Streaming services have taken off in a big way here in Australia over the last 12 months, with a diverse line-up of platforms all vying for the privilege of beaming TV and movies direct to your eyeballs.
But which service offers the best content, is the best value for money, or is the most versatile? We took a look at the four contenders – Netflix, Stan, Presto and Quickflix – to judge which streaming platform is worth your hard-earned cash. Happy viewing!
However, contrary to popular belief, Netflix isn’t this unassailable mammoth that can’t be bested; in fact, the selection of films currently leaves a lot to be desired, with the selection of classic or cult films being more than a little sparse. The array of TV shows could also be improved, with shows such as Vikings, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Blacklist being one or two seasons behind at best.
Netflix offers a three-tier subscription selection, starting from one screen in standard definition for $8.99 a month to ultra-high definition across four screens for $14.99 a month. The desktop interface is slick and easy to scroll through, with the PS4 and Xbox apps also easy to use.
Stan - 3.5 stars
Plus, with exclusive rights to shows like Community, iZombie, The Flash, Constantine and Better Call Saul, Stan also has more than enough high-demand and cult shows to draw an audience. They’ve also just poached the rights to classic 90's sitcom Friends, the entire Hunger Games film series, as well as Aussie films like These Final Hours and Felony. The Imitation Game, Big Eyes and St. Vincent will arrive later in the year.
That being said, I found the interface a little clunky and unresponsive, especially on iPad. Stan doesn’t yet offer a PS4 or Xbox app, nor does it have smart TV support; the best way to watch Stan is still via your desktop PC or laptop, or through Chromecast.
Presto - 3 stars
Presto’s catalogue of TV shows is undoubtedly impressive; The Walking Dead, Modern Family, Entourage, True Blood, Penny Dreadful, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Dexter, Deadwood, The Wire, The Sopranos – the list goes on.
The main issue here is the cost; Presto gives users the option to choose either TV or movies for $9.99 a month or both for $14.99 a month, making it considerably more expensive than its rivals – especially when you consider that you can’t stream anything in high-definition. That’s okay if you’re just using your iPad, but projecting onto anything larger might make your eyes hurt.
You can stream on four separate devices, and watch up to two titles simultaneously; Presto doesn’t yet offer PlayStation 4 or Xbox One compatibility, but does come with all the standard Apple and Android apps.
Quickflix - 2 stars
It may seem like Quickflix has a vast array of content, but a lot of this isn’t available through their simple $9.99 a month subscription fee. If you want premium content a la Game of Thrones, True Detective and The Walking Dead, you’ll be made to pay extra, much like purchasing content to keep from the iTunes store. The titles you receive for paying the bog-standard subscription fee are either older, classic movies, or barrel-scraping new releases.
Not only that, but the interface is ugly and kind of confusing. Good luck finding anything amongst the awkward filters and endless scrolling. That being said, Quickflix does outdo its rivals in terms of versatility; you can stream your purchases across a range of smart TV’s, game consoles, tablets, smartphones and via Chromecast.