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Presto joins the walking dead, stops streaming video for good

​Hey! Presto disappears.


If you've been getting your sweet streaming hit from Presto every month, you're going to need to find a new hook-up -- the Foxtel-backed video-on-demand service has officially shut up shop.

Foxtel announced the death of Presto last October, confirming that the 2-year-old streaming service would be phased out by January 31. In its place, Foxtel announced a revamp of its over-the-top entertainment service Foxtel Play (that's "over an internet connection", not "go easy on the margaritas and leopard print").

Now, Foxtel is encouraging Presto members to subscribe to Foxtel Play to get catch-up programming from its suite of pay TV channels combined with live streaming of selected channels. Packages for Play start from AU$10 for themed blocks like "Kids" or "Lifestyle" with premium sports and entertainment costing more (you can read our full pricing breakdown here).

It might be hard to imagine a time before Netflix bingeing and 4K streaming, but Presto was once the local service that gave Australia all-you-can-eat content, rather than pay-per-episode viewing, when overseas players weren't coming up with the goods.

Think of it as the "Wentworth" to Netflix's "Orange is the New Black" -- lower budget and without some of the glossy production values, but filling a perfectly good niche (especially for those without a VPN).

But the arrival of Netflix in March 2015 brought a new inmate to the yard, leading local entertainment services to lower their prices and paving the way for a plucky young upstart named Stan.

There's no doubt streaming has changed in Australia as competition has increased, more international players like Amazon have arrived, and Australians have become more savvy about what they expect, nay deserve, when it comes to getting content in time with global markets.

Presto was not the first Aussie service to close down (remember EzyFlix?), and it may not be the last.

But let's pour one out for Presto. It quenched our thirst when we were in the streaming badlands and there was little else to keep us going.

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