Australian streaming video services compared

With Aussies now spoiled for choice when it comes to video-on-demand, we have the full rundown on local streaming videos services.

Claire Reilly Former Principal Video Producer
Claire Reilly was a video host, journalist and producer covering all things space, futurism, science and culture. Whether she's covering breaking news, explaining complex science topics or exploring the weirder sides of tech culture, Claire gets to the heart of why technology matters to everyone. She's been a regular commentator on broadcast news, and in her spare time, she's a cabaret enthusiast, Simpsons aficionado and closet country music lover. She originally hails from Sydney but now calls San Francisco home.
Expertise Space, Futurism, Science and Sci-Tech, Robotics, Tech Culture Credentials
  • Webby Award Winner (Best Video Host, 2021), Webby Nominee (Podcasts, 2021), Gold Telly (Documentary Series, 2021), Silver Telly (Video Writing, 2021), W3 Award (Best Host, 2020), Australian IT Journalism Awards (Best Journalist, Best News Journalist 2017)
Claire Reilly
7 min read
Sarah Tew

Remember when streaming TV meant torrenting or paying per episode, months after your favourite show had aired overseas?

Things have changed.

The arrival of Netflix and Stan in 2015 saw a massive shake up in the local market with established players like Foxtel lowering its prices and other smaller operations shutting up shop altogether (farewell Ezyflix!).

But which streaming or download service is best?

Well, it depends on what you're after. There's no one-size-fits-all -- you might subscribe to one or two services, throw in a few downloads from iTunes or Google Play and supplement all that with free catch-up TV.

But now, we've done all the leg work to compare your options.

First up, here are the bare bones of each service streaming on Aussie screens:

ServicePriceResolution Chromecast Ready? Apple TV ready?Offline downloads?Number of devices in use at onceNumber of registered devices
Netflix$10/$14/$18SD/HD/4KYesYesYes 1/2/4N/A
Stan$10/$12/$15SD/HD/4KYesYesYes 1/3/4N/A
Foxtel NowFrom $10SD, HD on select devicesYesNoNo25
Amazon Prime Video$8.08SD/HDYesNoYes (tablet/phone)3N/A


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Netflix had a massive win with "Stranger Things."


Before it launched in March 2015, you could only access Netflix in Australia via VPN . Now it's here, it's shaken up the industry, and while there are complaints our catalogue isn't as big as what's on offer in the US, it's a good start.

What does it cost?
  • Basic (One screen, SD): $9.99/month
  • Standard (Streaming on two screens at once, HD where available): $13.99/month
  • Premium (Up to four screens at once, HD and 4K where available): $17.99/month

All new Netflix customers can get a 30-day trial, and Optus and iiNet customers can also stream Netflix without using their data cap on selected plans.

What's on offer?

Netflix is strong on back-catalogue content, but the big seller is its catalogue of Netflix Originals. These include Netflix-produced shows like "Stranger Things," "House of Cards" and "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt." You'll also find Disney shows and Aussie content from the likes of the ABC and Roadshow entertainment.

Best of all, you can download to watch offline. Excellent perk.

How much data will I use?
  • Up to 1GB/hr for SD content, 3GB for HD and 7GB for 4K.
  • Manually adjust down to 300 megabytes per hour, though quality will drop.
  • Netflix recommends broadband speeds of 3 Mbps for SD, 5 Mbps for HD and 25 Mbps for 4K, but requires a minimum of 500 Kbps to start streaming.
What can I watch it on?

Netflix is pretty ubiquitous and the app is available on iOS , Android, console, smart TVs , and set-top devices like Apple TV. In-browser streaming means you can also watch on desktop and push to Chromecast.

Check out Netflix system requirements here.

What's the catch?

As expected the catalogue is smaller than in the US, though Netflix was quite open about that ahead of launch. But getting the US catalogue is nigh on impossible now, with Netflix cracking down hard on VPN use.


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Stan has invested in Aussie content with shows like "No Activity."


Yeah, we were weirded out by the name when it first launched on Australia Day 2015, but Stan has well and truly proven itself as a home-grown streaming service with original shows, 4K viewing and offline downloads.

What does it cost?
  • Basic (One screen, SD): $10/month
  • Standard (Three screens, HD where available): $12
  • Premium (Four screens, HD & 4K where available): $15

Optus customers can also get unmetered streaming. 

What's on offer?

Like Netflix, Stan is investing in originals (which is impressive when you consider they don't have Netflix's deep pockets) -- "Wolf Creek" is the big one, plus "No Activity" and Aussie comedy specials. A deal with Showtime has also brought in primo US content to run day and date with American TV.

How much data will I use?
  • 570MB per hour for low quality, 1.13GB for SD and 2.89GB for HD
  • Stan recommends minimum broadband speeds of 2 Mbps up to 7.5 Mbps for HD and 15 Mbps for 4K.
What can I watch it on?

Like Netflix, Stan is pretty widely available, on Smart TV, console, Android, iOS and Apple TV. In-browser streaming means you can also watch on desktop and push to Chromecast.

You don't need to register devices, but you can only have three video streams running simultaneously.

See the full list of Stan-compatible devices here.

What's the catch?

Stan certainly punches above its weight, but it's not quite as big as Netflix yet. That said, considering how young it is, it has an excellent lineup of local shows as well as big-ticket productions from abroad.

Foxtel Now

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Foxtel Now boasts HBO content like "Game of Thrones."


Foxtel Play may have rebranded to Foxtel Now, but it's the same service delivering set-top-box Foxtel over the internet (IPTV). As a result, it's a bit different to the other streaming services in that it offers on-demand viewing and live channels -- just like you'd get through cable. And like regular Foxtel, Now will also get you access to the Foxtel Go app as well.

What does it cost?

It's all about "Channel Packs." You can go basic with a $10 Drama pack, or get everything on offer for over $100.

Check out our Foxtel Now full pricing guide here, but here are the basics:

  • Documentaries, Lifestyle and Kids Packs: $10/mth each
  • Drama and Pop Packs: $15/mth each or $25 for both
  • Sport: $29/mth
  • Movies: $20/mth
  • English Football Club channels: $5/mth each (free with Sport)
What's on offer?

You'll get Foxtel channels and catch-up content for the channels/packs you pay for. The big drawcard is HBO content (currently exclusive to Foxtel) including " Game of Thrones ," which is all on the Drama Pack. All packs come with freebie channels including Sky News and music. 

How much data will I use?
  • 1.4GB per hour for SD, 3.2GB per hour for HD. 
  • Manually change quality settings to Low to drop to 470MB per hour.
  • Foxtel recommends broadband speeds of 3 Mbps for SD and 7 Mbps for HD. 
What can I watch it on?

The Foxtel Now app is available on mobile, desktop, console (PS4), Chromecast and Telstra TV. But you can't cast from the app (from laptop to TV, for example) so you'll need to download to each device. HD is only available on desktop (via the Chrome browser), Chromecast and Telstra TV. You can register five devices on your account, and only two can be playing at the same time.

See the full list of Foxtel Now-compatible devices here.

What's the catch?

Because it's not a standard video on-demand service, you're paying more per month, which is expensive if you just want one show (ahem, "Game of Thrones"). And with Netflix and Stan both offering 4K, the fact that Now is only HD on select devices (regardless of what you're paying) is a glaring difference. But live sport on the other hand...

Amazon Prime Video

'American Gods'

"American Gods" on Amazon Prime Video. 

Beth Rinehart/Starz

The new kid on the block in Australia, Amazon Prime Video launched in Australia in late 2016 without much fanfare. The pricing on its site is still listed in US dollars. But there's plenty more on offer other than Jeremy Clarkson's new "Top Gear" rehash, "The Grand Tour."

What does it cost?
  • Intro pricing: $4.03 for the first 6 months
  • Regular price: $8.08 per month

What's on offer?

You'll get Amazon exclusives like "American Gods," "The Man in the High Castle," and "The Grand Tour" (the only show available in 4K). Plus, there are Amazon originals (think Jeffrey Tambor's award-winning "Transparent") and a raft of movie titles. 

How much data will I use?
  • Amazon would not provide detail on how much data you'll use, but it recommends minimum broadband speeds of 900 Kbps for SD and 3.5 Mbps for HD. 
What can I watch it on?

Amazon Prime Video is available on desktop, mobile, Kindle Fire tablets , PlayStation 4 and select Samsung, Sony and LG smart TVs.

You don't need to register devices, but you can only have three video streams running simultaneously. There's currently no support for console or Apple TV. You can watch on three separate devices at once and download to watch offline, but downloads are only available on Kindle Fire, iPhone, iPad and Android mobile devices. 

See the full list of Amazon system requirements for different devices here

What's the catch?

You're a bit limited on device compatibility, but Amazon is certainly one to watch in Australia. With other streaming services quickly snatching up Amazon titles before the service launched locally, it will be interesting to see how the service fares as these licensing deals expire and Amazon brings more exclusives back into its fold. 




Screenshot by Claire Reilly/CNET

Quickflix does DVD and Blu-rays in the mail, plus streaming and pay-per-download "Premium" content.

Full disclosure

The company has restructured countless times with a series of thwarted partnerships (including a failed deal with an unnamed Chinese content company). As of early 2017, the site is still live after being bought by a US company, but we don't know how long it'll stick around, so buyer beware.

Unlike other streaming services, there are also hidden costs. The regular subscription Streaming package doesn't include everything, so "Premium" content costs extra to "rent". When we checked their catalogue home page, 29 of 54 titles (largely new releases) were tagged "Premium" and therefore not included in the Streaming package.

What does it cost?
  • Streaming (including "4 New Release Blockbuster" and "100's of bonus movies and TV shows"): $14/mth -- not including "Premium" content
  • DVD & Blu-Ray (two discs out at a time, return as often as you like): $20
  • Streaming and Blu-Ray: $28
  • Pay-As-You-Go: New Releases $5.99 each
How much data will I use?
  • Roughly 700MB per hour for SD and 1.5GB for HD
What's on offer?

Quickflix has new releases for rent and a large range of BBC content like "Doctor Who". If you remove the Premium content, the Streaming package has a lot of back-catalogue filler. Shows are offered in HD depending on availability.

What can I watch it on?

Quickflix claims the strongest app offering with desktop, console, Smart TV, iOS and Android.

See a full list of Quickflix-compatible devices here.

What's the catch?

Almost everything. The company's future is not exactly solid as of the time we published this. You're paying more than average for a monthly subscription, and you'll need to pay-per-movie for new releases. But the DVD service is great if your broadband is sketchy.

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