Netflix Australia – a first look

The long awaited launch of Netflix happened in Australia on March 24, bringing another video-on-demand service into the homes of previously streaming-starved TV and movie lovers.

One big point of difference that Netflix offers is Ultra HD 4K streaming – making it the first serious option for that format in this country (or any country really!).

But how does Netflix stack up against the other contenders in terms of program options, compatibility and price? Let’s take a look!

The Services

We looked at four of the leading contenders:

Netflix – www.netflix.com/au

Netflix

Stan – www.stan.com.au

Stan

Presto – www.presto.com.au

Presto

Quickflix – www.quickflix.com.au

Quickflix

1) Programming

Netflix in Australia has around 1,320 titles (of which 900 are movies). This is about an eighth of what Netflix USA offers. Netflix have quite a few quality series that they commission themselves (Marco Polo for one) and these will continue to grow. To see the full list of Netflix Australian titles, this is an excellent, regularly updated list >>

Stan has around 1,250 titles, including some great ‘hero’ content like Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul.

Presto has around 1,200 titles, including the best range of movies thanks to their Foxtel connection.

QuickFlix has about 2,300 titles, but mixed into that is ‘Premium’ content that you need to pay extra for, which verges on the misleading.

Each service is a bit of a mixed bag and you’ll most likely find that all have something you want to watch none have everything. If you have kids, they’ll be happy whatever you go with (and Netflix has a nice Kids login that only displays them kid-friendly content.

Verdict: It’s largely much of a muchness, and comes down in the end to what your favourite series are. As most are only $10-15 per month, you could subscribe to two or more without breaking the bank.

2) Compatibility & Useability

Netflix runs on PC/Mac, tablet, mobile, Apple TV, Chromecast, Fetch TV and PS3/PS4. Our experience so far, using a PS3 has been flawless, with fast operation, smooth streaming with no buffering, and excellent HD picture quality. We’re yet to test the Ultra HD 4K streaming but will report on that when we do. Global reviews so far in that department are good, although content is still very limited and you need at least 20MB/S to stream it (and allow for 7GB an hour for data, although it’s unmetered if you’re on Optus or iiNet).

Stan runs on PC/Mac, smart TV, tablet, mobile, Airplay via Apple TV and Chromecast, but we’ve had glitchy experiences here, with the iPad app crashing, long buffering and random problems like the progress bar staying on screen permanently.

Presto runs on PC/Mac, smart TV, tablet, mobile and Chromecast. The interface is simple but can run slow.

Quickflix has wide compatibility, running on PC/Mac, smart TV, tablet, mobile, Playstation, XBox, Chromecast and TiVo. It’s interface is also simple but a bit of a pain to use and lacks the slick professionalism of Netflix, unsurprising given the experience gained over several years and ruthless efficiency testing that Netflix puts in.

Verdict: Netflix wins easily here – it’s a delight to use, stable and with plenty of features around recommendations, saving favourites and multiple login profiles.

3) Price

Netflix: 3 levels, basic – SD ($8.99), standard – HD ($11.99), premium – Ultra HD  ($14.99); no contract, 30 day free trial period www.netflix.com/au

Stan: HD, $10 per month; no contract, 30 day free trial period www.stan.com.au

Presto: SD, TV $9.99 per month, movies $9.99 per month, both $14.99 per month; no contract, 30 day free trial period www.presto.com.au

Quickflix: SD/HD, $9.99 per month; no contract, 30 day free trial period www.quickflix.com.au

The final verdict?

Netflix are our winner for its Ultra HD streaming, great interface, picture quality / stability and mid-range pricing. In terms of programming it comes down to personal taste more than anything, and at these prices a couple of subscriptions would keep most movie and TV lovers satisfied.

Our recommendation is to take advantage of the 30 day free trial that each service offers. Get them all, and see which ones stick!

 

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