There are now viewing options available in Australia from both:
- Traditional pay TV, delivered via a dedicated cable or satellite; and
- Streaming services, utilising your internet service.
|Traditional pay TV – via cable or satellite
||The longest standing pay TV option in Australia providing access to many options across sport and entertainment with a set top box facilitating recording and storage of shows.
It can be purchased on its own or bundled with your internet service.
|Streaming services – via the internet
||Utilising a set top box, Fetch TV provides access to its own library of TV shows and movies as well as other streaming services. Fetch TV packages can be purchased separately or bundled with a broadband plan.
||Access to all Foxtel content, via the internet.
||Extensive TV and entertainment content from an American media provider.
||An Australian streaming service offering original and rebroadcast movies and TV shows.
||Owned by Foxtel and offering the same massive library of movies, TV shows and documentaries. Does not include live TV and sport.
|Amazon Prime Video
||Offers both Amazon originals as well as popular TV shows and movies.
||A specialty sports offering that provides access to over 50 sporting events and shows.
Traditional Pay TV
Traditional pay TV is a subscription based service that allows you access to a wide variety of content not available on free-to-air television. Channels are based on areas of interest (e.g. sport, lifestyle, drama, etc) and you can select different packages to include the content that you are interested in.
You can access traditional pay TV via a dedicated cable or satellite dish on your roof, both requiring professional installation. Traditional pay TV generally provides a more stable connection than streaming services. If you’re renting, you’ll need to get permission from your agent or landlord and if you live in an apartment, it’s also wise to check with your Body Corporate.
Traditional pay TV also requires a device called a set top box, which connects to your TV, pay TV cable point, TV aerial and powerpoint. Most set top boxes have the added benefits of being able to record, pause and rewind live TV. Pay TV subscription packages usually include a set top box but beware if you cancel your contract before the end date, you may have to pay out the cost of the device. There is also usually a choice of devices, some having more functionality than others (e.g. some enable you to record multiple shows at once or view in HD and ultra HD quality.) Pay TV subscriptions are usually 12 month contracts which, after 12 months, roll onto a monthly subscription.
The traditional means of pay TV was first introduced in Australia by Foxtel in 1995 and they are currently the only provider offering this service. Foxtel boasts some of the best content including live broadcast of most AFL, NRL and A-League football matches, blockbuster exclusive shows like Game of Thrones and latest new release movies. There are many channels to choose from including drama, sport, kids, lifestyle, documentary and movie channels as well as 1000+ movies on demand.
Foxtel set top boxes are able to pause, rewind and record live TV, and the Foxtel iQ4 can deliver ultra HD (4K). If you connect your Foxtel iQ3 or iQ4 set top box to the internet, you can access even more movies and shows by streaming ABC iview or Netflix. Foxtel offer packages and sometimes free promotions that include Netflix subscriptions.
There are a number of different Foxtel packages available and prices generally increase as you add more channels. Standard Foxtel subscriptions can come with a 12 month lock-in contract however, there is a no lock-in contract option which includes a fee for equipment and installation as well as higher monthly rates. Premium packages include multiple set top boxes to use in multiple rooms.
It’s also worth considering bundles. Telstra offer highly discounted rates on Foxtel subscriptions to Telstra broadband customers. Foxie can assist you with Telstra broadband and Foxtel bundles. https://www.foxie.com.au/our-service/broadband/
If you’re moving home you can take your existing Foxtel pay TV service with you, as long as you are moving to an address where Foxtel can provide the service. There’s also a handy app, Foxtel GO, which enables you to access many of the channels in your pack while you are awaiting connection at your new location.
Foxtel’s traditional pay TV does not use your internet data allowance and is the only pay TV option suitable for people who don’t have an internet connection.
Streaming Services or Streaming Video on Demand (SVOD) services deliver content via the internet and allow you to watch movies and shows on demand, without the need to download them first. They also offer a huge variety of content. Some movies and shows can be found across many providers while other content is exclusive or original to the provider. Streaming services provide the freedom to watch what you like, when you like, and often without advertisements. There is no installation of cables or satellite dishes, however you’ll need a broadband internet connection with adequate speed and data.
There’s a growing list of streaming options including Fetch TV, Foxtel Now, Netflix, Stan, Binge, Amazon Prime Video and Kayo Sports. Most of these services can be streamed directly on a smart TV, Apple TV, laptop, Mac, PC, smart phone or tablet or via a device that has access to the internet including, gaming consoles, Chromecast or a set top box (e.g. Fetch mini). Details of compatible devices and browser requirements are on most provider websites.
Most providers also offer offline viewing so you can download movies or shows from their library while you are connected to the internet, then watch them later without internet access.
One other advantage of streaming services is that you don’t have to be home to access them. You can access them when you are out and about from a smartphone or even your office computer!
Streaming subscriptions are typically cheaper than Pay TV subscriptions and you usually don’t have to commit to a term contract. However, you need to factor in the cost of your internet connection and if you’re on a limited data plan, you’ll need to watch your limits. Many streaming services offer free trials but beware, to avoid ongoing charges, you’ll need to notify them if you do not wish to continue.
Fetch TV is not technically the same as Foxtel because it’s delivered via the internet rather than cable or satellite. However it’s closely comparable because it uses a set top box which can pause, rewind and record live shows and packages are structured based on channels in different interest areas. Like Foxtel, Fetch TV has a long list of drama, sport, kids, lifestyle, documentary and movie channels and you can individually rent or buy movies and shows on demand from a huge library (8000+ movies and 300+ shows). Fetch TV also gives you access to the Optus Sport channel where you can watch every English Premier League match live.
Fetch boxes also provide access to other streaming services like Netflix, Stan and ABC iView, giving you even bigger choice of shows and movies to watch. This means you can access all of your entertainment in one place, with one remote control and Fetch TV is a good option if you don’t have a smart TV. Note, you’ll still need to purchase separate subscriptions for Netflix or Stan. Fetch mobile apps for Apple and Android are also available so you can watch content on the go.
As there are no cables or wires required, you can set up Fetch TV yourself following the provider’s instructions.
There are 2 ways to purchase Fetch;
- Buy a Fetch box from a number of leading retailers then sign up for Fetch TV subscriptions online.
- Bundle Fetch with your broadband connection. Broadband providers including Optus, iinet, Dodo and iPrimus have some attractive bundles. A set top box is included for free but you will need to return it if you cancel your contract.
A Foxtel Now subscription gives you access to all of the same content as traditional Foxtel, but via the internet. You can also watch aired shows at a later date without needing to record them first.
You can watch Foxtel Now on a variety of devices or, if you don’t have a suitable device, you can purchase a Foxtel Now box. The Foxtel Now box will also allow you to access YouTube, Stan (subscription required), and free to air catch up like ABC iView as well as apps and games from Google Play Store.
Foxtel Now packages generally cost less than Foxtel, fees are monthly and have a no lock-in contract. You can register up to 5 devices and watch content on two of those devices at the same time.
American media provider Netflix offers streaming services in Australia with a huge range of TV shows, movies, and documentaries including some exclusive and original content. Original content favorites include Stranger Things, The Crown and House of Cards. With more than 1,000 shows and more than 1,500 movies, the biggest attraction with Netflix is the sheer size of its library. You can also download shows and movies to watch on the go when you don’t have an internet connection.
Netflix offers 3 plans; basic, standard and premium. The basic plan is the cheapest and allows you to watch on one screen at a time in standard definition (SD). For a little more money, the standard plan allows you to watch on two screens at a time in high definition (HD). The most expensive option, their premium plan, allows you to watch on up to 4 screens at a time in HD or 4K ultra HD quality. There are no contracts and can cancel your subscription online anytime.
Stan is an Australian streaming service, and direct competitor to Netflix, offering original and rebroadcast movies and TV shows by subscription. Original content includes Australian television series Wolf Creek and One Night Stan, a series of great original Australian stand-up comedy. Stan also has a large library of British shows as well as Disney movies and shows. You can also download shows and movies and watch them on the go without an internet connection.
There are three different product and price options with Stan; basic, standard and premium, all with no lock-in contracts. The basic subscription allows you to stream on one screen in SD quality. The standard plan allow you to stream on three screens at a time in HD quality. Stan’s premium plan allows you to stream on four screens at a time in HD or 4k ultra HD quality.
Owned by Foxtel and offering the same massive list of movies, TV shows and documentaries, Binge claims to be “unturnoffable.” A Binge subscription includes plenty of reality TV and lifestyle content with new shows added every week. Popular shows include Game of Thrones and Big Little Lies as well as classics like Seinfeld, Sex and the City and The Sopranos. Binge’s unique feature “Surprise Me!” can choose a movie or show for you when you don’t feel like scrolling through menus.
Like close competitors Netflix and Stan, Binge offers three subscription tiers at similar price points; basic, standard and premium. At the low cost end, a basic subscription allows streaming on one device in SD quality. With a standard subscription you can stream on 2 devices in HD quality and, the premium option let’s you stream on 4 devices in HD quality. 4k HD resolution is not available with Binge.
Note, Binge subscriptions don’t provide access to live TV broadcasts and sport content available with Foxtel and Foxtel Now packages.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video is also available in Australia, with it’s own list of movies and TV shows including some original content like The Grand Tour and Tom Gleeson: Joy. You can also watch some NFL games on Prime Video. This service allows you to stream content on three devices at once as well as download shows and watch them later.
Amazon Prime Video subscriptions come with no lock-in contracts though can only be purchased in USD, so you’ll need to factor in exchange rates as well as currency conversion fees.
As the name suggests, this one is for sports enthusiasts! Allowing you to stream in HD quality, over 50 sports both live and on demand including AFL, NRL, A-League football, cricket, golf, tennis, surfing, motorsport and more.
There are 2 subscription tiers on offer; watch on up to 2 screens at the same time with the basic subscription or up to 3 screens at the same time with the higher priced premium subscription. If you like it and decide to continue, there’s no lock-in contract and you can cancel anytime.
How do I choose?
If you’re interested in watching a specific TV series or sport, then choosing a pay TV or streaming service is simple. However, if you’re looking for access to more shows and movies than what’s available on free-to-air TV, comparing and selecting an option can be a little trickier. The rights to TV shows and films change regularly and in the absence of complete TV show and movie lists (most providers do not seem to have these on their websites), it’s a good idea to take up a free trial offer (most streaming services offer this) and see what you like. Subscription or package costs are generally reflective of what’s on offer so consider what it is you want to watch, as well as what your budget will permit.
Many of these services are complimentary to each other so, budget permitting, you could consider signing up for more than one.
What sort of internet connection do I need?
For cable/satellite Pay TV subscriptions, you don’t need an internet connection.
Click here to learn more about recommended speeds and data requirements for streaming or check the FAQ’s on individual service provider websites.
Foxie can directly arrange a Foxtel pay TV connection for you or help you find a great broadband and entertainment bundle. Our internet providers include;
- My Republic
If you’re after a stand alone streaming service subscription like Netflix or Kayo, then you can sign up directly through the provider’s website.