Netflix or Presto: Which is the best streaming service?


Netflix has now been in the Aussie market since March 2015, and Foxtel-owned Presto a full year longer. Previously you had to somehow get US Netflix to enjoy any streaming service, and a lot of people went this route. This made Netflix and Foxtel realise the potential for ‘TV content on demand’ in Australia, and we’ve finally caught up.

Both services offer audiences a wide range of content to enjoy, with ever-expanding libraries of TV shows and movies. And no matter which you choose, both services have some definite advantages to traditional free to air television:

  • No advertisements
  • No lock in contracts
  • Greater accessibility for viewing (i.e. watch on your PC, phone, tablet, or TV)

But while Netflix and Presto have their virtues, each has its weaknesses as well. Read on to see our comparison.

There are really only three things to consider when you’re looking at which video streaming service to buy into.

  • Is it affordable?
  • Does it have TV shows and movies you’d like watch?
  • And can you access the service conveniently and easily?

We’ll answer these questions and you can decide if Netflix or Presto is best for you.

Price & Value: Which service is cheapest?

At face value, Netflix offers the cheapest price straight up. On its standard definition package, you can stream both shows and movies on a single device/screen. For Presto, you pay $1 more per month, and have to pick between either TV or movies. On the plus side, you can watch multiple shows on multiple devices simultaneously, which Netflix only offers with more expensive packages. This table compares all the costs involved with Netflix and Presto.

Service / Package Price per month How many screens at once?
Netflix Single Screen $8.99 1
Netflix Double Screen $11.99 2
Netflix Four Screens $14.99 4
Presto TV Package $9.99 4
Presto Movies Package $9.99 4
Presto Entertainment (TV & Movies) $14.99 4

Buying a four screens option certainly sounds like a good move for families who might otherwise find themselves arguing over what to watch of an evening. While it’s a little more costly than the basic packages, it’s likely to offer you good value.

Winner: If you’re after the cheapest possible option, and don’t need to share the service with anyone, then the Netflix $8.99 package is hard to beat for the basics, as it gives you access to a wide range of both TV shows and movies. However, if you’re a large family with a need to stream content on multiple devices, then the Netflix and Presto $14.99 packages both represent good value. Your choice may then depend on content.

Content: Which service has the best shows and movies?

Presto sports some seriously cool movies. Its most popular at the moment include Jurassic World, the ever-reliable Simpsons Movie, and the Amy Schumer comedy Trainwreck. On the TV side, you can catch all the classic Entourage episodes you wish, the addictive Boardwalk, binge on the all-new David Duchovny drama Aquarius, or enjoy some Modern Family. However, we all know the show you’re after, and sadly Game of Thrones is only available on Foxtel itself.

Where Presto really shines is in its quicker release of popular shows and movies, whereas Netflix is more for the ‘loveable classics’ and its own quality productions.

Speaking of Netflix, you’re well covered for both TV shows and movies. When it comes to its own shows, Netflix is famous for releasing whole seasons at one, meaning you can binge watch on new content for days. Shows include Making a Murderer, House of Cards, Arrested Development, Daredevil, and the ever-popular Orange is the New Black.

Where Netflix lets itself down is with latest releases, but that is more than made up for with its quality in-house shows.

Winner: Given that this is a largely subjective area, we’re declaring a tie. We’d guess that no matter which service you went with, you will find something decent to watch every night. Presto boasts more Australian content, while Netflix – as you’d expect – is home to mostly American shows. Does this tip your hand either way?

Availability: Can you stream from anywhere, at any time?

As you saw in the table above, Presto can be viewed on four different screens at once, displaying two different programs. Netflix, on the other hand, is restricted to fewer screens than that until you sign up for the most expensive plan available.

Both services are well supported on a large array of devices.

  • Smartphone and tablet apps
  • Streaming devices such as Google Chromecast, Apple TV
  • Smart TV apps
  • Gaming console apps (e.g. for Xbox, Playstation)
  • Via web browser on PC
  • Set top boxes (e.g. Telstra Box, Fetch TV)

Another thing to note is assessing your own internet quality. Many users have reported – including this author – that Netflix’s streaming and interface is much better for a wide variety of speeds. Users have reported that Presto requires a much higher quality connection because of its constant High Definition, whereas Netflix varies the stream quality between standard and high definition depending on your connection speed at that time.

Winner: It comes down to your own needs. If your internet speed isn’t that great – you need to maintain a constant 1080p stream with Presto – then Netflix may be the better option as you can still watch buffer-free standard definition. However, if you have a sufficient internet connection, then Presto may be the better option as you can watch on as many devices as you wish, constantly in HD without any extra costs.

So, which service is the overall winner?

Netflix and Presto are remarkably similar. Given that neither has lock-in contracts and both come with free sign up periods, we’d suggest downloading both and giving them a run.

Presto and Netflix are constantly upgrading their content libraries – and we hope that one day they will rival those of various streaming services in the US. It is worth signing up to both to see the array of movies and TV shows available. One thing’s for sure, it’s a lot better than what we used to have to pick from!

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