Netflix vs Foxtel: Compare Shows, Movies & Prices

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Foxtel and Netflix are the two biggest players in Australia’s entertainment subscription market. The battle isn’t just one of competing services, but one of old versus new, and of traditional TV viewing versus video streaming on demand. So, which offers the best bang for your entertainment buck?

With Foxtel fighting hard to maintain its previously unchallenged superiority, we thought we’d offer a comparison between the two different methods of delivering entertainment, represented by Foxtel and Netflix. It’s time to find out: what are the major differences between the old guard and the new kid on the block? Who offers the best content and the best value for money?

Netflix vs Foxtel: Who Offers Better Value?

As it stands, Netflix offers the cheapest base price at $9.99 a month, though you will be relegated to SD-quality, which seems fine until you realise what HD looks like in comparison. However, you’ll also get a one month free trial to see if you like it. Beyond the base $9.99, you won’t be subject to extra set-up fees or anything of the sort, but even SD Netflix can use around 300MB of data per hour, so it probably won’t hurt to have an unlimited broadband plan if you’re going to be “Netflix and chilling” a lot. You’ll also get the full range of content that Netflix has to offer even with the base price.

The main difference between Netflix and the Foxtel brand is that Foxtel offers traditional cable TV that isn’t broadcast over the internet, as well as its own streaming arm – Foxtel Now.

  • Netflix starts at about $10 a month and you get access to everything in an SD stream.
  • Foxtel Now starts at $10 a month, too, but has channel packs – to get everything you’d be looking at spending $50+ a month.
  • Foxtel Sports and Movies are ‘Premium’ channels, and are a $20 and $29 per month add-on.

Traditional Foxtel has also been grossly simplified in recent times, with three base channel packs – Movies & Drama, Sports Combo and Platinum HD.

  • The Sports Combo starts off at $58 a month, where you get access to every game of live NRL & AFL plus ESPN channels that air baseball, basketball and NFL.
  • Movies & Drama costs $69 a month while the Platinum HD pack regularly has promos that reduce it to about $100 a month but is often more than this.

This base cost is on-par with Netflix, but for a similar quantity of content you’ll probably need to pay at least $30 a month. Though if you have an average internet connection, traditional Foxtel may still be the preferred choice. Speaking of internet…

Foxtel Internet Channel Packs & NBN

Foxtel has introduced a suite of broadband + entertainment packs. The internet is on the Telstra network and customers can easily bundle broadband and entertainment. Packs kick off at a little over $100 a month, which could well work out cheaper than if you source Foxtel and your internet connection separately. NBN plans get access to the Standard Plus speed tier as standard, which can yield up to 50Mbps download speeds – not bad.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Foxtel Logo

Unlimited Broadband + Entertainment

  • Standard Plus 50/20
  • Standard Install Fee – $100, iQ3 equipment fee – $125, modem fee $140, bundle activation fee – $99 – Total $464

min. cost $1712 over 12 month plan period

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $104Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Foxtel Logo

Unlimited Broadband + Drama

  • Standard Plus 50/20
  • Standard Install Fee – $100, iQ3 equipment fee – $125, modem fee $140, bundle activation fee – $99 – Total $464

min. cost $1952 over 12 month plan period

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $124Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Foxtel Logo

Unlimited Broadband + Sport

  • Standard Plus 50/20
  • Standard Install Fee – $100, iQ3 equipment fee – $125, modem fee $140, bundle activation fee – $99 – Total $464

min. cost $2060.03 over 12 month plan period

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $133Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Foxtel Logo

Unlimited Broadband + Platinum HD

  • Standard Plus 50/23
  • Standard Install Fee – $100, iQ3 equipment fee – $125, modem fee $140, bundle activation fee – $99 – Total $464

min. cost $2912.03 over 12 month plan period

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $204Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Foxtel Now Packs vs Netflix

Arguably the most fair comparison is Foxtel’s streaming arm Foxtel Now, pitted against Netflix. With Netflix you pay one flat fee per month and get access to all content. Where you pay more determines how many concurrent streams you can have and the quality of your stream. Foxtel Now is a little different in that it has channel packs:

  • Docos – $10: Discovery, Nat Geo, Discovery Turbo, Nat Geo People, Crime Investigation, A&E, BBC Knowledge, History Channel, Nat Geo Wild
  • Kids – $10: Disney, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Nickelodeon, Nick JR, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, CBeebies, Discovery Kids
  • Lifestyle – $10: Lifestyle, Arena, Lifestyle Home, Lifestyle Food, E!, TLC
  • Drama – $15: Showcase, BBC UKTV, TV Hits, BBC First, Universal Channel
  • Pop – $15: Showcase, FX, Fox8, Comedy Channel, MTV, 111 Funny, Arena
  • Sports – $29: Fox Sports 501, 503, 505, 506, 507, Fox League, Bein Sports 1, 2, 3, ESPN 1 & 2, Eurosport
  • Movies – $20: Premiere, Disney, Masterpiece, Action, Romance, Thriller, Family, Comedy, More
  • Sports & Movies packs must be bundled in on top of any of the other packs.

All packs also come with Fox Sports News, Sky News Live, Business and Weather, Channel V, TVSN and Fox News. One of the major pluses of Netflix is that you don’t pay anything extra to unlock specific content – it’s all available from the get go. Foxtel Now has a much wider variety of content available, but you do pay for it; if you added ALL the packs together you’d be spending over $100 a month!

  • The cheapest way to get Sport with NRL & AFL would be to buy a Doco, Kids or Lifestyle pack for $10 then buy the Sports pack for $29, amounting to $39 a month in total.

While you’d be sadly mistaken for giving up Foxtel for Netflix for your NRL or AFL games, keep in mind that you do have to pay a fair amount for the privilege of getting any extra packs. Currently, Foxtel has a relative stranglehold on the AFL and NRL in Australia, so if you want your dose of footy you’ll have to contend with free-to-air TV, along with Fox Footy and pay a minimum $39 a month for it.

  • Is $30+ a month for sports and Game of Thrones worth it to you?

Only. You. Can. Decide.

The verdict on value

Compared to Netflix Australia, Foxtel provides far more content, with channels broadcasting 24/7 just like any other TV channel. Having the ability to record your favorite shows is a huge bonus for Foxtel customers as it adds the ‘on demand’ element that makes Netflix so popular. Overall, both seem to offer good value for money, considering what’s on offer and what exactly you’re after. The added bonus of getting Foxtel with no lock-in contract strengthens its value proposition even further, while it’s hard to argue that Netflix for just $9.99 isn’t a good deal. On price alone, Netflix obviously wins out, but in terms of value, that depends on your individual needs.

The cheapest way you can feasibly ‘get Foxtel’ is to pay $10 a month on Foxtel Now for a Lifestyle, Docos or Kids pack. While the Kids pack may be a cheap way to keep the kids quiet for an hour or two, adults might find that the Lifestyle or Doco are packs sorely lacking in terms of content. Unless you REALLY enjoy Selling Houses Australia or a marathon session of Bondi Rescue, you might find the scope and range of content with these basic packs a little bit poor.

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Netflix Vs Foxtel Now: Pros and Cons

All in all, you’re probably overloaded with information in the buying process. Here’s a quick rundown of how Netflix stacks up against its closest rival – Foxtel Now.

Who has the best content?

The main difference between the two services is that Netflix places a big emphasis on TV shows, while Foxtel is more focused on providing the latest movies on demand and exclusive live sports.

Sports

Netflix is pretty easy to cover here, as there is no live sports to be found, and no sports at all (replay or otherwise). While you may find some interesting sports documentaries, TV rights deals and the like make it prohibitive for Netflix to enter in this segment of pay TV where traditional platforms like Foxtel reign supreme.

Foxtel also has exclusive rights to the most popular leagues in Australia – AFL and NRL. Just recently, Foxtel launched a 24-hour rugby league channel, so if you’re a South Sydney superfan or bonkers for Brisbane Broncos, then Foxtel is obviously the choice here.

Foxtel also has a hold on Super Rugby and European football, as well as NFL and NBA through its partnership with ESPN. Also expect superior coverage of Australia’s international fixtures for rugby, cricket, football and many other sports.

Movies

Foxtel’s multiple movie channels show the latest releases as soon as they’re available, and the Foxtel Store allows you to rent movies on demand rather than wait for them to be shown on TV. Netflix, on the other hand, has a large back catalogue of classic, cult and indie movies, but struggles when it comes to new blockbusters. For the next viewing of Flubber or Back to the Future, Netflix is a leader. However, for newer releases, you’ll have to pay to play with Foxtel.

TV Shows

Netflix’s strength lies in the depth and breadth of its TV shows, which include SuitsThe Blacklist and Narcos. However, it’s important to note that Netflix Australia’s offerings aren’t identical to the range offered to US customers. Some well-known shows such as Grey’s Anatomy aren’t available in Australia. Additionally, due to the complicated battling ground of TV rights, Netflix loses popular shows such as Seinfeld, Friends, Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad to Stan. So while you won’t get these popular shows on Netflix Australia, you will still get access to the quality in-house productions that Netflix make like Orange is the New Black and Stranger Things to name a couple.

And while it doesn’t boast quite the same range of quality TV shows as Netflix, Foxtel includes channels like HBO and Showcase, which are home to popular American shows such as Game of Thrones, Boardwalk EmpireDexter and True Blood. So for premium, popular shows, Foxtel is the superior choice, however for sheer variety and in-house productions, Netflix reigns supreme.

Avaliability

The verdict on content

For fans of sports, popular shows and new movie releases, Foxtel is a must. However, Netflix’s biggest draw is its original and exclusive TV shows. It’s hard to see past the depth of Foxtel’s content, but really it depends on what sort of content you’re looking for. It’s also worth mentioning that what Foxtel is known for – Game of Thrones, live sports, premium shows – are only available on more expensive channel packs. So to get all the latest and greatest you’ll have to be willing to spend around $20 a month on Foxtel Now or upwards of $50 on traditional Foxtel.

Availability

Availability in Australia was once the big difference between the two services – but no longer! Until Netflix officially launched down under, the 200,000+ Aussies who subscribed to it did so using a VPN (Virtual Private Network). A VPN effectively hides your IP address, allowing it to appear as if it’s from the US, meaning you can sign up. Whilst this process isn’t illegal, it’s certainly something that local providers like Foxtel have tried to discourage. At the end of the day though, you’re still paying for your entertainment, which is a lot better than illegally pirating shows from torrenting sites of which the Federal Court has now tried to block.

Now, however, both Netflix and Foxtel can be subscribed to online within a matter of minutes. In Foxtel’s case, it usually takes a few days for the set-top box to be delivered and installed in your home, but once it’s in you’re ready to go. In this respect, Netflix does have the edge on its traditional rival – you can start watching it right after you subscribe, and with the company offering a one-month free trial, you can always change your mind.

Alternatives to Foxtel

If the cost of Foxtel outlined above has put you off of buying Foxtel, there are a few alternatives. Keep in mind, however, that Foxtel offers the biggest convenience as you can just sit down and watch one service while watching the TV normally without worrying about streams and your internet connection. That is if you have traditional Foxtel, otherwise Foxtel Now is a streaming service like any other.

  • Fetch TV – with entertainment packs from $6 a month, plus the Fetch set top box is also a TV guide and personal video recorder. You can also purchase on-demand movies and TV shows through Fetch’s own library, plus stream catch-up TV, Netflix and Stan through the device. Lacks premium channels like HBO, Showcase and NRL/AFL though.
  • NRL and AFL Game Passes: NRL is $2.99 a week for every game of the round, while AFL is from $4.99 weekly. Look out for bonus offers if you’re a Telstra customer. Only viewable on streams up to a 7” screen size, with no ability to use ChromeCast or the like.

These two platforms are the closest things you can get to Foxtel, and you can see the limitations they have. For unbridled live NRL and AFL and premium content, you still can’t go past Foxtel, but you can get about 80 per cent of the way there using these two options. Below are some internet plans that can be bundled in with Fetch – quite a few telcos have partnerships with the streaming service.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
iiNet Logo

Advanced

  • Standard Plus 50/20 speed
  • Fetch included

min. cost $1,919.76 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $79.99Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Internode

NBN Gold Unlimited

  • NBN Standard Plus Evening Speed(NBN50/20)
  • $99 Upfront

min. cost $178.99 for first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $79.99Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Dodo Logo

Dodo TV by Fetch

  • NBN Basic Evening Speed (NBN12)
  • Unlimited Data

min. cost $1,797.60 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $74.90Advertised Data^^/billing period
iPrimus Logo

Entertainment

  • Standard Plus 50/20 Speed
  • $55 activation fee + $15 P&H

min. cost $2,160 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $90.00Advertised Data^^/billing period
Optus Logo

Ultra + Entertainment

  • Standard Plus 50/20 Speed
  • $200 upfront fee if on a no lock-in contract
  • $10 monthly discount if an existing Optus mobile customer

min. cost $2,160 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $90.00Advertised Data^^/billing period
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

The overall verdict

All in all, deciding between Foxtel and Netflix is like deciding between apples and oranges – they both keep you entertained but in their own special way. So have a think about what you want most from your entertainment service, and be happy that Australia finally has some proper competition with regards to our online media.

  • If you place a higher value on live sports and blockbuster movies, then Foxtel might be for you, if you can afford it.
  • On the other hand, if you’re more interested in TV shows for a cheap price, then you might want to consider Netflix.

Many Aussies love the two services so much, they now subscribe to both every month, and often with no lock-in contracts for either service it means that if you’re not satisfied you can cancel after your month is up with no dramas. We’re calling this one a tie, though it’s undeniable that Foxtel is superior for live TV, sports and premium content, whereas Netflix reigns supreme for cost, in-house productions and variety. The choice is yours!

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