Netflix launches in Australia on March 24. With 200,000+ Australians already subscribed to the international service and countless articles on the service written, most people already have a good idea of what the service is and how it works. But, some people will still have questions.
What follows is a helpful list of answers to 8 of the bigger questions surrounding the service:
What Is Netflix?
Netflix is a US company that offers video content streamed online. They started out as an online DVD rental service which would send you rented DVD discs by the mail. Their service evolved to stream movies and TV shows through their website.
For a monthly subscription fee, viewers can watch all the movies and TV shows they want without paying anything extra.
For Australians familiar with the ABC video service iView, it’s similar to that, only with a monthly charge.
How Do I Even Access Netflix?
First, you need to sign up to the service. From 24 March you will be able to go to www.netflix.com and sign up with an Australian credit/debit card. If you don’t have a credit/debit card, or you don’t like paying for things that way, you will be able to buy gift cards from some supermarkets and the post office.
Once you create your account and log into the site, you can stream all the movies, TV shows, documentaries, etc you want through the website.
You can also download the Netflix app from the iTunes store so you can watch Netflix content on your iPhone and iPad, or download the app for your Android or Windows Phone devices.
Netflix can also be watched on most smart TV’s (ie TV’s connected to the Internet), video game consoles, and selected Internet capable devices like DVD Players.
Will Netflix use up my home Internet/mobile phone data?
Be very careful you know what you are entitled to with your home Internet or mobile phone plan. Watching shows on Netflix will use up a lot of data. Users in Australia who are internet customers with iiNet or Optus will be able to watch Netflix content without it contributing to their download limits. So, if you plan on using Netflix a lot, you might be well off considering a plan from them.
Netflix users can change the video quality they receive, so if you are data conscious, you are best setting your account accordingly. If data isn’t a problem, I’d strongly suggest choosing high or auto – the picture quality can be outstanding.
- Low (0.3 GB per hour)
- Medium (SD: 0.7 GB per hour)
- High (best video quality, up to 3 GB per hour for HD, 7 GB per hour for Ultra HD)
- Auto (adjusts automatically to deliver the highest possible quality, based on your current internet connection speed)
Netflix will chew through mobile data limits very quickly. Televised Revolution strongly recommends only watching Netflix when connected to your home Internet network.
I’ve heard it won’t be as good as Netflix in the US?
Really, define “good”. At launch in Australia, Netflix’s library will be very small. But over the course of the first year, you should start to see the service offer more and more TV shows and movies. The US library is the biggest Netflix library in the world, but bigger isn’t necessarily always better. Depending on your personal tastes, some of the smaller libraries actually offer better viewing options.
For example, the Canadian library is smaller than the US library, but due to licensing agreements, the Canadian library often has access to some great movies and TV shows that aren’t on offer in the US. Brazil’s library sometimes has a much better selection of action and adventure films than anywhere else. Netflix France is amazing if you want access to some great independent and foreign films.
For those familiar with the US service, day one of Netflix in Australia will likely be disappointing. For those who haven’t experienced Netflix hands-on before, users should find it will be worth the subscription price.
The matter of how good it is will ultimately be a matter of personal taste.
Which Shows/Movies Are Only On Netflix?
Each of the streaming services sign deals to access content. Some of these deals are for exclusive access, while others are open to competitors also buying the rights. This is why you will see some shows and movies available across all the services.
Netflix have been smart in producing a lot of content that is exclusive to Netflix. These ‘Netflix Originals’ include high profile shows like House of Cards, Orange Is The New Black, Bojack Horseman (named as Televised Revolution’s best show of 2014), Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Hemlock Grove, and Marco Polo. Netflix also produce a number of kids shows that are also exclusive to Netflix, which include: The Adventures of Puss In Boots, Turbo FAST, Richie Rich, VeggieTales In The House, and All Hail King Julien.
Netflix are increasing the number of new shows they create every year, with quite a number of other new shows launching throughout 2015. These include Bloodline (Which will launch internationally just three days before the Australian Netflix launch), Daredevil (April), Grace and Frankie (May), Sense8 (June), and Wet Hot American Summer (July). Netflix also produce a wide number of documentaries and comedy specials.
With Netflix launching in Australia a couple of years after the series launch, the rights to show Orange Is The New Black in Australia currently rest with Foxtel, meaning that show is not likely be available on Netflix Australia at launch (but Televised Revolution is hoping to be happily surprised).
How Will Netflix Compare With Other Streaming Services in Australia?
No streaming video service offers everything. Foxtel’s service Presto consistently offers the best range of recent Hollywood films, but has a lousy TV library. Stan, meanwhile, has a fairly good spread of TV shows with a decent film library that also includes a lot of really good foreign films. We’re yet to see what Netflix offer in terms of their library in full beyond a few pre-announced titles (Frozen, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, among others).
In terms of cost, it’s expected Netflix will cost somewhere between the $10 price of Stan, or the $14.99 price of Presto.
Where Netflix has the upper hand is that it will be available on almost every device imaginable. If it has a screen that handles video and connects to the Internet, there’s a strong likelihood it’ll support Netflix.
In the US, Netflix itself isn’t enough to cover your entire entertainment needs. To get a good range of content, users are best off adding an extra service or two. Netflix, combined with Hulu and/or Amazon Instant Video makes for a great content offering.
Similarly, in Australia Netflix combined with Stan should take care of a lot of casual viewing needs.
What Happens if I’m Using a DNS Service?
Well, nothing different. If you are using a DNS service to access Netflix in the US at the moment, that will continue.
If you do want to access the Australian Netflix, this will really depend on how you are accessing Netflix already
To access Netflix Australia:
Getflix users will need to log into their account, then select the ‘Regions’ option in the menu and select Australia.
Unblock US users, once logged in, need to visit the Unblock US website and just select Australia from the pull-down menu on the bottom right-hand side of the page.
Keep in mind that the Australian Netflix service ONLY is data limit-free, so there’s certainly considerable value in using the Australian service instead of other foreign services.
Why Doesn’t Netflix Have Sports?
It’s not that sort of service. Think of Netflix as an online version of a video store. It’s on-demand, general entertainment viewing. It’s not the destination you go to for sports in the same way that you won’t find a music video chart show, CNN-style live breaking news, or a David Letterman-style chat show.
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Got any pressing Netflix questions? Let us know in the comments below.