Pay TV Australia’s best entertainment services explained and compared

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But not all Pay TV services are the same, and knowing which will suit you best will make sure you get access to the shows you want and may save you money if you know exactly where to find your favourites.

Choose to subscribe to a stand-alone service or bundle your preferred Pay TV provider with a home broadband plan and get access to 1000s of movies, TV shows, live sporting events and documentaries that you may never get to see on free-to-air TV.

A revolution in the way you watch TV

No more ad-breaks, no more waiting

For decades Australians have had little choice in what they watch and when they want to watch it. Plus, we've had to sit through hours and hours of advertisements.

SVOD - streaming video on demand - is exactly as its name describes. You choose the shows you want to watch and they are streamed to your TV in moments. In exchange for a monthly fee, you get access to 1000s of shows and you watch them ad-free.

The rapid rise of incredible TV content has also paved the way for new methods of plugging in to it. Gone as the days when you would stick an antenna on your roof and watch whatever was broadcast from the free-to-air networks. Today, the best TV is streamed over the internet and watched on-demand: whatever you like, whenever you want it.


Foxtel: everything you need to know

Australia's leading subscription TV service.

Founded way back in 1995, Foxtel is the most established and best known Pay TV service provider in Australia. Its longevity has given Foxtel the ability to build up strong content partnerships meaning that Foxtel tends to get new TV shows and movies first, plus it owns the rights to broadcast all of the most popular sporting events, including most NRL, AFL and A-League football matches.

Pros:

  • New movies and TV shows
  • Australia’s best sports coverage
  • On-demand content
  • Foxtel Go app to watch TV on your computer

To get Foxtel you need one of two things: either a satellite dish on your roof or a cable connection running into your house. Foxtel will install this for you, but you are usually required to sign a long-term contract to become a subscriber. Some people find Foxtel expensive, but true TV lovers will see the value in the vast catalogue of content it has to offer.

You can read more about Foxtel and compare channel packs here.


Fetch TV: more than just the ‘other Foxtel’

TV recording, movie rentals and Netflix all in one place.

Fetch TV is seen as direct competition to Foxtel, but it is actually quite a bit different. Technically, there are no cables to install or satellite dishes on your roof, Fetch TV’s service is entirely streamed over your internet connection or your standard free-to-air TV antenna.

Pros:

  • Easiest way to get Netflix on your TV
  • Cheaper than Foxtel
  • Record over 500 hours of content, including Series Record functionality
  • Movie rental options built in

The basic plan is almost identical to Foxtel’s basic offer, and you have the option to add a movie pack (called Movie Box) or you can rent new release movies individually. Customers looking for foreign language content can choose to add on either a Hindi, Korean, Chinese or Filipino language pack.

Best of all, you can install apps on the Fetch TV box, including Netflix, YouTube and catch-up TV services like ABC’s iView.

You can read more about Fetch TV vs Foxtel here.


Netflix: world famous video streaming

Australia's fastest growing streaming movie service.

Without a doubt, Netflix is the biggest thing in Australia TV right now. Like Fetch TV, Netflix is seen as a major threat to the dominance of Foxtel in the Pay TV segment, but it is a very different product. You could even argue it is a complementary offer for true fans of TV.

Pros:

  • Cheap subscription and no set-up costs
  • Watch Netflix anywhere you are
  • Follow Netflix exclusive shows
  • Great range of genre films, cult classics and documentaries

Netflix streams movies and TV to your home over your internet connection. It costs about $10 per month and you can access it through most internet connected devices, like your laptop, tablet, phone, smart TV and gaming consoles. As we mentioned above, you can also install a Netflix app on a Fetch TV set-top box.

It is obviously much cheaper than Foxtel, but don’t expect Netflix to service up the latest episodes of your favourite shows, or recent release movies. Netflix is best for catching up on the shows you missed. That said, Netflix has started producing its own shows and is the only place you can watch them.

You can read more about Netflix and compare pricing options here


Presto: Foxtel’s answer to Netflix

Best for the latest movies and popular TV series.

Owned in part by Foxtel, Presto benefits from the content licenses Foxtel already owns. A quick scan of the Presto library reveals a more robust catalogue, with more shows and movies that you are likely to recognise.

Pros:

  • A more up-to-date library of shows and movies
  • Individual pack options
  • Watch Presto anywhere with a web browser
  • No lock-in contracts or set-up costs

The Presto team have also proven capable of securing exclusive for the platform that you won’t even see with a Foxtel subscription.

Presto pricing is a bit different to the other streaming internet TV services. Rather than a single access fee, customers can choose either a TV package or a movie package or both. The individual parts are $10 each, or $15 for the combo pack.

Learn more about Presto and what it costs here.



Stan: first to produce Australian TV and movies

Support unique home grown content with this awesome new streaming service.

Stan is the third streaming internet TV option we have in Australia, formed in partnership between Channel 9 and Fairfax media. Like Netflix, you pay a single monthly fee for access to the service (currently $10 per month,) and can watch shows on up to 3 different devices at once.

Pros:

  • Great recently release movies and exclusive back catalogue series
  • Unique, locally produced Australian content
  • Available on a number of game consoles and TV boxes
  • Free trial available

There are now Stan apps on Xbox One and PlayStation 3 & 4 game consoles, smartphone apps and on TV boxes like Apple TV and Telstra TV.

Stan is the only SVOD service currently producing local, Australian TV shows and movies, which is fantastic for the creative industries and audiences alike.

Learn more about Stan and what it costs here.


Subscription TV Vs Streaming Video On Demand

One simple choice to make before diving into a world of incredible TV shows and movies.

Your Pay TV options are essentially split into two broad categories: subscription services, including Foxtel, and Streaming Video On Demand (SVOD) services like Netflix, Presto and Stan.

The obvious difference between the two is price and commitment. Foxtel customers are typically required to sign up for at least 12-months, and need to pay installation and equipment costs..

SVOD services have no set-up costs, no contracts and all offer a free 30-day trial to test drive what is offered. On the downside, the SVODs all require you to have access to the internet and fixed-line home broadband plans tend to have contract periods and set-up costs similar to Foxtel.

In regards to content, Foxtel generally has a better selection of new release programs. Big name TV shows, like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead play on Foxtel at the same time they are shown in the U.S. The SVODs only have back-catalogue episodes for some of the most popular shows. However, increasingly the SVODs have exclusive content too.

Sport is one content area where Foxtel is unchallenged by any of its competitors. Regardless of the code, no other service in Australia broadcasts as much sport. If you love watching sport on your TV, you need to consider Foxtel. And if you decide to sign up, consider paying extra for HD broadcasts — you’ll be happy that you did.

Tossing up between Foxtel and Netflix? Read more here.

Featured Deals

Foxtel on Telstra Broadband Bundles

Telstra ADSL, Cable and NBN customers can add Foxtel Sports, Drama and Entertainment packs tot heir bundles or go big with a Platinum Foxtel plan.

Optus Yes TV by Fetch

Add Entertainment to your broadband bundle with a new Yes TV set-top box and access to a huge range of movies, TV shows and apps like Netflix.

Foxtel TV + Broadband

Check out the new Foxtel triple threat: Pay TV + Broadband + Home Phone bundles available directly from Foxtel with bundles with 45 channels.

Ready for the EPL?

See all 380 English Premier League football matches exclusively with Optus. Free streaming is available for broadband and mobile phone customers on plans of $85 per month.

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About this Service

WhistleOut maintains a broad list of service providers and we endeavour to include at least the top ten service providers in every category so that you can make a transparent choice. When you see a 'promoted product' or a product with a 'go to site' button it means that WhistleOut is earning a transaction click fee for the referral. We audit the prices in our database regularly and we don't alter the ranking of products in our organic search based on any commercial relationship. Find out more here