When it comes to entertainment, we’ve got more choices than ever before on what to watch. Gone are the days of strictly prime-time viewing, or heading down to the shops to rent a movie; now it’s all at your fingertips. But, with so many choices for entertainment, how do you differentiate between the services? Let us be your guide!
Below, you’ll find an explanation of the main services available, how to access them, and more.
Now, all of the streaming services mentioned below are available on computers, mobile devices and tablets, but what about watching where it really counts – on your TV?
Smart televisions represent the meeting point of all these services. Simply put, these TVs connect to your home internet, and allow you to access a range of services, which can change model to model. For example, one TV may have Netflix access enabled, but not Crackle access. If you’re in the market for a Smart TV, you should be able to find this out relatively easily before you buy.
The beauty of having an internet-enabled TV is the potential for add-ons. Manufacturers may add support for new services as time rolls on, so you’re not limited to what your TV can do the day you bring it home.
If you don’t have a Smart TV, there’s no reason to miss out on all this amazing entertainment! You can pick up a range of cost-effective add-on devices which add this capability to your TV. This includes Smart Blu-ray players, as well as the small Apple TV and Chromecast add-ons.
Streaming Library Services (Subscription)
These are services which offer a complete library of content to subscribers, all of which can be accessed by paying a monthly flat fee. From a cost perspective, these are by far the most economical option, offering unlimited viewing for a set price, usually around $8-15.
In Australia, at present, there are three main streaming library services to choose from: Stan, Presto, and Netflix. The first two are local Australian ventures, and the third is an international service that’s been in the US for several years.
On these services, you’ll find TV and movies, but generally not the latest releases – usually those can only be rented (see below).
It’s impossible to definitively say one service has the ‘best’ library. Their content changes month to month, as titles are added and subtracted, based on what people like to watch. All three also have a health mix of TV series and movies, across a wide range of genres. However, all three offer one-month free trials, meaning you can take them for a spin before you decide to subscribe!
Streaming Library Services (Free)
These streaming libraries operate a lot like their subscription counterparts, with one lovely distinction – they’re free! Two of the best free services in Australia come from ABC (iView) and SBS (SBS on Demand). Both have an enormous library of catch-up TV and movies available to stream, all commercial-free. There’s also Crackle, a similarly free service with a narrower library of content (but there are still some gems in there).
Each of the free-to-air networks in Australia also has a service similar to this, generally designed around catch-up TV, and less-so around having a large library. These are free to access, but will generally include ads.
For all new release movies, or anything not yet in a streaming service library, there are several methods of digitally renting or buying entertainment. This comes in the form of services like iTunes, the Google Play store, which are designed first and foremost to cater to mobile devices. There are also other digital stores, such as the LG Web Store, built into its webOS operating system.
Last, but certainly not least, it’s YouTube. Not just for videos of cute cats and flash-mob videos anymore, it’s a whole world of entertainment in itself. Content on the platform is practically boundless, whether you’re a fan of cooking, cars, or DIY, there’s plenty to watch.