A review by Andrew Cunningham. @cunningdrew
By now, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of Netflix. You’ve probably also heard that they’ve recently entered the Australian market and are causing quite a stir. Let’s talk a little more about Netflix and what it means for Australians.
Unlike Foxtel, which works with a set top box, Netflix operates entirely using your existing internet connection. There’s no installation guy who comes out a date late to connect you, there’s no 12 month minimum connection and there’s no frustrating channel flicking to see if there’s anything worth watching on. Netflix is simple in that you watch what you want, when you want and for a fraction of the price you’re probably used to. For under ten bucks a month you can get Netflix streaming to your phone, tablet or TV and can watch content in standard definition, HD and even 4K!
Like me, there’s probably a few old shows that you love. Or a few classic movies. You might even be lucky to see one of your old favourites playing on 7 mate at 3pm on your day off. But what about the next day? And this weekend? With Netflix just load it up and watch it as you please. I loved watching The IT Crowd. I watched the first season the day it launched and don’t think I missed an episode there after. With Netflix, I can watch every episode of every season where and where I want. Imagine that, starting Series 3, Episode 2 on the big screen in the lounge via my Apple TV and then finishing it off in bed on my iPad. All this after my child goes to sleep and I’ve made my cup of tea! This is what Netflix is all about. And the best bit? When I’ve gone through the silly antics of The IT Crowd I will move on and find something else to start watching!
But it’s not just watching quality shows from days before, Netflix is home to a host of their own titles both film and TV. The most popular is probably the political drama House Of Cards, but you’ve perhaps also heard of Orange Is The New Black, Marco Polo and many more. With millions of subscribers globally Netflix has a substantial budget available to invest back in to the art to create more fun things to watch. This is great for us as the consumer but also fantastic for those working in the film and TV industry. It gives back…. to both of us alike.
There’s been talk that Netflix Australia won’t have a substantial catalogue of content initially. And while this is true in some ways, it’s also interesting to see that many of the shows Netflix does have available in Australia are not available in the USA. Suits is an extremely popular series and it’s not available in the US as they’ve sold the rights to another network. However, it is available in Australia. This is the case for many titles, some are available here and some are not. Ultimately, if you’re a new subscriber to Netflix you can’t miss what you didn’t previously have. For the price of a pint of beer per month it’s well worthwhile to be able to revisit some classics and also keep up to date with exciting new TV shows and films.
I’ve been playing with the Aussie version of Netflix and I have to say thus far I am extremely impressed. I’ve really seen no technical issues or hiccups that you might expect from a new service and new catalogue. I’ve tried to find titles that won’t play or don’t exist at the database end but have been unsuccessful in doing so! It seems to just work as it says it will. I love that you’re able to search from a number of headings including new releases, and also genre’s of content like drama, comedy and even children’s!
While Netflix is new to Australia, there’s actually a substantial number of people who have been signed up to the US version for years using proxy servers to disguise their location. In fact, the estimated number of existing Netflix users in Australia is 200,000 Australians. That’s quite a staggering number considering before now Netflix have had zero marketing and promotion in Australia. It’s highly likely the volume of existing users has fuelled the desire of Netflix to open its doors in Australia officially and present us with our own content catalogue.
It truly is a great service. However, if you’re in the market for streaming entertainment you might also consider home grown alternatives Stan and Presto who also launched in Australia recently. Be warned though, these streaming services use plenty of bandwidth so be sure that you’ve enough space in your monthly download quota. I can assure you that you’re going to be spending a lot more time in front of the box! iiNet are the first ISP in Australia to partner with Netflix and advertise that watching content through the service will not effect your monthly download quota. In addition, TPG offer an unlimited download plan as do a few other ISP’s.
Do I recommend you take a look at Netflix? Absolutely. IF you’re interested in taking a look be sure to visit www.netflix.com.au and start a trial! There’s nothing to lose, except perhaps a little time on the old couch!
A review by Andrew Cunningham @cunningdrew