On-demand movie and TV solutions Foxtel and Stan are likely on high alert this week as Netflix unveils its pricing to Australia, offering on-demand TV for as little as $9 per month. Yowza.
Tomorrow’s the day for Netflix to arrive locally, coming to Australia after years of rumours and speculation, and with the service being delivered to smartphones, tablets, computers, TVs, and gaming systems.
We’ve seen announcements for the past month or so, almost at a rate of one per week, and this one ahead of the launch tomorrow is probably the one most people are looking forward to, and that is pricing.
For the Australian launch, Netflix will be starting the single stream standard definition plan at $8.99, meaning you’ll get the Netflix archive in standard def for one device in your home for nine bucks.
Moving up from there is the two-stream high definition plan for $11.99, providing two simultaneous playback devices on your account — say a mobile or tablet and the TV at home — with the media streaming in high definition.
Finally, there’s the four stream Ultra HD plan, with this one chiming in at $14.99 and delivering what the name suggests: four simultaneous streams and support for 4K Ultra HD content for around $15 per month.
Netflix isn’t alone in offering streaming television and movies, though we’re sure Netflix’s competitors are currently mulling over a possible price drop, especially since the pricing is particularly compelling.
In Australia, Foxtel’s on-demand Presto service offers movies or TV services for $9.99 each monthly or $14.99 monthly together with up to two devices using the service simultaneously, while Fairfax’s Stan charges $10 per month for a service that can be used on up to three devices simultaneously.
From what we can see, all the services are offering something compelling, and the prices are certainly strong with all. Really, it will come down the content and what it can deliver for personal preferences.
We’re told several of Netflix’s original shows and movies will be there for its service, with “Orange is the New Black” available from launch, with the third season of that show going live on June 12 just like the rest of the planet (and theoretically meaning Australia will get it first due to the time zone), while “House of Cards” will also be available on the service.
Content from other providers will be here, too, with movies, documentaries, stand-up comedy, TV shows, animations, and plenty more, all streaming via a Netflix app on compatible devices or the website if you happen to be using a computer.
One question mark exists for us, and that is what content is available in 4K Ultra HD, with the answer being not much. We know “House of Cards” will work here, and we suspect “Breaking Bad” will, but we’re not sure how many titles will offer support.
If you do have a 4K TV, at least you will have some content available through this, which is more than we can say for Blu-ray at this time, with no UHD-enabled Blu-ray media right now, but you will want at least 25Mbps download streams, and those will be hard to come by as well in our part of the world, with solid cable speeds or access to the National Broadband Network (or a 4G connection) more or less a requirement.
Even if you end up grabbing the 4K plan and only stream in high definition, though, you’ll still have access to four simultaneous streams, which is something, especially when you keep in mind that Netflix will not cache.
Unfortunately, an absence of caching support means you can’t download TV shows or movies via the service for watching when no connection is in range, such as on an aircraft or overseas.
That said, you’ll find Netflix’s service will go live for everyone to try tomorrow, provided they have access to the internet, with a one-month trial available to all, though we suspect you’ll need to throw in your credit card to gain access to the trial.