A look and review of some of the most popular streaming services available today, along with a pointer to an app which could save you money based on my personal experiences. Enjoy.
I recently had a discussion with a client about the high costs of subscriptions to online streaming services like Prime, Netflix, Foxtel and other well know providers and was surprised at how much extra he was paying unnecessarily, so I thought this article might also be of benefit to my readers.
Here’s a list of services covered by this article.
- Prime Music and Movies
- YouTube Music and Movies
- Netflix Movies
- Foxtel Movies
Prime Membership (Best value for money)
A standard monthly subscription to Prime Video starts at $6.99 AUD a month; $54.00 if you choose to pay annually.
I went with an Annual subscription because it’s a saving of $29.88 a year. For some, $54.00 may still sound expensive, but considering the benefits you get for your membership compared to other offerings, I think it’s a great deal.
Along with your membership, you’ll get the following;
- Unlimited access to all Prime Video and Twitch Prime content including TV Shows, Movies, and Prime Originals.
- If you like playing games, (and let’s be honest - who doesn’t?) then there’s a ton of excellent quality games for you or your kids to play and enjoy at no additional cost.
- Music lovers get unlimited access to the latest Music titles from around two million or so titles available.
- Enjoy a good read? There are a thousand or more titles of e-books, short stories, and comics to enjoy.
- Unlimited storage of your photos on Amazon’s online servers.
- Finally, if you shop at Amazon, you also get to enjoy free delivery on many (most) items you buy.
I subscribed to Prime about a year ago and have been totally happy with my investment. And of course, you can share your membership with other members of your family too. Given that I also frequently order from Amazon, I’ve also saved a ton on delivery charges. I’ll definitely be renewing when my current subscription expires. NOTE: Save money on your subscription by using the Free Cashback app that I reviewed in a previous article "A Free and Effortless Way to Save Money" that I also published here on Experts Exchange. Be sure to check it out.
Everyone knows that YouTube is free right? So why would you want to subscribe and pay money for something you can get for free? Well, not all is as it seems. There are some benefits of subscribing to Premium, and though I did subscribe for a few months, didn’t really find the benefits worth the $14.99 AUD per month price tag. That said, here’s what you get with your subscription.
- No Ads on Videos. The (arguably) largest benefit of subscribing to Premium is that you don’t get ads during the videos or shows you watch. For those of us that despise adds, this can be a significant benefit, but it doesn’t stop any ads built into the videos you watch by content providers.
- No ads on Music videos. Almost any song can indeed be found on YouTube’s vast collection of content, but is it really worth the money you pay each month to avoid ads? I didn’t think so.
- YouTube Originals. There’s a lot of originals on YouTube Premium that aren’t available on other streaming services. I initially signed up to watch the first season of Kobra Kai, originally released and only available on YouTube. They do have lots of other originals though, so that might be a benefit that might sway some of you to take a look.
- The ability to download content for offline viewing.
That’s about the extent of benefits that I found with my YouTube Premium subscription. $179.88 AUD yearly is overly expensive for what you get in my view, so Premium only lasted a few months at my household before I decided to cancel.
We’re all different though, so your mileage may vary. Give their 30-day free trial a go and make up your own mind. You can cancel at any time and still retain/enjoy the benefits before your cancellation date arrives.
Netflix is another very well known streaming service, but I decided to look into it and see what hidden benefits there may be in subscribing to it. Turns out there’s not that many at all.
Netflix has three monthly subscription models;
- Basic ($10.99 AUD) – Allows viewing on only 1 device at a time.
- Standard ($15.00 AUD) – Allows viewing on 2 devices at a time.
- Premium ($19.99 AUD) – Allows viewing on 4 devices at a time.
The number of devices you can view on determines how you can share your subscription with your family members. If, for example, you decide to share your subscription with your kids (or have more than one television in your home), only one person at a time can be logged into Netflix and watch.
That’s highly restrictive in my opinion, and I’ve experienced many instances where I’ve wanted to watch Netflix only to get a message that someone else is currently watching and gotten booted out as a result until they’ve logged off. Given the price they charge, I think the Basic option would be fairer to include at least two devices rather than one.
You also have no HD or Ultra HD options on the basic subscription plan. You’ll need a Standard plan to have HD available and a Premium plan if you prefer to watch in Ultra HD. To me, that’s just a money-grabbing technique.
Here is what you get with all of the current subscription models;
- Ability to watch unlimited movies and TV shows from the enormous range of titles available, which are updated every month.
- Access to Netflix Originals not available elsewhere
Many Movie and TV show buffs find they can’t live without it and admittedly, I frequently enjoy it myself, but only when utilising a Premium plan so that costs can be shared amongst the family members that I share the subscription cost with.
Foxtel is as old as the hills that I’ve had installed a couple of times and in all honesty, I’m surprised that they’re still in business.
Plans are complicated, so cost starts from $49.00 AUD per month (on a 12-month plan), but if you want to watch your movies in HD quality, that cost shoots up to $69.00 per month ($74.00 if you want Sports instead of movies!). Their Premium plan will set you back $99.00 a month while if you choose to subscribe to their top of the range Premium Plus plan, then be ready to fork over $139.00 every month. Expensive options? You bet.
Note: At time of writing, Foxtel offers what they’ve called a "Super Summers Sale", but note that the reduced prices are only valid for 12 months
, after which the prices listed above come back into effect. Here are the current (monthly) prices listed on their Foxtel Shop
Note these discounts only apply
if you’ve never
been a Foxtel subscriber before!
- Foxtel Plus - $39.20/mth for the first 12 months, $49.00 a month after that.
- Movies HD - $55.20/mth for the first 12 months, then $69.00 a month after that.
- Sports HD - $59.20/mth for the first 12 months, then $74.00 a month after that.
- Premium - $79.20/mth for the first 12 months, then $99.00 a month after that.
- Platinum Plus - $111.20/mth for the first 12 months, then $139.00 a month after that.
You can save some money via bundling if you opt to use Telstra or Bigpond for your home Internet needs, but many (including myself) dislike Telstra’s Internet service offerings so it’s a saving that's not realistically available to everyone.
Foxtel is also chock-a-block full of ads on almost all of their available channels and their offerings, in my view, are pretty ordinary when compared to the other services included in this article. There are some benefits that I’ve listed below when subscribing to this service, but in my view, the subscription costs far outweigh any benefits. Here’s what you get;
- A fair selection of Movies, Sports, TV shows, and Documentaries.
- A Foxtel iQ3 or iQ4 set-top box to use for the duration of your subscription.
Details of what’s available on which bundle/plan can be obtained from their website as listed above. For me, all of the other plans offer far more value, but feel free to take a look and make your own mind up.
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Finally, please leave a comment below and let me know if you would like to see some of the other many streaming services reviewed. By: Andrew LeniartFreelance Journalist & Editor