In recent years, the media landscape has changed in a big way. The introduction of television, movie and music streaming platforms has revolutionised the way we access media. Nowadays you can watch what you want, when you want, wherever you want. However, as the market for streaming services grows increasingly diverse, it has become more difficult to decide which streaming service is best for you. Luckily, Monzi has put together a comprehensive guide covering everything you need to know.
Monzi is a lender-finding service. We do not offer financial advice. Consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to check how the information and ideas presented on this website relate to your unique circumstances.
The battle for the best streaming service: the main players
Want access to endless amounts of on-demand, commercial-free movies and TV shows? You’re going to need to subscribe to a streaming service.
For an affordable monthly price, streaming services allow you to access thousands of hours of content across a range of genres. In most cases, they’ll combine original content with a range of classic TV shows and movies as well as a few undiscovered gems.
In Australia, the market for these subscription-based services is dominated by four major players: Netflix, Stan, Foxtel Now and Amazon Prime.
While you may want to subscribe to them all, if you’re on a budget this may not be possible. Realistically, you probably only need one or two subscriptions at a time.
If you are stuck and not sure which one is right for you, we’ve put together a handy guide to help you decide.
Netflix: the popular choice for the best streaming service
While there is plenty of competition, as it stands, Netflix is the top dog in both the Australian and global streaming marketplace.
First launched in Australia in 2015, Netflix quickly established itself as the go-to streaming service for many Aussies. While this is in some ways attributable to the strong brand awareness that Netflix had already established, most notably in the USA, their content really is top notch.
Combining critically acclaimed original content with a host of high-quality TV shows and movies, Netflix has something for everyone. If you’re only looking to subscribe to one service, you can’t go wrong with Netflix.
- Basic: $8.99 per month (Watch on one screen at a time)
- Standard: $13.99 per month (Watch on up to two screens at once)
- Premium: $19.99 (Watch on up to four screens at once)
- HD and Ultra HD streaming options available
- Download your favourite shows so you can watch offline
- User-friendly interface
- High-quality, diverse, original and existing content
- 30 day free trial
If you’re keen to support the local industry, Stan is the one for you. Created through a joint venture between Fairfax Media and Channel Nine, Stan is easily the best Australian streaming service (homegrown that is).
While much of their initial success was generated through acquiring the rights to Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, Stan has slowly branched out into creating its own original content. Not only that, a partnership with Disney allowed Stan to offer some of the world’s most popular movie titles including the complete Marvel universe.
Overall, Stan is a high-quality, all-around option that will provide you with value for money.
- Basic: $10 per month (Watch on one screen at a time)
- Standard: $14 per month (Watch on up to three screens at once)
- Premium: $17 per month (Watch on up to four screens at once)
- HD and Ultra HD streaming options
- Watch offline: download your favourite shows
- 30 day free trial
- Stream on up to four devices at once
Foxtel Now was in large part born out of Foxtel’s realisation that the classic pay TV model likely wouldn’t be sustainable into the future. Their move into an on-demand streaming platform signalled a clear shift in strategy.
While it is priced at the top end of the market, Foxtel Now can be tailored to suit your preferences. Content is separated into different packages so you can access the shows, movies, sports or documentaries that you want to watch. Not only that, with a Foxtel Now subscription you can stream Foxtel’s channels live
While Foxtel Now may not be the right choice if you’re on a budget, given that it costs at least twice as much as its competitors, the personalised element is a key point of difference.
Prices start at $25 per month for the essential base pack. From there, you can choose to purchase additional packages to suit your preferences.
- $29 per month for the sport package
- $10 per month for the drama pack
- $20 per month for movies
- $10 per month to add kids entertainment
- $10 per month for documentaries.
These packages are optional though. You are able to pick all, one or none depending on you budget. The base pack, however, is non-negotiable.
- 10 day free trial
- Live sport + additional preferred content available. Tailor your package to suit your needs
- Stream a range of Foxtel’s channels live
- HD and Ultra HD streaming
- No installation costs (unlike traditional Foxtel subscription)
Amazon Prime Video: The best streaming service for movies
The final main player in the market is Amazon Prime Video. While Amazon was originally a company focused on e-commerce, over time they’ve diversified into a number of different fields, with media streaming being one of these.
As with its competitors, Amazon provides both existing and original content for you to enjoy. While Amazon Prime has plenty to offer, there’s no doubt their main drawcard and selling point has been the Grand Tour, built off the success of Top Gear.
If you are looking for a point of difference, Prime Video is arguably the best movie streaming service. While it may not offer the same volume of TV shows you’d find on Netflix or Stan, there a ton of great films to entertain films buffs of all ages.
Best of all, it’s clearly the cheapest option, so if you’re saving your pennies, it might be the right choice for you.
- $6.99 per month which enables you to stream content on up to three screens at one time
- Prime Video original television dramas, documentaries and movies
- HD and Ultra HD streaming options
- Extensive range of movies available
- Free 30 day trial
Try before you buy: find the best streaming service for you
One thing you will notice when you sign up is that all four options offer a free trial. Netflix, Stan and Prime Video all offer a free 30 day trial while you can get 10 days of Foxtel Now for free. So, why not take advantage?
Before putting down your hard earned cash, why not try before you buy? While we can list the key features and prices, nothing beats testing it for yourself. If you plan it well, you can get more than three consecutive months of access for nothing.
If you do sign up for a free trial but do not wish to subscribe, remember to cancel. Failing to cancel your subscription by the end of the trial period means you will be charged the monthly fee.
How many subscriptions is too many?
This will depend on your budget.
While subscribing to every possible service would ensure you never run out of things to watch, it might not be the best thing for your financial situation. After all, subscription costs can quickly add up.
If you’re not sure what you can afford to spend each month, making a budget is a great place to start. The ASIC’s Moneysmart Budget Planner is a free online tool that makes creating a budget a breeze. Your expenses are categorised so you’ll know exactly what you can afford to spend.
Finding the best streaming service: the newcomers
The already competitive streaming market is about to get a whole lot more crowded. On the back of the success of services like Netflix and Stan, global entertainment giants Disney and Apple have decided to get involved too.
As you’d expect with two of the world’s largest companies, there are no half-measures. Both companies have invested significant resources into developing a high quality service complete with original content to ensure you’re getting value for money as a consumer.
- $8.99 per month
Disney is undoubtedly the largest entertainment company in the world. With their extensive back catalogue of content, establishing their own streaming service really was a no-brainer.
In terms of content, Disney+ gives you access to all of their most recent Hollywood blockbusters, iconic childhood classics as well as an exciting range of original shows and movies.
While you’re never too old for a Disney classic, you can guarantee that a Disney+ subscription will be an absolute gift for parents of young children.
- $7.99 per month
With the success of Netflix and Prime Video as well as the ever-growing demand for instant streaming options, it really was only a matter of time before Apple threw their hat in the ring.
With its recent launch, Apple TV+ marks Apple’s second foray into the media streaming marketplace, following on from their highly successful Apple Music product.
In terms of content, Apple have taken a quality over quantity approach. Which means if you choose to subscribe, don’t go in expecting to find a library as vast as the one you’d find on Netflix.
Apple instead opted to focus on creating a number of top-notch original series. This includes “The Morning Show” starring Steve Carrell, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston as well as “See” starring Jason Momoa.
So, if you’re looking to discover a range of new, never-before seen shows, Apple TV+ could be the choice for you. On the flipside though, if you value diversity and choice, you may need to look elsewhere.
The best streaming service: the networks
With more and more Australians moving away from traditional, commercial television, the existing networks found themselves in a pickle. How could they hold onto their viewership in the face of increasing competition from streaming services?
The solution came in the form of their own, free-to-use streaming services. Rather than sitting down and watching a show when it airs, you can watch on-demand at a time of your choosing.
Do keep in mind though that as these services are free, if you are dealing with one of the commercial networks (i.e. Channel 7,9 or 10), you will encounter ads.
Contrary to what you might expect, the Government broadcaster was actually the first mover in Australian on-demand TV streaming. Launched in 2008, iView is arguably still the high-water mark when it comes to the distribution of network content online.
You can watch live or on-demand so you never miss your favourite ABC shows. Recent episodes are available for 14 days after they air so there’s always plenty of time to catch-up.
Sign up for a free account and watch you favourite SBS shows, documentaries, movies and news on-demand. New episodes are available after they air but get in quick as they are only offered for a limited time.
If you’re looking to save money, options like iView and SBS on-demand can be lifesavers. You can access all the content you need while not paying a cent. Obviously though, the range of content you can access will be limited.
7plus and 9Now: the commercial networks
While 7plus and 9Now allow you to watch your favourite network shows live or on-demand, there is one significant drawback, commercial breaks still exist. While we all hate ads, unfortunately, that’s the trade-off that comes with using some free services. In the end, it is a necessary sacrifice if you wish to watch your Channel 7 or 9 shows live or on-demand.
10 All Access
Unlike its network rivals, Channel 10 offers a paid subscription option for those looking to access a range of TV shows. For $10 per month you can subscribe to 10 All Access, through which you can find plenty of Australian and American programs.
The recent acquisition of Channel 10 by American network CBS means they are able to offer access to shows such as Elementary, Survivor and NCIS, ad-free and on-demand.
Alternatively, you can access a range of Channel 10 programming for free through 10Play. This is similar to the products offered by other networks.
Kayo: The best streaming service if you love your sport
If you love your sport, Kayo is simply a must-have. Launched by Foxtel, Kayo brings together all your favourite sports into one place. You can watch games live or on-demand in HD on up to three devices at once.
Content is presented in a simple, easy-to-use layout similar to the other TV streaming services (e.g. Netflix). In addition to live action, there are plenty of documentaries and shows covering all your favourite sports. Put simply, it’s a sports lover’s paradise.
Best of all, given you pay by month, you can subscribe when you need it. For instance, if you’re a rugby league fan and want to watch every game live, you can subscribe to Kayo from March through September. Once the season’s finished you can cancel your subscription so you’re not paying for something you don’t need.
Alternatively, if you are a huge sports fan, you can subscribe year around and be guaranteed there will always be something to watch.
- Basic package: $25 per month (Up to two devices at once)
- Premium package: $35 per month (Up to three devices at once)
Which is the best streaming service for music?
Gone are the days of carrying around your music on CDs. At this point, even loading your music onto an iPod seems ancient. These days, music streaming services are all the rage.
For a small monthly fee, you can access just about any song ever recorded. Rather than paying for the whole album, you can download or stream your favourite songs on-demand.
While the music streaming market may not be as competitive as the television market, there are still plenty of services vying for the title of best music streaming service in Australia.
Just as we did with the TV streaming, we’ve put together a handy guide to help you answer the million dollar question. “What is the best music streaming service for me?”
Read on and you’ll have your answer in no time.
What Netflix is to television streaming, Spotify is to music streaming. With over 140 million users worldwide, Spotify revolutised the way music is streamed and accessed. Put simply, it was a game changer.
So what makes Spotify one of the top music streaming services? Well, they helped introduce many of the key features that are now taken for granted.
First of all, Spotify’s extensive catalogue of over 35 million tracks allows you to make playlists to suit your tastes.
Spotify also makes it easy to discover a great range of new music. You can follow your friends to see what they’re listening to or sample one of the many playlists Spotify curated specifically to suit your preferences.
With a subscription, you also have the option to download your favourite playlists and albums. That way, you can listen offline, meaning there’s no need to use your mobile data when you’re on the go.
Overall, Spotify is still the benchmark when it comes to music streaming. It has everything you could ever need.
Spotify subscriptions come in three forms:
- Student: $5.99 per month. You must be an enrolled student at an accredited college or university in order to be eligible.
- Individual: $11.99 per month with 30 days free. Streaming available on only one account.
- Family: $17.99 Stream anywhere on up to 6 devices at once.
The best streaming service that’ll cost you nothing: A free subscription with Spotify
While a paid subscription gives you complete access to Spotify’s full list of features, they do offer a free subscription option too. If that’s something you’re looking for, you’re in luck because it’s undoubtedly the best free music streaming service there is.
If you opt for a free subscription over a paid one, there are a few key differences to keep in mind. First, and most importantly, ads will be included between every few songs.
In addition to this, you will encounter a few restrictions. While you can select your favourite albums or playlists, you cannot play one particular song. Instead you must play the album or playlist and wait until the song comes around, based on the randomised order.
Finally, you can only skip six songs per hour, so choose wisely.
Ultimately, if you can handle these differences, then a free subscription is the way to go. However, the freedom and features that come with a paid subscription are tough to ignore.
As you might expect, Apple Music is Apple’s attempt to fight back against Spotify.
With a huge library of songs, Apple Music matches Spotify in just about every way possible. You’re able to stream on-demand and can download your favourite songs and playlists allowing you to listen offline.
One cool feature you get with Apple Music is the ability to tune into a range of radio stations. Whether you’re into jazz, alternative or rock, it doesn’t matter because you can find a radio station to suit your preferences.
Ultimately, Apple Music and Spotify are both excellent products so you won’t be disappointed either way.
The prices for Apple Music match those for Spotify. One key difference though is that Apple Music offers a three month free trial!!
- Student: $5.99 per month. You must be an enrolled at an accredited college or university to be eligible.
- Individual: $11.99 per month. Stream on one device.
- Family: $17.99 Stream anywhere on up to 6 devices at once.
Tidal: the best streaming service for high-quality audio
As the first artist-owned streaming service, Tidal go about things a little differently. With controlling owners including Jay-Z and Kanye West, Tidal has a number of unique selling points that could make it the right choice for you.
Key to this is the range of exclusive content on offer. While Spotify and Apple Music provide access to tens of millions of songs, the only place you’ll find Jay Z’s music is on Tidal.
Not only that, there is an extensive range of playlists, concert and event live-streaming, interviews and podcasts that you won’t find anywhere else.
Finally, Tidal offer audio quality not found on Spotify or Apple Music. While you will require the more expensive Tidal HiFi subscription, the FLAC and MQA lossless audio formats are an audiophile’s dream. You can listen to your favourite tracks in the quality they were intended to be heard.
Overall, Tidal might be the choice for the true music fans among us. If exclusivity and audio-quality are something you value, you won’t be disappointed.
- Tidal Premium: $11.99 per month (Free 30 day trial)
- Tidal HiFi: $23.99 per month (All the features of Tidal Premium with access to high quality audio options)
Amazon Music Unlimited
Like with Prime Video, Amazon Music Unlimited is Amazon’s attempt to capture some of the music streaming marketplace.
With many of the expected features including an extensive catalogue, offline streaming and personalised playlists, Amazon Music Unlimited offers a streaming service that is perfectly adequate.
If you do like the idea of keeping your media subscriptions under the one umbrella, combining a Prime Video subscription with Music Unlimited may be a good plan.
Overall, however, Music Unlimited seems to lack a point of difference (e.g. exclusive content) that would make it desirable over the more established services such as Spotify and Apple Music.
- $11.99 per month (30 day free trial included)
The best streaming service for you: it’s your call
At the end of the day, each streaming service will offer something a little different. While we’ve tried to give you a comprehensive guide to help you out, it ultimately comes down to what you value.
If you value exclusivity, you may score Tidal higher than Spotify or Apple Music. By the same token, if diversity of content is important to you, you will likely subscribe to Netflix or Stan rather than Prime Video.
Put simply, the choice is yours. Pick wisely and enjoy your streaming.