Netflix v Stan

For non-Americans (aka Australians), streaming TV is somewhat new. We’ve had free-to-air streaming tv for ages, and those with VPN have been able to access Hulu and Netflix from the U.S. for more than 5 years. In my household we’ve had an Apple TV for about 2 years, and plenty of access to iTunes shows. Until 2 days ago we made do with DVDs and iTunes and unlimited internet data usage bundled with our home phone. Life was ok. Oh! And by the way, we’re Apple users. Not exclusively, but nearly. Begrudgingly. Because beautiful shiny, good for dummies. 2 iMacs, 1 MacBook Pro, 1 MacBook Air, 2nd generation iPad, 1 iPad mini, Apple TV, 2 iPhone 6 plus. Plus a bunch of derelict Apple phones (3,4) and touches and stuff.

Then Netflix and Stan and Presto and Quickflix arrived. Actually, Quickflix has been around for years but I never cared before.

I’m here to report on Netflix and Stan. I’m taking advantage of the 30 day free membership to assess each provider and their libraries. I’m excited!!

So far here’s the thing. At $8.99 per month Netflix offers SD streaming on one device. Handily already added to Apple TV, all it took was a neatly synchronised iTunes account to join up, and we were away. What a great, convenient approach. Love it. I’ve chosen an SD stream because our TV is 6 years old, so there are limits to what it can show. Also, streaming in Australia can be crap. There is no point getting a higher def stream, it’s too data hungry. Yes, we have unlimited usage but there’s a limit to what our network can manage.

Netflix currently have about 1000 movies and TV series in its library. This includes about a third children’s programs. This leaves adults with a surprisingly small library of shows. Our first day on the site started well. We caught up with the latest Superman (Henry Cavill with the most adorable underbite), then the following day I caught up with old favourites Serenity, Enchanted, The Matrix and Frozen. Plus some TV things I’d not seen. But then that was it. It was like looking at the old video hire store and being sad and bored by the crap offerings. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there’s lots and I’ve just not seen it yet. There IS the entire seven seasons of Dr Who (modern version), so hello holidays, and I’m pretty sure The Good Wife and some other shows I’ve been holding off watching due to mismatching timetables will be just the ticket for a jaded palate. But I think the small offerings are poor thus far. No West Wing!!! *News just to hand as of 25/06/15 – STILL NO WEST WING but at least I can now buy the series (expensively) on Apple iTunes.

No problems with streaming yet. The video is great, smooth and not at all laggy.

Stan is a peculiarly Australian offering, via Fairfax and Nine Entertainment, and StreamCo. At a clean $10 per month, it’s got some nice features.

It has secured some pretty impressive British and American shows already and with lots of Australian content it makes me happy. One of my favourite shows already is the US show Transparent. Every time Maura tries to come out to her children I cry. Stan’s interface on our devices is awesome, and we can stream onto 3 devices at once. Stan’s interface with our Apple TV has not been a happy experience as my Apple TV won’t talk to any of my devices through AirPlay. I think the only way we can watch Stan on the big TV is if I hook up my HDMI cable to my laptop and stream through the Internet page. So I’m watching Janet King (an amazing Australian court house procedural)  through my iPad mini, which is old and laggy. (It shouldn’t be; it’s 2 years old, but it acts like it’s ancient).  *NEWS just to hand as of 25/06/15 – Apple and Stan talked to each other and now Stan has the same great Apple App on Apple TV that Netflix does. This has made the whole process SO MUCH EASIER.

A few bugs to fix up, mainly streaming issues, but I think it’s because of the device, not the provider. I wrote to Stan to check an audio issue and they responded in 30 minutes with a real life email from a human. Take that, Apple!

At the moment I’m kinda siding with Stan. As an Australian provider, it understands its market very well. It has fast acting personal service. And I like the Australian content. Because Janet King is as good as, if not better than, The Good Wife. From the DPP angle, of course!

So, for Netflix 9/10 for ease of use, 6/10 for content. Stan 8/10 for ease of use, 8/10 for content. Price being the same, these are bargain prices for the benefit of watching shows without ads.

I’m thinking I might just buy both subscriptions anyway. At $20 per month it’s less than I was spending on iTunes anyway. And that’s the benefit right there.

 

 

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