Dan Barrett

Dan Barrett is the Content Director of Televised Revolution. His musings on television have been heard across ABC Radio, on websites like The Guardian and Crikey, and drunkenly in pubs across the country. At night he spends too many hours watching repeats of Cheers.

[PODCAST] Televised Revolution – 28 Days of David Letterman (#392)

With Game of Thrones tied so heavily to the conversation surrounding piracy, any week which delivers Game of Thrones back to our screen is immediately going to also deliver a whole bunch of thought pieces and news articles about downloading. But with the first four episodes leaking ahead of the first episode launch, the conversation shifted course dramatically.

We’ll discuss the Game of Thrones piracy leaks, along with:

  • The final guests have been announced for The Late Show With David Letterman.
  • Google patent spoiler technology.
  • iView introduce links to buy content.
  • Ryan Stokes to sit in the big chair.
  • YouTube ad-free subscriptions.

At Televised Revolution, we look forward to receiving your mail and check us out on the Twitter. You can also find the podcast on iTunes (please leave us a review, it helps people find the show).

Televised Revolution is available on:

iTunes | PocketCasts | Soundcloud | StitcherRSS

What To Watch – Game of Thrones, Veep, Mad Men, and More! [13 April 2015]

TV has come alive. Throughout the year we encounter hidden gems that catch our attention, but when Mad Men and Game of Thrones both return, supported by a bunch of great second tier shows, it’s impossible not to get excited. These are high quality scripted shows that have become global events in themselves.

Returning shows:
Game of Thrones – 13 April 2015
Veep – 13 April 2015
Silicon Valley – 13 April 2015
Nurse Jackie – 13 April 2015
Turn – 14 April 2015
Orphan Black – 19 April 2015

New Series:
The Messengers – CW, 18 April 2015

HBO Now May be Easy For Australians To Access, But Is It Cheaper Than Foxtel?

Winter is coming, providing US television giant HBO with the perfect launch pad for their new subscription video service, HBO Now. This eagerly anticipated move breaks HBO free of cable television systems in the US, allowing them to go direct to consumer. But let’s say that you’re really only after HBO Now for Game of Thrones. For Australians seeking HBO Now to bypass needing a Foxtel subscription, is it actually worth the cost?

HBO Now is priced at US $14.99 and for the next three months will only be available via the Apple TV, meaning that for Australians it is very easy to gain access to the service. With a US iTunes account (free to set up) and a US iTunes gift card, paying for HBO Now is a reasonably simple process.

Considering that to access HBO Now Australians must contend with also paying for a VPN service, pay a surcharge to buy a US iTunes gift card, and pay with a far weaker dollar, it is actually cheaper to access Foxtel’s online streaming service Foxtel Play.

As a promotional deal, Foxtel are offering anyone who subscribes to Foxtel Play the ability to subscribe to their Movies and drama package for $5 on top of one of their $25 entry-level ‘genre pick’ packages.

In considering the services side-by-side over the three month period that Game of Thrones broadcasts over:

HBO Now
Unblock-US: US$4.99 x3 = $14.97
US iTunes Gift Card ($50): US$59.99
Total: US $74.96 (AUS $97.15)

Foxtel Play 
Genre Pick: AUS $25 x3 = $75
Movies and Drama Pick – Game of Thrones Special Pricing: $5 x3 = $15
Total: $90

From a purely financial standpoint, over the three month period that Game of Thrones runs for, Australian consumers are $7.15 better off going with the local Foxtel Play service.

There are, of course, other considerations.

HBO Now subscribers will be able to watch the show in high definition, while also gaining access to HBO’s extensive back catalogue of content and strong movie library.

Depending which genre pick is chosen, Foxtel subscribers will be able to view content from a wider number of content providers. It also means legal access to AMC series Mad Men, which runs at the same time as Game of Thrones.

The major drawback with Foxtel Play as a service is that it is driven largely by the online linear stream of content, mimicking the experience of watching Foxtel channels via cable. If you want to watch Game of Thrones, you need to be positioned in front of your streaming device to watch the crisp standard definition show at the exact time that it airs. Unlike the cable TV service, you cannot record it on your PVR and watch the show at your own leisure. Foxtel Play does offer on-demand content, but it does mean that sometimes you are waiting until the next day for shows to be made available.

Ultimately, it comes down completely to how you want to watch your TV, and what additional content you would want to be able to access over the time period you are subscribing. From a pure price standpoint, Foxtel Play is the cheaper option.

[PODCAST] Televised Revolution – Television Zombies (#391)

15.78 million Americans watched the Walking Dead finale last week. But those aren’t the only zombies to be found on TV nowadays. TV show revivals are coming to the screen thick and fast. As viewers and media content providers alike grapple with content choice in our new digital world that offers permanence of media, revivals are a reality in a way they never have been before. It is only in this environment that anyone might believe bringing back Full House is a good idea.

This week the panel discuss:

  • Is Netflix bringing back Full House?
  • David Lynch is gone from the Twin Peaks revival. Perhaps.
  • Dallas Buyers Club has a win against iiNet/Australia.
  • ISP’s set to unveil their three strikes policy against pirates.
  • Record streaming figures reported.
  • Doctor Who uploaded to BitTorrent by the BBC. Again?

At Televised Revolution, we look forward to receiving your mail and check us out on the Twitter. You can also find the podcast on iTunes (please leave us a review, it helps people find the show).

Televised Revolution is available on:

iTunes | PocketCasts | Soundcloud | StitcherRSS

REVIEW (Kind Of): Mad Men – S07E08 ‘Severance’

Every advance review you see of Mad Men has certain caveats attached. No spoilers is a big issue, which is fine – who’d want to be responsible for spoiling such a richly textured show and distilling all that joy into one or two ‘surprise’ plot aspects? But beyond that show creator Matt Weiner has some very specific areas he does not want to have discussed prior to air. They are:

  • The year the story takes place
  • —‘- ———
  • R—– ——
  • Don’s romantic life

And honestly, that’s all reasonable. For those reviewing the episode, however, it doesn’t lead to a whole lot to discuss. Especially considering how interesting the R—– —— material is.

Televised Revolution’s Simon Band and Dan Barrett sat down one evening for a chat about the episode that relates possibly more to the world surrounding the show, using the episode more as a catalyst for consideration. This is that conversation.

DAN: This is the beginning of the end of the show, Simon, how are we going to cope in 7 weeks?

SIMON: Probably by watching it all again. I feel I have a few months before it really sinks in. How are you feeling now we know the end is nigh?

DAN: It’s been an unusual ride for me. I love the show and have since the start, but have never seen most of the episodes more than the once. A few weeks ago I thought I’d start from episode 1 and watch it through to the mid point in season 7, ready for this week when the show returns.
So, I feel like I’ve been living in close proximity to the Sterling Cooper office staff for a few months.

SIMON: And have you succeeded? Getting it all to wash over you in time? It’s quite an ask.

DAN: It’s going to be really hard. The world of Mad Men is just so comfortable and inviting….even if the world of 1960’s America isn’t quite as squeaky clean as it seemed looking back.
I fully caught up the day before watching this ‘season return’.

SIMON: And you use ‘season return’ loosely.

DAN: Well, how did this feel to you? Did this feel like a season return, or are we in fact smack bang in the middle of a season? We saw a time jump and new hairstyles with this return episode.

SIMON: Oh, I feel like it’s a whole new season, the time jump isn’t the most explicit in my opinion, but you do know that things have moved forward and things are changing, both in and out of the offices. Hell moustaches are cool now. So it’s a whole new world.
I think it would be hard (at this stage) to argue that it’s the second half of last season. It has the feel of finality as it seems to be more about ghosts of the past rather than what happened in 7a.

DAN: I’m a bit structuralist. And I suspect Matt Weiner is also, to an extent. The shape and form of the narrative is important to me as a story consumer. So, as I approach this final run of episodes, I’m at a bit of a loss as to where Don’s arc is at at this point. It feels like he’s resolved most of the ghosts of his past and he’s at a clean point in his life with little holding him down. He’s open to his kids about his former life. His co-workers know of his background. Betty and Megan both know his truths.
I really thought this final run of episodes would be about him accepting Don as his true identity, as opposed to the mask he thought he was wearing. And that Megan would play a part in that.

SIMON: Very early on in the episode we see Don talking very openly about growing up in a brothel, with was a big surprise.
Although thematically there is still this laser vision on death, which I suppose has been there from the beginning, but we have an episode filled with death theory bait that will be filling up a sub-reddit.

DAN: Do you really think the show would go there? For every character, the fate worse than death is to leave the company. Would Don leaving Sterling Cooper be a more final conclusion to the show than for Don to die on the job at Sterling Cooper?

SIMON: Oh, the only way I think we’ll see Don die in the show is if it flashes forward 20 more years and we see him finally succumbing to a heart attack under a pile of cocaine and prostitutes (as was the fashion at the time)

DAN: 1990?

SIMON: Maybe early 80s then.

DAN: Now, we’re not allowed to talk about the big revelation in this episode, so let us instead focus on the character that maybe gives me more joy than even Roger Sterling: Ted Chaogh.

Discuss.

SIMON: I think there’s a scene with Chaogh and Campbell, talking about their time in California, and it ends with a very beautiful line that has haunted me all week.

DAN: What’s the line?

SIMON: Looking back it seems like a dream but at the time it seemed so real. There was something about the scene and the way the line landed that stayed with me.

DAN: Isn’t that true of Mad Men generally? So much of Mad Men is shot to look and feel like a dream.

SIMON: It is. Dreams are very important with the show, and Don especially sometimes can’t tell the difference, especially in those moments when he wakes up and he’s not sure which he’s in yet.
Dreams in the show are also not about memory and what happened,but what is coming.

DAN: It really felt like Peggy was given busy-time this week. We see that she’s increasingly getting concerned about becoming an old spinster. To the point where she accepts a blind date which gets a little bit out of hand.
Her date is interviewing in Washington DC. Is this where the series ends? With Peggy leaving the agency to pursue a relationship? It would seem like a real negative shift for the character who has been a real industry trailblazer.

SIMON: I don’t think Peggy can leave, we’ve already seen in “Severence” that quite literally, everything that is important to her is at work.

DAN: So the big question: Do Peggy and Stan boink by the end of the shows run?

SIMON: Sure, why not?

DAN: The show has to give us at least that. Unless the show resolves the greatest tension in that office – Roger Sterling and Harry Crane.

SIMON: With kissing?

DAN: Roger is a hand under the sweater kind of guy.
So, lets wind this up. Did you enjoy this episode? I ask because I’m not sure that I did.
It may just be jitters from my perspective, but something felt tonally off. Perhaps it was just the excess of moustaches in the agency now, but it felt like the developments we’ve seen in the latest time jump were slightly less organic than they had been in the past.

SIMON: I very much did, I think I wasn’t in love with 7a, but having the whole episode summed up and book ended with a song was just perfect. It was perfection the song. It worked for me.

DAN: See, I loved a lot of 7a. But, horses for courses, I guess.

SIMON: I’m singing that damn song to myself right now. Dammit.

DAN: Simon, one of the things we weren’t allowed to talk about before the episode aired was the passing of Rachel Menkin. Do you think she was killed off purely as a means to prevent viewers from seeing her as a potential exit strategy for Don and his love life for the series end? Or was there greater meaning to her passing?

SIMON: Was she the only woman Don truly loved?

DAN: Did he ever truly actually love her, or was that just another opportunity for Don to dream of yet another new life?

Though, perhaps that is the point of her death. It closes a potential chapter in Don’s dream life. He can never be with Rachel….so, what does he do now?

SIMON: He seems to be holding his shit together a bit more now that he’s not committing to any of his life areas, I don’t know if that’s sustainable, but there seems to be more easy flow now that there’s not trying to hold down a dozen different persona. I think he can continue as a ghoulish shade until the next thing happens. He doesn’t seem to really be anywhere.

DAN: Well, 6 episodes to go. Been a fun chat. Thanks Simon.

SIMON: You too Dan.

****

Mad Men airs in Australia on Foxtel’s Showcase channel every Monday at 3:30pm/8:35pm. Season 7-B commences 06 April 2015.

[REVIEW] Marvel’s Daredevil – Episode 1

Prepare for the worst, but hope for mediocre. Following the weak Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the better, but barely watched, Agent Carter series, fans have every right to be nervous about any new live-action Marvel shows. Where Marvel failed in trying too hard to adapt their storytelling to the conventions of broadcast television, Marvel succeed in adapting to the conventions of on-demand television. Marvel’s new series Daredevil is not only the best superhero TV series they’ve produced, it is to-date the best series produced for an on-demand streaming service.

Marvel have partnered with Netflix to deliver 60 episodes of superhero television. This is to be comprised of full seasons of:

1 x Daredevil
1 x Luke Cage
1 x Jessica Jones
1 x Iron Fist
1 x The Defenders (a superhero team-up series featuring Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist)

Most superhero TV series are largely awful, but Daredevil succeeds by working completely to the strength of what the format allows – niche, targeted story-telling that layers its characterisation and plotting over several episodes and rewards those who make an effort to consume it in a concentrated timespan. Daredevil takes its time in revealing all the key players in the series, their motivations, and even their names. It’s masterful.

Daredevil is built with the shape and form of a comic book. For years, comic fans have been reading stories that are written for ‘trade’ collections. These are collections of individual comic book issues (usually 5-8 of them) published in the one volume. As such, most story arcs are written to last for 5-8 issues, with each issue being its own individual instalment to provide a satisfactory story to the person reading month to month. It’s very similar to the way TV seasons now are written for full-season mass consumption, but with individual episodes offering its own multi-act structure.

We are still in the infancy of storytelling via streaming TV services. In-built to the structure is the ability to encourage the viewer to watch as much of the story as they want at any given time. This enables viewers to absorb a story at their own pace, with a structure unencumbered by the logistics of telling a story week-to-week. This is a structure that has been perfected within comic book publishing. The storytellers can be as nuanced as they want as the viewing is being undertaken by an audience who are fully invested in the experience presented by that shows world.

The only misstep that the debut episode makes is by opening with the origin of Daredevil’s abilities – a scene depicting a child injured by a chemical spill on the city streets that has rendered him blind. Most viewers will recall a similar take on the scene from the weak 2003 Ben Affleck movie. Opening with this scene builds a false expectation with the viewer that the show will re-tread the familiar. Had they repositioned the ‘origin’ scene later in the episode or season, it would have done wonders to tweak viewer expectation. What is special about Daredevil as a series is that the series feels like a new approach on bringing superheroes to television, eschewing many of the tropes one comes to expect from the first instalment of a superhero story.

Watching the Daredevil series, it is difficult not to draw comparisons with the recent Christopher Nolan Dark Knight films. Daredevil, as conceptualised in this series, is based heavily off the 1980’s Daredevil comics penned by writer Frank Miller, who later went on to redefine Batman through Batman: Year One and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. These books were a significant influence on Nolan’s Batman films.

More than just sharing the Frank Miller DNA, it’s interesting to note how many cues Daredevil takes from The Dark Knight, specifically. This is a grounded, real world hero who operates in a tangible space. Every punch thrown in the film is felt and a punch is often not quite enough to take out an enemy in the world of Daredevil. Unlike most depictions of violence on TV, when facing an enemy, if Daredevil punches them he needs to keep on punching them until they stay down. This is a brutal, cold, and violent superhero series. And it’s absolutely captivating to watch.

Just as Daredevil owes a debt of gratitude to The Dark Knight, it also takes many cues from The Raid and The Raid 2. While the action scenes are rarely as visceral as either Raid films, the scenes feel just as real.

Matt-Murdoch

While it may be addressed in later episodes this season, this first episode never touches on why Matt Murdock (the titular Daredevil) dresses in a costume to fight crime. As a viewer, it is interesting (yet rarely ever adequately shown) how the hero takes that step from seeing that there’s a problem in the world to acknowledging that the best way for them as an individual to combat the problem is to dress up in a costume and punch bad guys. How does Matt Murdock take the step to see that as a legitimate choice? Often such a decision is legitimised by the character’s situation, but outside of perhaps Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man film, it is very rare to see the steps needed actually rationalised. With the Daredevil character so heavily grounded as a street-level hero, this is a fascinating area of exploration. Furthermore, in a city that has recently seen significant action/devastation with The Avengers, what makes him believe that he can safely operate in a world of that scale?

Daredevil is compelling, wonderful TV that will hopefully find an audience beyond fans of the Marvel superhero films. This is a dark, nuanced TV series that is worthy of a wide audience. Daredevil is utterly fantastic and demands that you use all of your senses while watching.

Daredevil launches on Netflix worldwide from 10 April 2015.

[PODCAST] Televised Revolution: Here’s Some Reality For You! – Ep 390

We’re through the looking glass. Netflix has launched in Australia officially, which means that we can now start looking at the Australian TV market as it is without what it might be should a large scale US media provider enter the market. So, just how many people have signed up to Netflix and what has the impact been on free to air broadcast TV?

This week on Televised Revolution, Dan, Simon, and Dennis discuss:

  • iiNet claims Netflix now account for 15% of their traffic.
  • FTA TV viewership is down a whopping 10% on this time last year.
  • Is the government considering slashing broadcast licenses again?
  • A US TV remake is in store for These Final Hours.

At Televised Revolution, we look forward to receiving your mail and check us out on the Twitter. You can also find the podcast on iTunes (please leave us a review, it helps people find the show).

Televised Revolution is available on:

iTunes | PocketCasts | Soundcloud | StitcherRSS

What To Watch? Younger, Olympus, The Ark, and Weird Loners [29 March 2015]

This weeks column may as well be titled What Not To Watch. It’s such a shitty week for TV, but please read through below for a primer on what you’ll likely not bother with this week Read a book?

Returning shows: Finding Carter, My Little Pony, Brickleberry, and The Red Road.

The Ark
Airs: 30 March 2015 (BBC1 – UK)
What You Need To Know: A re-telling of the story of Noah’s ark. Yawn.

Weird Loners
Airs: 30 March 2015 (Fox – US)
What You Need To Know: Consider this sitcom DOA. It’s being buried at the end of the TV season by Fox. The writing was on the wall when they cast Nate Torrence and Becki Newton in the show – neither of whom have been able to carry a successful show to date. Michael J Weithorn (Ned & Stacey, King of Queens) is the shows creator.

Younger
Airs: 2 April 2015 (TV Land – US)
What You Need To Know: Bunheads star Sutton Foster stars as a 40 year-old woman returning to the workforce after time off to be a mother. Being TV, she finds employment by pretending to be a 26 year-old. Based off the first episode, this is an easy to watch, but largely hollow show with little to drive viewers back for a second look.

Olympus
Airs: 2 April 2015 (Syfy – US)
What You Need To Know: The official plot synopsis reads “The adventures story of how several brave men and women banished the Gods from Olympus, to the unconscious realm, a place dubbed as the Kingdom of Hades, or the underworld. A young man, Hero, attempts to find the truths of his past, which will inevitably link back to the Gods themselves”.

This is by the same ‘creative’ minds that brought us Syfy classics like Tinman, Alice, and Neverland. Over the past year Syfy have been trying to reclaim the premium brand they lost after jettisoning Battlestar Galactica in favour of low-rent productions like the Asylum direct to TV films (Sharknado and the like). Their big event shows Ascension and 12 Monkeys, combined with this just show how lacking in taste the network is. Echoes of premium television simply isn’t enough.

The ‘What To Watch’ list is a primer for shows that are debuting or have an episode of note. If you want more complete TV listing site, be sure to check out the Pogdesign Calendar. Please note that all dates cited below are in accordance with their local broadcast times.

Special thanks goes to Jen Knight for assisting in compiling the list.

[PODCAST] Televised Revolution – Netflix Has Landed [Episode 389]

On Tuesday this week Netflix launched and with it came the true establishment of streaming video in Australia as a viable alternative to Foxtel. With all the major players (Stan, Presto, and now Netflix) in place, Australians are now set to engage with TV wholly in a different manner than they had traditionally.

On Televised Revolution this week we discuss why the launch of Netflix has captivated Australia, what it represents to the local market, and initial thoughts on the local service.

In addition, the Televised Revolution panel discuss:

  • Foxtel unveil the IQ3
  • The X-Files are set to return. But should it?
  • And much more.

At Televised Revolution, we look forward to receiving your mail and check us out on the Twitter. You can also find the podcast on iTunes (please leave us a review, it helps people find the show).

Televised Revolution is available on:

iTunes | PocketCasts | Soundcloud | StitcherRSS

 

Netflix Launches. Provides Australians Choice.

Netflix has launched today. For many Australians, this will be the first time they’ve tried the service and after hearing so much about the service they have all sorts of questions about the Netflix experience. Televised Revolution have addressed some of the bigger questions previously, but if you have any you can’t find an answer to, be sure to leave them in the comments below and we’ll help where we can. Why Netflix has become such a magnet of attention can be attributed to the fact that this is a world-class service that’s launching in a market for which subscription video on demand (SVOD) is a relatively new thing. Prior to the launch of Stan in January, many people hadn’t tried an SVOD service. And once they had tried Stan, they naturally wanted a big service like Netflix to launch for a point of comparison.

The simple truth is that Netflix isn’t the end-all and be-all of your video entertainment needs. It is an additive service and just part of your content consumption. For a more fulsome experience, users really are better off subscribing to a couple of services at once. Each SVOD service have their own distinctive flavour and positioning within the market. Thankfully, these services are all quite cheap. One can easily subscribe to 2-3 services for approximately the same price as Foxtel’s entry level package.

As the launch of Netflix neared, it was interesting to watch competing services Stan and Presto promoting their value in the market. With this, their points of difference became blisteringly clear.

How does Netflix compare against Stan, Presto, and Quickflix and which of these services deserves your money?

Netflix
Netflix have earned a reputation for producing consistently high quality original series like House of Cards, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Orange Is The New Black. They will also have a number of new shows launching this year, including the dark and gritty Marvel superhero show Daredevil, and the Jane Fonda/Lily Tomlin comedy Grace & Frankie.

It launches into Australia with a tiered pricing structure, starting at $8.99 for standard definition and one device streaming at a time, up to $14.99 for up to four devices used at any given time with high definition available.

The big question is whether Netflix Australia be enough to convince the rumoured 200,000 Australians already subscribing to the US service to make the switch? In terms of the content offered, there’s nothing in the Australian store that is particularly compelling enough to trade away the 6000+ extra titles that are available in the US store. A deal with iiNet to provide download quota free streaming of the Australian service may be enough to convince subscribers with low download limits to make the switch.

At launch, the Australian Netflix library resembles the scale of other recent European libraries to launch, such as Germany and France. With over 1500 titles already available, Netflix will grow that library over the coming months.

Presto

The Presto service is actually two services that operate under the same brand. Presto Movies is owned wholly by Foxtel and offers a movie library that reflects the films currently available on Foxtel’s movie channels. Films recently added to the service include A Million Ways To Die In The West, Ducktales The Movie, Hunger, Legends of The Fall, and The Thin Red Line. The movies library costs $9.99 per month to access.

Presto TV is a joint venture between Foxtel and Seven West Media. The shows are a mix of Channel Seven programs like Always Greener, Packed To The Rafters, and City Homicide, along with Foxtel programs like Love My Way, Devil’s Playground, and Tangle. Added to the mix are some catalogue titles from the ABC and some older HBO shows like The Sopranos, Band of Brothers, and The Wire. Presto last week announced that Modern Family, The X-Files, and Buffy The Vampire Slayer would be added to the service. Presto TV costs $9.99 per month.

Despite having launched a year ago, Presto is only available on iPhone, iPad, and selected Android devices. The only platform it supports to watch content on your TV is Google’s Chromecast. Video content is only available in standard definition.

While the Presto movie library is actually quite good, with approximately 1500 films in the library, the TV selection is rather poor. As good as The Sopranos and The X-Files were, they’re not worth paying the $9.99 per month to access them. For $14.99, subscribers can bundle both services together, but considering the limitations on the quality of the video and the limited ability to watch it on an actual TV set, it’s difficult to make a case for subscribing to either the TV or Movie service.

A promotional email this week really highlighted Presto’s library selection of new movies and older TV shows.

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 11.01.30 amScreen Shot 2015-03-24 at 11.01.40 am

Quickflix

This embattled service launched into the streaming video market back in October 2011 and have failed to make much of an impression. Prior to launching their streaming service, Quickflix were a DVD rental by mail service – a service still in operation today. An entry price of $9.99 will provide subscribers with access to the streaming video library, with more expensive plans incorporating their DVD by mail service.

Quickflix’s movie library is about a third of Presto’s collection, but their movies and TV shows are available in high definition. The Quickflix app is available on most internet-enabled devices connected to your TV set (smart TV’s, video game consoles, etc) and it does support Chromecast. Much of Quickflix’s TV library is available on competing platforms.

In terms of ease of access of content, Quickflix is great. It’s available on almost any device you want to watch it on. Where Quickflix stumbles is in finding something to watch once you’ve subscribed. The movie selection is fine, but limited in volume.

Stan
At $10 per month, Stan offers the best and widest library of the home grown streaming services.

When it launched in late January, Stan had 320 TV series and 770 films in its library and has consistently added new content every week since. The jewel in the Stan crown is its deal with Sony, which has delivered marquee titles like Better Call Saul, Masters of Sex, Transparent, Mozart In The Jungle, and Community. The Stan film library is populated with well-known favourites, including every James Bond film. Stan also leans heavily on a deal with SBS to provide quite a number of films from their World Movies library.

Recent titles added to the service include Adventure Time, Utopia, In The Flesh, and Dig.

Stan provides its library in high definition and the service is available on iOS and Android tablets/phones. Stan supports Chromecast and Apple Airplay, but is yet to launch any apps for devices connected to the TV. Stan have been open in saying that apps are on their way and with the service operating for just two months, it’s reasonable that they’re not at that stage just yet. Netflix’s arrival and availability on every platform under the sun, however, should be motivation for Stan to get moving.

A recent Stan promotional email featured the below graphic highlighting the movies and TV shows available on the service this week. The grid built as a week is reminiscent of a TV schedule in a way, establishing Stan a little more like a TV network like service. It creates a sense of excitement around each day of potentially new content, which provides a strong contrast to Netflix’s more ad hoc approach to content releases. Stan feels like a less-ephemeral version of the US Hulu service, which positions it nicely in the local market.

Stan EDM

Stan EDM 2

* * * *

It is difficult for local providers to compete with Netflix. The company has money to spend as it makes a play to control viewing in every country across the globe, while also evolving its already sophisticated recommendation software and streaming technologies. But Netflix won’t provide you with enough to cover all of your viewing needs.

Viewers after a local option to pair with Netflix would be well advised to consider Stan. Still in its infancy, Stan has already established itself as a provider with a strong library of content with a quickly developing platform that will very soon be available on more devices.

Unless live sports is a consideration, the need for a traditional pay television subscription has been reduced dramatically. Australian viewers now have the ability to watch what they want to watch it when they want it. The likes of services dependent on linear broadcast like Foxtel have every right to be concerned.