Our viewing habits are changing. Gone are the days where we had to align our schedules to when our favourite shows aired. Thanks to the rise of ‘video on demand’ streaming services, catch up TV and personal video recorders, we are now in control of what we want to watch, where and when we want to watch it. Internet connected Smart TVs are now the hub for our viewing pleasure. For example, you can use Smart Hub, found on this year’s range of Samsung TVs, to help consolidate your streaming services, catch up, and recorded TV in one easy place, accessible via your remote control. The Smart View App, can also manage your content from your compatible mobile phone. So, sit back and take a look at some of the best streaming services available for your viewing pleasure.
Netflix is probably the best-known video and movie streaming service, and is a favourite based on its breadth of content and accessibility. Also, it’s one of the few places where you can download 4K and high dynamic range (HDR) content. Netflix has been very successful making its own original shows, including big names like House of Cards, Stranger Things and Orange is the New Black, and it also has a large catalogue of movies to enjoy. Costs are around $12 per month for HD video and two-device streaming.
Stan is an Australian contender to Netflix, and also offers a sizable movie, TV and ad-free music library for a paid monthly fee. This ranges from $10-$15 depending on HD or 4K content. Stan is also beginning to offer original Australian series like Wolf Creek and No Activity, along with the popular TV series including Billions, Better Call Saul and the Twin Peaks reboot.
Foxtel Play is an internet-streaming option for those interested in watching a broad range of movies and TV that would normally only be available via a Foxtel cable TV subscription. While you’ll still need to pay a monthly fee, which comprises a selection of ‘content packs’ (such as the Drama Pack for $15), you can access favourites including Game of Thrones season 7, Westworld, Veep, The Americans and Fargo. With the Movie Pack, you can also access Foxtel’s catalogue of mainstream, world, art-house and kids movies as well.
Amazon Prime Video is a newcomer in Australia but offers a growing selection of original content along with a substantial catalogue of Hollywood movies and TV shows. Costing $8 per month, you can enjoy exclusive TV series including The Grand Tour, Transparent, The Man in the High Castle and Creative Galaxy.
For those who love art-house and world movies, Dendy Direct is an on-demand streaming service that includes a catalogue of over 2000 movies and 150 TV titles. While it includes popular mainstream movies and TV, where it really shines is its curated selection of dramas, foreign films and more esoteric vids. New release HD movies cost about $6 per transmission and around $3 for TV show episodes.
BigPond Movies gives you access to about 10,000 titles including TV episodes from Supergirl, Suits, South Park, Star Wars Rebels and iCarly, along with a range of new release movies and a large back catalogue of mainstream titles. Rather than a monthly subscription to worry about, BigPond Movies charges you $3 per TV episode or $7 to rent an HD movie. You can also ‘buy’ movies for around $20, meaning you can view them as many times as you want.
Youtube has become the home of live streaming, from cooking and video games to the latest in news and current affairs (and even the Royal Wedding), there’s little you can’t find here. Driven through the YouTube app, you can catch unique events or tv shows live broadcast. However, due to copyright issues, you will not be able to watch all the latest tv shows, but with 300 hours of video uploaded every minute, you’re bound to find something to watch.
Don’t forget that there’s plenty of free content to enjoy direct to your Smart TV via a selection of ‘catch-up TV’ apps. Depending on your TV, you can stream content from ABC iView, SBS OnDemand, Plus7, TenPlay and 9Now. Simply download these apps via your compatible Smart TV interface, and grab the popcorn!