Netflix v Stan v Foxtel v Amazon Prime


If you loiter around the water cooler in the office, you'll be well aware of the changing face of TV.

Where we might have once spent these short breaks discussing free-to-air programs like The Block and Masterchef, the conversations these days is likely to be about the latest show on Netflix or the insanely popular Game of Thrones.

Streaming TV is a blanket term that describes any video service that 'streams' TV shows and movies into our homes over the internet.

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We still sit on the same sofa, staring at the same flat-screen TV, but the shows we watch are delivered over the web, rather than over the airwaves.

This means no more TV guides, no more schedules and no more missing an episode because we're having dinner with grandma. Streaming TV puts us in control.

There are a number of streaming services available in Australia now, but Netflix, Foxtel and Stan are far and away the most popular. There are similarities between the services, but several pros and cons for each.

Netflix is widely considered to be the spearhead of the streaming revolution and continues to be the most popular with thanks to its growing roster of 'Netflix Originals' - TV shows produced in-house by Netflix and available exclusively for its subscribers.

Some of these titles include the critically acclaimed House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and Stranger Things.

Prices start from $9.99 per month, and you can watch Netflix in a web browser or anywhere you find the app, including smart TVs, set-top boxes, gaming consoles, and smartphones.

Foxtel subscribers who love live sport and recent release movies might prefer to take a look at the pay TV provider's online service, Foxtel Now.

You get most of the same shows and movies you'll find on the standard Foxtel service, including popular TV shows like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and all of the same sporting events.

It is priced like Foxtel though, so don't expect it to be as cheap as Netflix. Prices start from $10 per month for a basic package, but additional packs, like movies and sport, can cost $20 or more each, so expect to pay over $100 per month for everything.

Stan, a partnership between Channel 9 and Fairfax, is the other major Aussie-owned TV service, and while you'll find a great range of movies and TV from overseas, the Stan team is working hard to make sure there is new Australian content in its lists as well.

Choose Stan to watch Twin Peaks and the Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul, as well as Aussie shows No Activity and Wolf Creek. Access to Stan starts from $10 per month.

One of the newer services for Australians is Amazon Prime Video. A special promotion gives you six months access for $US2.99 per month (or about $AU4), but expect there to be fewer shows available on Prime for the time being.

The highlights include the new show from the Top Gear team called The Grand Tour, and the popular supernatural drama American Gods, which both are 'Amazon Originals' and exclusive to the service.

There is obviously plenty to choose from, and luckily you don't need to commit to any of these services right away.

Each has a free trial period so you can test the waters, and all are contract free, meaning you can turn your subscription on and off as you please.

Just remember, because the video is streamed over the internet, you'll need a stable connection and plenty of data in your internet plan.


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