Foxtel vs. Netflix vs. Stan vs. Amazon


WhistleOut
13 July 2017

Sick of reruns and reality TV? Increasingly, the best television is ending up on streaming services rather than the free-to-air networks of old. Whether you want to watch Game of ThronesHouse of Cards, The Grand Tour, or the new season of Twin Peaks, you'll want to sign-up to one of the four services on offer down under. 

In Australia, we're spoiled for choice when it comes to streaming options. Netflix and Stan are the two big players, and they've recently been joined by Amazon Prime Video and the newly relaunched Foxtel Now. 

How do you pick? Do you just get all four? Here's what you need to know. 

alt-text-here

Price: From $10 per month

Quality: 1080i

Offline downloads: No

Free trial: Two weeks

Parental Controls: Yes

alt-text-here

Price: From $9.99 per month

Quality: 4K

Offline downloads: Yes

Free trial: One month

Parental Controls: Yes

alt-text-here

Price: From $10 per month

Quality: 4K

Offline downloads: Yes

Free trial: 30 days

Parental Controls: Yes

alt-text-here

Price: From USD$2.99 per month

Quality: 4K

Offline downloads: Yes

Free trial: 30 days

Parental Controls: Yes

Foxtel Now


What is it?

Foxtel Now is Foxtel's new take on a streaming service. Born out of the ashes of Foxtel Play, Foxtel Now is intended as a proper Netflix alternative, while previous attempts were more focused on live TV. Live TV is still available through Foxtel Now, which is especially relevant if you're hoping to enjoy the service's sport offering. 

While other streaming services available in Australia give you access to all of their content regardless of how much you're paying, the shows and movies you're able to watch on Foxtel Now depend on what channel packs you subscribe to. 

How much does it cost?

Much like Foxtel proper, Foxtel Now requires you to build your own package based on different channel packs. These start for as little as $10 per month, but will cost you as much as $104 per month if you want everything Foxtel has to offer. Other than Sport and Movies, each package can be bought as a standalone product. For example, the drama pack - which gets you access to Game of Thrones - is available for $15 per month.

A two week free trial is available for new Foxtel Now subscribers.

What devices are support?

Foxtel Now is available on iOS, Android, PlayStation 4, Google Chrome on Windows and Mac, Telstra TV, and Chromecast. The PlayStation 3, Xbox One run the older Foxtel Play app, which can access the same content, but won't play shows in high definition.

Exclusive content

Foxtel Now is the only Australian streaming service with HBO shows such as Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley, and Westworld. Live sport is Foxtel's other major drawcard.

What's good?
  • Finally available in high definition
  • Large library of HBO programming such as Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, The Wire, and Rome
  • Movies tends to be newer
  • Live sports
What's not so good?
  • Can end up more expensive than other services
  • Sport and Movies aren't available without another channel pack
  • Can't download for offline viewing
  • No 1080p or 4K content

Netflix


What is it?

Netflix is often credited with kickstarting the streaming revolution; it's the brand everyone else is trying to beat. One of the big benefits of taking up Netflix is that the app is available almost everywhere, whether you want to watch on a game console, smart TV, smartphone, PC, or tablet.

While Netflix's Australian library pales to its international offerings, a large cornerstone of the service's library is now made up of inhouse content - dubbed Netflix Originals - such as House of Cards, Stranger Things, and Narcos.

How much does it cost?

Netflix starts at $9.99 a month and is available in three price tiers. Content is the same across all three plans; how much you pay instead determines the quality you can watch at, and how many devices can stream content simultaneously.

  • $9.99 per month: Standard definition, stream on one device
  • $13.99 per month: High definition, stream on two devices at once
  • $17.99 per month: 4K, stream on four devices at once

A month long free trial is available for new Netflix subscribers.

What devices are support?

Netflix is available on pretty much every device you can think of; it's almost surprising your fridge can't run it. These include iOS, Android, Windows Store, web browsers on PC and Mac, most smart TVs, Apple TV, Telstra TV, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and Wii U.

Exclusive content

Netflix has been producing its own original content since 2013, which has resulted in shows such as House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, BoJack Horseman, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. While these shows can eventually end up on iTunes or on Blu-Ray, Netflix is the first you're able to watch them, and the service tends to drop every single episode in a season on day one. 

In addition to episodic content, Netflix has also commissioned a large number of stand up specials, and is starting to get into feature films.

What's good?
  • Works almost anywhere in the world, so you can still watch when travelling (although content may differ)
  • You can download content to your phone or tablet for offline viewing
  • Large content library
  • Netflix Originals tend to be high quality
  • Works on almost any devices
What's not so good?
  • Streamable movies tend to be older
  • TV content is becoming dominated by Netflix Originals

Stan


What is it?

Stan is an Australian streaming service co-owned by Channel 9 and Fairfax (the publisher of The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, and The Australian Financial Review). In addition to a healthy amount of Australian content - including a couple of original series produced by Stan itself - the service has managed to shore up a number of international partnerships which have resulted in a great deal of first run content, such as Better Call Saul and the new season of Twin Peaks.

How much does it cost?

Stan starts at $10 a month, and is available in three price tiers. Content is across the same across both plans; how much you pay determines the quality you can watch at, the number of devices you can use for offline viewing, and how many devices can be streaming simultaneously.

High definition used to cost $10 per month, but recent changes mean new subscribers will now pay $12 per month for increased stream quality. If you're an existing subscriber, your monthly bill will change in August. 

  • $10 per month: Standard definition, stream on one device, offline viewing on one device 
  • $12 per month: High definition, stream on three devices at once, offline viewing on three devices 
  • $15 per month: 4K, stream on four devices at once, offline viewing on five devices

A 30 day free trial is available for new Stan subscribers.

What devices are support?

Stan is available on iOS, Android, Windows Store, web browsers on PC and Mac, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Apple TV, Telstra TV, Chromecast, and select smart TVs.

Exclusive content

Stan's wrangled a number of international partnerships that have seen it bring more than a few new release TV series to Australia. One of Stan's major agreements is with US network Showtime, encompassing programming such as Twin Peaks, Billions, and I'm Dying Up Here. Other "First on Stan" shows have included Better Call Saul, Community's last season, and new episodes of Sherlock.

Stan is also investing in its own original content, which has so far included black comedy No Activity, a Wolf Creek TV series, and a series of Australian stand up specials.

What's good?
  • Simple pricing structure
  • You can download content to your phone or tablet for offline viewing
  • Large content library with a number of Australian firsts
  • Good amount of Australian content
What's not so good?
  • You have to redownload content for offline viewing when it expires
  • No support for HDR (high dynamic range) content

Amazon Prime Video


What is it?

As the name might suggest, Amazon Prime Video is Amazon's streaming service. It's quite new in Australia, launching at the end of last year, and the content library is a little bit limited. For what Prime Video lacks in quantity, it makes up in quantity and price: the service has some big name exclusives - including The Grand Tour and American Gods - and is just USD$2.99 for the first six months (Prime Video is billed in US dollars).

How much does it cost?

Amazon Prime Video is available for USD$2.99 for the first six months of your subscription, after which the price goes up to USD$5.99.

A seven day free trial is available for new Amazon Prime Video subscribers.

What devices are support?

Amazon Prime Video is available on iOS, Android, web browsers on Windows and Mac, Chromecast, and select smart TVs. An Amazon Prime Video app will be available for Apple TV later this year.

Internationally, Amazon Prime Video apps are available for consoles including the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, but these aren't available in Australia yet.

Exclusive content

Much like Netflix, Amazon is also making its own original content. The biggest series available on the service is arguably The Grand Tour, the new show from the Top Gear blokes. Other key exclusives include American Gods, and every single episode of Seinfeld.

What's good?
  • Cheaper than its competitors
  • You can download content to your phone or tablet for offline viewing
  • Works almost anywhere in the world, so you can still watch when travelling (although content libraries may differ)
  • 4K content not locked behind a higher price point
What's not so good?
  • Limited library in Australia
  • Limited device support in Australia

So, what should I pick?


When it comes to actually picking a streaming service, there's no real right or wrong answer; it all comes down to what you want to watch. You might go with Foxtel Now if you want live sport, Netflix to keep up to date with the latest season of House of Cards, or Stan for the Twin Peaks revival.

If you can't make up your mind, your best bet is to sign up for a free trial to check out what each of the services have on offer - just make sure you cancel them before you're billed. And if you still can't make up your mind, there's nothing stopping you from taking out two or more subscriptions. You can even subscribe to all four.

None of these services require you to sign a contract either, which can make subscribing just for one show a little less painful. For example, it's possible to sign up to Foxtel Now for a few months while Game of Thrones is airing, and cancel when the series is over with no penalty.


Comments

WhistleOut

Australia's Leading Site For Comparing Pay TV

From Foxtel to Netflix, compare now so you can relax on the weekend.

Start Comparing


We compare over half a million plan combinations in 7 countries



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.