Since the Australian launches of Disney+ and Apple TV+ in late 2019, competition among streaming services is greater than ever. But the big question for consumers remains — which is the best streaming service?
If you’ve got some time to kill or want something to keep the kids entertained, we’ve put together a quick comparison of all the major streaming platforms currently available in Australia, and how they compare for content, plans and prices.
What streaming services are available in Australia?
There are several main players, with some big companies behind them. These streaming services are:
While these five are perhaps the most well known and popular providers, there are several other streaming services in Australia, but many of these offer niche content. Here is a selection of niche, or lesser-known, streaming services:
- Binge — Foxtel’s newest streaming platform with much of the Foxtel content library (including HBO) available on-demand and ad-free
- Kayo — offers live streaming of sports, including the NRL, AFL and much more
- Hayu — a reality TV-specific streaming service
- 10 All Access — a paid streaming service from Channel 10 and its owner CBS
- YouTube Premium — access YouTube with no ads, exclusive content and other functions
- DocPlay — a documentary streaming service, backed by Screen Australia and includes a range of ABC documentaries
Free-to-air television channels also have their own streaming platforms, which are free to use; however, there are ads you’ll have to sit through.
What shows and movies are on Netflix, Stan, Disney+, Apple TV+ and Amazon Prime Video?
Choosing the best streaming service will of course depend on what you want to watch. Most streaming services have at least some ‘must watch’ shows or movies exclusive to that platform, so it’s worth considering what content is available from which provider. Below is a short list of some of the popular shows and movies available on each of these big streaming services.
Best shows and movies on Netflix
- The Witcher
- The Crown
- Living with Yourself
- Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
- Stranger Things
- The Haunting of Hill House
- 6 Underground
- The Irishman
- Marriage Story
- To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
- Always Be My Maybe
- The Two Popes
- The King
Best shows and movies on Stan
- The Commons
- Better Call Saul
- Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist
- Everything’s Gonna Be Okay
- The Bold Type
- The Loudest Voice
- Ru Paul’s Drag Race
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- The True History of the Kelly Gang
- The James Bond collection
- Veronica Mars: The Movie
Best shows and movies on Disney+
- The Mandalorian
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars
- Diary of a Future President
- The Simpsons (seasons 1-29)
- The World According to Jeff Goldblum
- Pick of the Litter
- Star Wars (Episodes I – IX)
- Frozen I & II
- Thor Ragnarok
- Black Panther
- Avengers Infinity War
- Star Girl
- The Lion King (animated & remake)
- Mulan (animated)
- Toy Story 1-4
Best shows and movies on Amazon Prime Video
- Star Trek: Picard
- Jack Ryan
- American Gods
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
- Good Omens
- The Test
- Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse
- Pet Sematary
- Spider-Man: Far From Home
Best shows and movies on Apple TV+
- The Morning Show
- Little America
- Oprah’s Book Club
- Visible: Out On Television
- The Elephant Queen
- The Banker
Compare video streaming plans and subscription prices
While streaming services have a lot in common, there are some differences between them. For instance, both Stan and Netflix offer a selection of subscriptions to choose from, with the cheapest subscription offering the most basic functions like standard-definition video only and one-screen viewing, while the top-level plans have multi-screen simultaneous viewing and ultra high-definition.
However, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+ only include one subscription level (although Disney+ and Prime Video do allow for an annual subscription too), so you’ll have access to all features available on the platform. Let’s take a look at how these streaming services compare when it comes to price and features.
|Netflix||Stan||Disney+||Amazon Prime Video||Apple TV+|
|Monthly price||$10.99 – $19.99||$10 – $17||$8.99||$6.99||$7.99|
|No. of screens you can watch on at the same time||1 – 4||1 – 4||4||3||6|
Best video streaming for kids
Finding something for the kids to watch can be tricky. Most of the main streaming services offer content specifically for kids, including kids profiles where inappropriate content is blocked, so you can let the kids find their own shows and movies without supervision — but if you have young kids, it’s still advisable to supervise and find age-appropriate content.
While Netflix and Stan both have a great selection of kids shows and movies available, with Netflix even having a good range of kid-friendly Originals, Disney+ is hard to beat when it comes to kids entertainment.
Disney+ not only has a huge selection of Disney classics, including animated movies such as Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, The Sword in the Stone, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but you’ll also find a huge selection of shows and movies from Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic.
While Disney+ is a family-friendly streaming platform, some content, such as the Marvel movies, might not be appropriate for younger kids. However, you can still create a kids profile, which will filter out content not suitable for younger children.
Sign up to Disney+
There are two plan options to choose from – a monthly subscription at $8.99 per month, or prepay for a year at $89.99 and save on the monthly cost. Both plans include the same features, with unlimited downloads and the ability to stream on up to four screens at the same time. This table includes links to a referral partner.
|Brand||Subscription Type||No. of Screens/same time viewing||Advertised Cost^^/month or year|
min. cost $8.99 over one month
||Get DealCanstar Blue receives a commission for sign-ups through Disney+ *|
min. cost $89.99 over one year
||Get DealCanstar Blue receives a commission for sign-ups through Disney+ *|
|^^View important information|
How can I save money on video streaming costs?
While it might seem like $10 or more a month isn’t too much to spend on entertainment, keep in mind that while one streaming service might be quite cheap and affordable for many households, subscribing to more than one streaming service can really add up. If you subscribed to all five of the main streaming services, it can easily add up to over $40 per month, which is over $500 for a whole year.
To help you determine whether a streaming service is right for you, take advantage of any free trials on offer to test it out first. Most platforms offer a free trial, with some offering seven days, while others offer 30 days (Netflix and Disney+ recently removed their free trial offers). This way you can see if there is enough content on that platform to keep you entertained.
Subscription hopping is another common way to save money, which is exactly as it sounds. If a platform has a show you’re particularly interested in — maybe a new season of your favourite show has come out — you can sign up for a month or two, then cancel that subscription and sign up to another platform for a month or two.
Overall, the best approach is to consider what content is available on each streaming platform, and how much you can afford to pay for streaming each month.
Which video streaming service is the best in Australia?
Finding the best streaming service depends on what content you’re interested in. Netflix is one of the biggest players and has a reputation for producing excellent-quality original content. Stan offers a huge selection of classic sitcoms and shows that are great for mindless binge-watching, along with a heap of Aussie content. Disney+ is an obvious choice for anyone who loves Disney, families and any Star Wars or Marvel fans (especially considering the new Star Wars and Marvel shows which are Disney+ exclusives).
Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+ might not have as much as the other services, but both are growing their offerings of original content, and have some fairly big productions and must-see shows available exclusively to each platform.
Determining the best platform is up to you and the content you want to watch, so take your pick, kick back and enjoy binge-watching your new favourite shows.
What about Foxtel?
We couldn’t ignore good ol’ Foxtel. While the name is synonymous with pay TV, Foxtel does offer a streaming subscription service called Foxtel Now. It’s a little different to the other streaming services in that it offers programming from various Foxtel channels. You can pick your Foxtel Now subscription based on channels available, including sports channels, which are bundled into packs (and available for live streaming or on-demand).
Simply choose one or more packs you wish to subscribe to and you’ll be charged for each pack. Prices start at $25 per month for the Essentials base pack, then you can add on other packs which start from $10 per month and go up to $29 per month.
If you’re keen on what Foxtel has to offer in terms of content but Foxtel Now’s price tag is too much, the good news is that you can now stream much of Foxtel’s content library thanks to a new and more affordable streaming service called Binge. While this is a new addition to the Australian streaming market, Binge comes with a lot of quality content which was previously Foxtel-exclusive, including top-rated premium drama shows and HBO favourites including Game of Thrones, Big Little Lies and The Sopranos. Plans for a subscription to Binge start at $10 and go up to $18.