In the golden age of streaming services, one can feel like a kid in a candy shop: all those platforms clamouring for your attention and monthly subscription fee! But which ones deliver the content you’re looking for?
We’ve compiled an exhaustive list of all of the streaming platforms available for Australian viewers, comparing cost and pros and cons.
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Platforms covered: Netflix, Stan, Prime Video, Disney+, Kanopy, iView, SBS on Demand, Docplay, Foxtel Now, Binge, Kayo, Tubi, Acorn TV, Apple TV+, Hayu, Ten Play, Nine Now, Quibi,
Still the grandaddy of streaming platforms, Netflix has become an international juggernaut with its library of originals and old favourites. Series like Orange is the New Black and Tiger King have turned into huge sleeper successes, thanks to the US empire’s emphasis on binge-ability.
Cost: $9.99 per month for one screen, and $19.99 for the maximum four screens. That’s a hefty but arguably worthwhile $240 a year for premium, 4k HD resolution.
Pros: With each passing year, the streaming service’s originals are becoming more and more groundbreaking, with The Irishman and Marriage Story both nominated for Best Picture in this year’s Oscars. Soon, all will be Netflix. Praise be to Netflix.
Cons: The movie selection can be a little underwhelming when you look beyond the recent festival acquisitions and comfy old faves. The horror section in particular is deeply focused on quantity over quality, with a hundred low budget films you’ve never heard of for every one genre gem.
This Australian streaming service has cleverly scooped up hot international series such as Younger, Normal People, and The Great, whilst still offering an impressive selection of local originals, such as The Other Guy and The True History of the Kelly Gang. Its affiliation with Channel Nine also delivers that channel’s latest titles onto Stan without too much of a wait.
Cost: A basic plan is $10 a month (which includes one screen and one mobile device). A standard plan is $14 a month (includes HD and three screens and three mobile devices). The top plan is $17 a month, which includes 4K Ultra HD, a maximum of four screens and five mobile devices.
Pros: A broad selection of films that you may be unable to find anywhere else (including a weirdly excellent library of Italian giallo horror!) and great device compatibility.
Cons: Some of the series on Stan are not available in full, annoyingly enough. For example, you’ll have to look elsewhere for the first few seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Amazon‘s streaming service is as comprehensive as you’d expect of the US mega-retailer. The platform comes free with a membership to Amazon Prime, meaning you can also access a huge library of eBooks, and it’s the only place you can check out acclaimed TV such as The Marvelous Ms Maisel, Undone and Jack Ryan.
Cost: A flat $6.99 a month.
Pros: Amazon has become a major buyer at prestigious film festivals around the world. They acquired excellent indie releases such as The Big Sick and Uncle Frank before most of us ever heard of those movies.
Cons: One thing that always irks me is picking out a movie, hitting play and finding out that while the title is being promoted on Amazon Prime Video, you still have to purchase or rent it as it’s not actually included in your subscription for whatever reason. Grrrr.
All Disney, all the time. Actually that’s not true, there’s also every Marvel movie, every Star Wars property, and a tonne of National Geographic content, making Disney Plus the family-friendly option for entertainment.
Cost: $8.99 a month or $89.99 a year. There’s also no tiers to subscription, as all plans include the same features and unlimited downloads.
Pros: Disney+ has gotta be a lifesaver for parents everywhere, as its huge selection of princess movies and wholesome kid-friendly TV makes it the perfect never-ending screensaver for little ones.
Cons: Disney+ doesn’t have many new releases arriving on its calendar. If you signed up for huge debuts like The Mandalorian, you’ll be waiting a loooong while until the next big title.
The little streaming service that could, Kanopy is available through whatever libraries you have access to, and has a self-proclaimed focus on ‘thoughtful entertainment’. This translates to a diverse variety of documentaries, classic films and more recent festival favourites.
Cost: It’s free!
Pros: I just said it’s free, dude. But it’s also home to some truly excellent movies that might otherwise fly under your radar, such as (to name only a few) Under The Silver Lake, Dogtooth and Hunt For The Wilderpeople.
Cons: Kanopy‘s content varies greatly depending on what library or institution you’re watching through, meaning that your public library’s selection could be a bit more meagre than the platform’s full catalogue.
The national broadcaster’s online streaming platform, iView is easy to use and home to a respectable library of content from all its channels. That includes most of your kids’ favourite shows, such as the record-breaking family hit Bluey.
Cost: Free, and relatively ad-free too, following in the national spirit of the ABC.
Pros: There’s nowhere else to check out incendiary real-world shows like Q&A and Four Corners, or to watch last night’s episode of Doctor Who. It’s also got arguably the strongest Australian original library on this list, with programs such as Mystery Road, Rosehaven and Cleverman.
Cons: In most cases, episodes of shows will expire after a month, so it can be hard to keep up with series that are being released simultaneously on the ABC.
Australia’s favourite TV channel for international content has sparked an equally exciting and diverse streaming website, with quirky new series like The Young Pope and On Becoming A God In Central Florida taking place alongside classic cinema.
Cost: It’s free, albeit peppered with ads every now and then.
Pros: You can check out a live feed of SBS‘s handful of channels, including international news, or just pick a critically acclaimed movie to enjoy.
Cons: As with iView, once a title is added to SBS On Demand, it may not be there for long. Some TV episodes are only available to watch for a single week after their release, meaning you need to act fast at times.
Sometimes the real world is so much stranger than fiction, and only a documentary will scratch your itch for knowledge and entertainment. If that’s you, Docplay is the place to be, with its vast array of docos dissecting the worlds of nature, science, sport, art, and more.
Cost: $6.95 a month, or $69.50 a year. That’s a great gift for someone you love who’s into learning more about the world.
Pros: Documentaries are a genre that only get more and more popular as time goes by, with theatrically released documentary doing better financially than ever before. Soak up that golden age by getting acquainted with some of Docplay‘s biggest titles like Hoop Dreams and Blackfish.
Cons: Docplay is more quality over quantity, featuring hundreds of titles rather than Netflix and Stan‘s thousands.
For too long, getting a cumbersome Foxtel box has been the only way to (legally) check out highly anticipated shows from HBO and other exclusive content. But now the Aussie cable stalwart has developed their own online spin-off, allowing anyone to purchase content ‘packs’ as an introduction to Foxtel‘s huge library.
Cost: The ‘Essentials Pack’ is a steep $25 a month, with add-ons ranging from an extra $10 to $29 a month.
Pros: The ‘Showcase Pack’ will give you access to all the big HBO hits such as Barry, Chernobyl and Game of Thrones.
Cons: You can’t fully check what shows are in each ‘pack’ before purchasing, meaning you might get sucked into paying waaaaay too much in order to have access to all the shows you’re actually going to watch.
Foxtel has come up with an alternative way to check out the best HBO offerings and more! Australia’s newest streaming service Binge bills itself as an ‘unturnoffable’ world class selection of film and TV.
Cost: $10 a month for one screen, $18 for the maximum four screens. Definitely a big more manageable than the above Foxtel option.
Pros: Binge offers some of the most acclaimed series of all time (i.e. The Sopranos, Seinfeld, Sex And The City, The Wire, Game of Thrones) alongside recent hits that Aussies would normally be forced to wait for (i.e. Succession, Westworld, Big Little Lies). And its ‘Discover’ suggestions are curated by actual humans, not an algorithm, meaning you might have a better chance of being pointed towards your next favourite show.
Cons: This platform has only recently launched, so there’s little news or user reviews yet. That also means it may take a little time for Binge to get any user interface wrinkles ironed out.
Enough talking about made-up fiction nonsense! Sports fans need to stream too sometimes. Kayo offers a two-tiered subscription service that brings fans a selection of over 50 international sports.
Cost: Standard subscription is $25 and premium is $35, with the only difference between the two being the availability of an additional screen for streaming.
Pros: You can stay glued to your TV all day during tennis season, or get freaky with less publicised sports such as ten pin bowling, gymnastics, squash, and poker.
Cons: As a subsidiary of Foxtel, Kayo features the same high asking price as Foxtel Now. Could be for niche sports fanatics only; you know, folks who simply must watch every boxing match happening in the world at any given time.
Tubi is a totally free and easy-to-use streaming option, with content from Paramount, MGM, and Lionsgate available on basically all Apple, Sony, and Android devices. The only catch is that you’ll have to sit through a few ads, but the platform’s great titles make it all worthwhile. It’s home to everything from hot recent thrillers to beloved 90s family classics.
Cost: Free—no subscription or credit card info required.
Pros: Despite its 20,000 titles, Tubi never feels like a mere dumping ground for random film titles. There’s some true cinema gems here, like Battle Royale, The Big Short, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Cons: If you find ads too pesky to sit through, Tubi is not for you. There’s also no original content.
Acorn TV caters to an under-valued demographic: viewers who stick to British comedy, drama and murder mysteries. While a few of Acorn’s top titles are also available on iView from time to time, Acorn TV could be the perfect fit for anyone who loves to plant themselves in front of a good proper English yarn, without the desire for anything more flashy or current.
Cost: $6.99 a month or $69.99 for a full year.
Pros: A cult favourite, Acorn TV features a bunch of titles from across the pond that are otherwise not easily accessible, compiling them into one place alongside Shakespeare adaptations and gentle UK comedy classics.
Cons: Sadly, many Acorn TV Amazon reviews feature disgruntled users complaining about the app’s sometimes dysfunctional interface.
Apple‘s savvy marketing team could sell ice to an Eskimo. This sleek new streaming service is no exception, luring in viewers with big names and high concept, all-original content. So far their biggest hit is the Jennifer Aniston-led drama Morning Wars, but teen drama Dickinson and M. Night Shyamalan series’ Servant have also incited some positive buzz.
Cost: $7.99 a month
Pros: The service launched in November around the same time as Disney+, and you can expect both platforms to really come into their own and develop more impressive libraries as time goes on.
Cons: The decision to start a streaming platform with only original content was a bold one, but also kind of baffling. Sometimes you just wanna veg out and watch something comfy and familiar, not one of Apple TV+‘s bundle of quietly received mini-series.
A reality fan’s vision of paradise, Hayu is focused on bringing the best unscripted content to Australian viewers, dropping episodes of Keeping Up With The Kardashians and Real Housewives as soon as they land in the US.
Cost: $6.99 a month. Not bad for a platform where most of the shows have a vast amount of seasons and spin-offs.
Pros: Rather than dropping entire series after a long wait a la Netflix, Hayu works more as a pipeline to bring international shows right to your doorstep, practically as soon as they premiere. You’ll feel like you’re right there, hearing the latest gossip at the same time as Lisa Vanderpump!
Cons: Hayu‘s selection really is just narrowly limited to reality and lifestyle TV, meaning anyone other than a reality die-hard might tire of the subscription after a while.
Streaming platforms would seem to be the arch nemesis of network TV, but both Ten and Nine have their own great online alternatives. Channel Ten‘s online streaming website is the only place you can go to catch up on episodes of Survivor, Masterchef, and The Bachelor that you may have missed. Likewise, Nine Now offers viewers a chance to watch and rewatch Channel Nine‘s top series, like Married at First Sight and Ellen.
Cost: Both are gloriously free, after a quick sign-up process.
Pros: If you’re away from a TV and can’t wait until the episodes are released online tomorrow, you can stream each channel live via their website!
Cons: Some of Channel Ten and Nine‘s titles are available on the above paid subscription services, meaning you may not have a compelling reason to visit Nine Now or Ten Play unless it’s to find that one specific show you can’t get anywhere else.
Oh Quibi. Poor Quibi. Backed by billionaire Jeffrey Katzenberg to the tune of $1.75 billion dollars, this service is only available via phone, providing ‘snackable’ entertainment that viewers can digest on the go. But even with all the big name talent in the world (Spielberg, Soderbergh, Del Toro and Raimi are among the directors and producers involved!), Quibi couldn’t have foreseen a real-life twist that would render it useless: a global pandemic that meant all many of us can do is sit inside and binge for hours. Meaning viewers could hypothetically get through Quibi‘s entire catalogue in about a day and a half. Bad timing, guys!
Cost: After a generous 90 day free trial, Quibi is $12.99 a month.
Pros: To be fair, Quibi did have a promising first week of downloads, and there’s some light buzz for shows like Chrissy’s Court, Most Dangerous Game and a revival of Punk’d with Chance the Rapper. Buuut…
Cons: …it’s too early to tell whether Quibi will join the streaming platform big leagues, as its insubstantial ‘snackable’ format makes it tricky for viewers to really engage with these shows, and feel compelled to subscribe beyond the 90 day trial.