Which streaming service should you sign up for?

26 May 2015

Written by:

Following its launch two months ago, Netflix’s popularity in Australia has risen faster than anyone had expected.

It has already surpassed Foxtel as Australia’s most popular television subscription service and is significantly more popular than its Australian-based rivals Stan. and Presto.

But does Netflix really deserve its popularity?

upstart compared the streaming services prior to Netflix’s launch and will now compare the quality and content of the services two months down the track.

Presto Netflix Stan


Price per month and streaming quality

Netflix offers a one screen, standard package for $8.99, a two screen, high-definition package for $11.99 and a four screen, ultra-definition package for $14.99. Despite the first plan being the cheapest of the services, the second high-definition plan is believed to be the most popular.

Stan. costs $9.99 and allows users to steam on as many as three devices at a time. Its high-definition content is also available on this plan.

Presto Movies and Presto TV plans cost $9.99 each and its Presto Entertainment package – including movies and TV – is $14.99. Presto doesn’t offer high-definition content.

Of the three, Stan. probably offers the best plan. For $1 more than Netflix’s basic plan, you can watch videos in high-definition on two more devices at a time than Netflix. Presto costs more than the other two while also offering a worse plan. All three also allow one-month free trials.


Amount of content

In April, gyde released a report on the amount of content offered by online streaming services.

Stan. and Netflix are far ahead of any of their competitors, with Stan. barely pulling ahead. Presto has recently added significantly more television content to its service, now offering more than 5,000 hours all up. It’s still in a solid third place behind Netflix and Stan.


What have they got?

Netflix’s chief selling point is its original content. Shows like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Marvel’s Daredevil and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt have helped make Netflix a household name. They are also the only one of the three services that offers a significant amount of stand-up comedy, including a variety of comedians from Australia and overseas.

Stan. has the exclusive streaming rights to a lot of popular shows, including Breaking Bad, its spinoff Better Call Saul and cult comedy series Community. They have also commissioned several original series, including a show based on the film Wolf Creek, political drama Enemy of the State and improvisational comedy series No Activity.

Presto includes popular series The Walking Dead and Modern Family, as well as older shows like The Wire, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sex and the City and The Sopranos.

Though all three offer plenty of great movies and television, Netflix’s abundance of original content makes it stand out amongst the pack.


Children’s content

All three services offer a wide array of children’s content.

Presto’s content, however, is aimed mostly at very young children and may not cater well to a primary school-aged audience.

Stan. offers a lot of recent movies and series, including Adventure Time, Avatar: The Last Airbender and Ben 10.

Netflix’s children’s content offers plenty of nostalgia value, including older programs like Arthur, Power Rangers and Pingu.

Though it’s tough to decide which of the three services offers the best children’s programming, since they appear to be targeting different demographics, Netflix probably has the widest variety of content.


User friendliness

Though all three websites have a similar layout, Netflix’s is the easiest to navigate and its algorithm for suggesting content you might like based on your ratings of other content makes finding new movies and TV shows much easier.

Netflix and Stan. offer the ability to set up multiple profiles on one account, so one person’s viewing habits won’t affect the suggestions of another user of the same account.

Presto is the only service that allows people to browse its library before signing up for the service, helping new users decide if the service is worth it.

Paying the extra dollar for Stan.’s high definition content and extra screens is pointless if you are the only one using the account and don’t have a good internet connection.

Netflix also provides audio descriptions for some of its content, making it accessible to people with visual impairments.

All up, Netflix is probably the easiest to use out of the three services, which likely contributes to its popularity.


What should you sign up for?

Stan. offers the best deal out of the three services but Netflix provides the most original and interesting content. Though Presto is improving, it still costs more than the other two and offers less content and lower quality. A combination of Netflix and Stan. is the way to go, but if you can only afford one of the services, you should make a selection based on what content sounds most appealing to you.


Ethan MillerEthan Miller is a third-year Bachelor of Journalism student at La Trobe University. You can follow him on Twitter: @ethanmiller1994.