Friday, 18 September 2015

Opinion: Which Streaming Service Is Right For Me?


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!

Netflix - 4 stars



Armed with a formidable overseas reputation as the streaming service to beat, the Australian version of Netflix has certainly got a lot going for it. The selection of Netflix Originals is what sets it apart, with quality shows such as House of Cards, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Orange is the New Black all available from the get-go.

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



Marketing material for Stan claims that the service boats the largest library across any streaming service in Australia, and when you combine this with the ability to to stream across three screens simultaneously in high-definition for just $10 a month, Stan isn’t just hanging around to make up the numbers. They mean business, a fact that is reflected in their affordable price and flexible viewing options.

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 same can be said for the collection of movies, which are broken down across genre through an interface that feels intuitive and easy to learn.

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



Quickflix is a hybrid platform that has fingers in many pies; from subscription streaming and premium pay-per-view to a DVD and Blu-ray postal service, Quickflix aims to plug the gaps that its rivals leave behind. In doing so, it does a lot of things, but does none of them better than anyone else.

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.

This article was originally published over at Hooked on Film, a Perth based website where you can find even more new release movie reviews, features, interviews and insight. Click here to check it out.

4 comments:

  1. Gosh, I didn't even realise there were so many streaming services out there! Can't they all just be friends and let us pay 1 fee for all? Sigh...
    Thanks for this post though, it's really useful!
    - Allie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! Why can't they all just get along?!

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. For now - competition is getting pretty strong ;)

      Delete

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