are also beginning to expand into traditional broadcast realms like sports.

What you should know about streaming video

When you consider the different ways to access video online, there are a handful of different technological differences between how various platforms deliver their content. Technically, streaming refers to services that access video files from a server somewhere on the internet, and then play the relevant file on your device directly from that remote location.

Because nothing is stored on your device, it means that you can do cool things like pause a movie on your TV and then continue to watch it on your phone or iPad as you commute to work (so long as you have a solid mobile broadband connection). It also allows for technologies like adaptive streaming, which adjusts the quality of the stream based on your connection speed in real time, so that the show will remain playing, even if your connection suddenly gets congested and slows down. This is the technology used by Australian streaming services like Netflix, Stan and Foxtel Now, as well as catch-up platforms like ABC iview.

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The other main way you can watch video over the internet is to download it to your device before you watch it. Services like Playstation Video and Xbox Movies and TV use this method, which has the benefit of reducing the possibility of dropouts should your internet connection be interrupted, or your broadband service get congested by lots of devices accessing at the same time.

The reality though is that many services combine the two. YouTube will buffer your content by downloading the video to your device before playing, only starting playback once there is enough content downloaded to ensure an uninterrupted video. iTunes can work in a similar fashion, too, depending on the device you use to access the content.

In late 2016, Netflix launched the ability to watch certain TV shows and movies offline by downloading them to your iOS or Android device. This functionality is common in music streaming, and Amazon Prime had launched the same feature, but Netflix's global launch and library size makes it significantly more useful to streamers in Australia. Viewing offline is especially useful for frequent flyers, or commuters either without a reliable 4G mobile connection or with a low data cap, as it allows users to download shows and movies on their home wireless and then be able to watch it without fear of losing their broadband connection.

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Streaming music and what you need to consider

Accessing music via the internet has been happening on a large scale a lot longer than streaming video. The fact that music files are much smaller certainly helped file sharers back in the days of 64K modems.

These days, there are a multitude of services that allow music lovers to access music through the internet. Like video streaming though, there has been a lot of consolidation in the market, with smaller players unable to compete with the success of a handful of larger players.

Unlike streaming video, where providers differentiate themselves on content, streaming music services all boasts libraries in the millions of tracks, which leads to a lot of overlap. There is a growing tendency for artists to launch exclusively with a single service, and some artists have pulled their catalogue from certain services as well.

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The biggest differentiator in the music space then is in the platform itself. Spotify, for example, has built out its service to connect with a massive range of devices through its Spotify Connect platform, and has spent a lot of time developing technology to allow for curated playlists based on your listening habits. Tidal, on the other hand, plays the quality angle, offering a service where the music is encoded at a much higher quality than rival platforms.

A growing trend in music streaming is also the ability to share an account with family members, where multiple users can listen to music at the same time with individual accounts, all paid for under a single, discounted bill.

Music streaming can fundamentally be broken down into three different categories. There's the all-you-can-eat subscription model, which offers access to a large library of songs for a set fee every month, which has risen to become one of the most popular methods of music streaming in recent years. There's also the digital radio model, that sees a radio-like service delivered through the internet, and lacks the ability to create playlists or listen to albums. There's also the more traditional iTunes model of digitally purchasing songs and albums to own.

To help decide which type of service is best for you, visit our music streaming comparison for more information.

Compare Australian music streaming services

ServiceFree trial?TracksStreaming qualityPrice (per month)Purchase
Spotify3 months for 99¢Over 30 millionFree: 96-160 kbps | Premium: 320 kbps$11.99 (single)
$17.99 (family)
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Apple Music3 monthsOver 30 million256kbps$11.99 (single)
$17.99 (family)
$5.99 (student)
Get 3 months of Apple Music for 99c

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Tidal30 daysOver 40 millionNormal: 96kbps | High 320kbps | HiFi 1411kbps FLAC$11.99 (single)
$23.99 (HiFi single)
Up to $35.95 (family)
Up to $71.95 (HiFi family)
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Pandora1 weekOver 1 millionPandora: 64kbps | Pandora One: 192kbpsUS$4.99More info
Deezer30 daysOver 40 million320kbps$11.99 (single)
$17.99 (family)
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iHeart radioFree with adsOver 20 millionNot specifiedFreeMore info
MS Groove Music30 daysOver 38 million192kbps$11.99 (single)More info
Google Play Music4 monthsOver 35 million320kbps$11.99 (single)
$17.99 (family)
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iTunesNoneOver 37 million256kbpsSongs from $1.19
Albums from $6.99
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Soundcloud30 daysOver 135 million128kbps$11.99More info
YouTube MusicFree with adsOver 30 millionNot specified$11.99 (with YouTube Red)More info

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