Netflix

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Updated: Google’s Chromecast Ultra will be releasing in November, adding one more compatible device that will allow users to watch Netflix in 4K – original review below.

Netflix, the undisputed streaming king, has joined local services Stan, Presto and Quickflix in providing Australians with the future of entertainment consumption, and now we’re ready to see how it stacks up to the competition.

Now that Netflix Australia is here, there’s one question on everyone’s lips: how does it stack up to the US version of the service?

Cheapest stream around

Netflix Australia starts from $8.99 per month for the entry-level, single-stream standard definition package, all the way up to $14.99 for the deluxe, 4K quality, four-stream package.

While not everyone is going to be able to take advantage of 4K streaming quality, either due to the resolution capabilities of their TV set, or the bandwidth quality that’s available to them, the package is unquestionably great value.

If you’re worried about the kind of stream quality you’re going to get from the service, never fear: you can try Netflix out with an obligation-free 30 day trial period.

While we can’t really recommend the standard definition package to anyone who can help it, it is a nice option for those with poor-quality internet connections.

Netflix

Most people will want to opt for the middle range package, giving customers access to two simultaneous streams of 1080p content for $11.99 a month.

We have to applaud Netflix for keeping its pricing in line with its other territories, however, the implementation of a ‘Netflix Tax’ by the Federal Government will see those prices rise in the near future, as Netflix will have to charge a 10 per cent Goods and Services Tax.

Please note, If you plan to stream Netflix on an Xbox 360 or Xbox One, you’ll need to have an Xbox Live account. That isn’t a Netflix thing; it’s a Microsoft thing, and it applies to Netflix’s rivals, too.

There’s also an added bonus for Optus and iiNet customers – Netflix usage is completely unmetered for those internet service providers.

Compatible devices

Though its competitors are slowly improving in terms of device compatibility, Netflix remains king, playable on just about everything.

Like Stan and Presto, Netflix can be viewed with the use of a Google Chromecast, Apple TV, iOS device, Android device, PC, Sony’ PS4 and PS3 consoles, and a range of Smart TVs. Unlike those services, you can also watch Netflix on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Xbox One, Nintendo’s Wii U. It can also be watched on a range of set-top boxes and media players like Roku player and Fetch TV.

Though Netflix was previously viewable on WD TV Live media player devices, that functionality has since been patched out, with Western Digital choosing to focus on what it’s good at – streaming content from your computer to your TV.

Speaking of Roku, Netflix is now also available on the Roku 2-powered Telstra TV streaming box, which. along with the PlayStation 3 and 4, can provide access to all three of Australia’s major SVOD services.

It should be noted that not all devices can stream Netflix in 4K. This functionality depends on your 4K smart TV has an in-built Netflix app, or if you’ve got 4K-ready device, like the Xbox One S, an Ultra HD Blu-ray player, or the Fetch TV Mighty.

Setting up Netflix

Getting Netflix up and running is remarkably straightforward, and should be easy enough for even your tech-illiterate mum and dad to set up without any problems – simply create an account and use your login details to sign in to any of the devices listed above.

The signup process involves the usual entering of your details, moving on to choosing one of the three packages Netflix offers.

Because Netflix prides itself on its recommendation algorithm, you will be asked to pick three shows or films that you’d like to watch or know that you enjoy from a range of options.

Choose carefully, because these choices will form the foundation of your Netflix recommendations experiences for the foreseeable future.

Netflix

While Netflix will continually tailor its recommendations for you based on what you actually watch, your initial choices will still be used to recommend you stuff years later.

Once you’ve created a profile, you can start adding shows and films to your Netflix ‘My List’.

You can make multiple profiles, of course, so everyone in your household can get a personalised set of recommendations and keep their own queue of shows.

There’s even a ready-made profile exclusively for kids, with all the inappropriate stuff filtered out.

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The Netflix user experience

Those who’ve used an overseas Netflix service before can rest assured that Netflix Australia’s interface is completely identical (aside from its content selection).

Those who are using Netflix for the first time shouldn’t have any trouble navigating its user-friendly interface, which separates Netflix’s content into a number of different genres and categories that you can swipe through to see what’s on offer.

The shows and movies you’ve watched most recently are at the top of your Netflix screen, allowing you to jump right back in and continue watching, and following right after is the ‘My List’ category, giving you easy access to all of the shows you’ve queued up for later perusal.

From here, you’ll get categories that show you what’s currently popular on Netflix, the service’s ‘Top Picks’ for you, and a stack of other genres that become more specific to your interests as you continue to watch different kinds of programmes and movies.

It should be noted that Netflix on Apple TV has its own method of presenting its content library that’s more in line with the device’s overall UI, with genres clearly listed on the right and movie poster art that you can scroll through on the left.

Netflix

Admittedly, it can be annoying to have to scroll through several layers of categories to get to the sections you actually want to browse.

Rather than show you everything the service has, Netflix would rather maintain a level or mystery surrounding the size of its library, opting instead to give you a taste of what it has, and then keep springing new suggestions on you based on what you watch.

Thankfully, it’s been revealed that you can now unlock a huge number of oddly specific categories on the web version of Netflix by adding a numerical code to the end of a certain URL. The trick gives you access to such genres as ‘Understated Movies based on real life’ and ‘Gory Italian Movies from the 1980s.

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The constantly shifting nature of Netflix’s suggestions gives the service the illusion of having more content than it actually does – it’s like this in every territory.

Hop into a programme and either choose a specific episode from a specific season or continue from where you were last at – Netflix will always remember your spot.

Netflix

Unlike Stan, Netflix gives you subtitle options on pretty much every single show in its range, as well as different language tracks where available – this is a huge win for the hearing impaired and those with a language barrier.

When it comes to actually watching content however, Netflix completely outclasses its competitors.

Even on a moderate broadband connection, our streams began almost immediately after hitting the play button – we only ever experienced two or three seconds of loading before the start of a show, and within ten seconds of it starting, Netflix’s variable bit rate had already cleared the image up into a pristine, high-definition presentation.

That variable bit rate is the truly what makes Netflix so special, allowing the quality of your stream to seamlessly go up and down depending on your connection, rather than stopping your show dead in its tracks in order to buffer.

While Netflix has been adamantly against the idea of downloadable videos in the past, it might introduce offline viewing after all – the streaming giant has even hinted that offline viewing may be coming to Netflix ‘by the end of the year’

While watching Netflix through a VPN and Smart DNS has always been a fast and smooth experience, local Netflix feels even faster and smoother.

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Are you content with its content?

By now you’ve heard all about how Netflix’s content library doesn’t quite have the breadth of its US counterpart.

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It’s true that as of launch, our Netflix has roughly an eighth of the content of the US service. This will surely bother people who’ve been experiencing US Netflix through a VPN or Smart DNS service, but for those jumping on board now, Netflix Australia still has a better variety of content than its local competitors.

Still, those who have been watching US Netflix may not be able to for much longer – it’s been announced that the service is cracking down on proxies now that it’s launched in almost every country.

Browsing its content offerings, it becomes evident that Netflix is running fairly light on content, especially as you scroll through each category and notice that each one ends prematurely. However, this is offset by the fact that the quality of stuff on offer is genuinely high.

In terms of local content, Stan definitely has Netflix beat, with a hefty range of Australian shows and movies on offer due to the service’s Channel Nine, ABC and SBS content deals, which provides Stan’s customers Aussie classics like Underbelly and Rake.

However, there’s still a nice selection of Aussie shows and films to choose from, as well as a range of stand up comedy specials from local comedians like Kitty Flanagan, Jimeoin and the Umbilical Brothers.

Documentaries are plentiful though, and there’s a good range of overseas TV shows to choose from – we’ve even put together a list of the 25 best Netflix shows streaming right now in Australia.

Netflix

While there’s still room to grow in terms of Netflix movie selection, that’s not to say that it’s lacking – you will find that many of the biggest blockbusters of the last few years are ready to stream, including a large range of Disney films and superhero movies.

There’s also a nice selection of back catalogue films available – while the U.S. version of Netflix has more films on offer, the quality of the movies available on the Australian version is generally higher, with familiar studio movies taking up more of Netflix’s virtual shelf space.

Still, there’s no denying that Netflix Australia’s content offering is small compared to what’s available on the US version, though you can rest assured that its content library will continue to grow over time.

Regardless, Netflix’s subscription price is worth it for its original content alone – instant access to entire seasons of brilliant Netflix Originals like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Marco Polo, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, BoJack Horseman, Marvel’s Daredevil, Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Bloodline, Narcos and many others make joining the service a no-brainer.

Netflix’s collection of original movies also continues to grow, with the likes of Beasts of No Nation, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny, The Ridiculous 6 and Special Correspondents providing something for the whole family.

Verdict

After anticipating the arrival of Netflix to our shores for what feels like an eternity, the service has managed to deliver the flawless streaming experience we’ve all heard about for so long.

Where it falls down in terms of its content selection, it makes up for in terms of speed and the quality of its streaming.

While other streaming services are still trying to find their footing, Netflix Australia delivers a perfected streaming experience right out of the gate – we’ve not encountered a single error or buffering problem in any of our tests, and streams always began immediately and cleared up into full HD in a matter of seconds.

We liked
Netflix Australia’s user experience is identical to that of its overseas counterparts, so if you’ve already been experiencing the service through a VPN or Smart DNS service, you’ll feel right at home.

While we’ve never had a problem watching an overseas version of Netflix, the local version of the service is even faster and smoother, delivering high definition quality in a matter of seconds.

Our time with the local version Netflix has been completely free of bugs or buffering problems, as the service has had plenty of time to mature and iron out any problems before reaching our shores.

This might be a matter of taste, but the service’s range of Netflix Originals are fantastic, even rivalling the best shows that HBO has to offer in terms of quality, and in a delivery format that is unmatched in the television industry.

Best of all, we love that we can watch Netflix on a large variety of devices, without having to be tied down limited number of devices.

We disliked
There’s no denying that Netflix Australia’s content line-up is well behind the US version in terms of sheer quantity, so we hope that its library continues to grow with time.

We also wish we could see everything Netflix has to offer in each of its genres, without having to take wild guesses in its search bar to see if the service has a particular show or movie.

Final Verdict
When we first published our Stan review, we claimed that it was the best streaming service that Australians had to date.

Well, consider that statement redacted – Netflix has taken Stan’s crown as the best streaming service in Australia.

Featuring flawless, fast streams in high quality and without any buffering problems or errors to speak of, Netflix delivers the gold standard when it comes to its streaming experience.

While its content library is undeniably lacking compared to its US version, the Australian version is still in line with what its local competitors are offering.

We believe that Netflix Australia’s content selection will only continue to grow in time, and even with its current content line-up, its range of excellent Netflix Originals shows makes signing up an absolute no-brainer.

Netflix

Source: feedproxy.google.com

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12 thoughts on “Netflix

  1. 5 star? I got rid of my US Netflix as it had literally 3 blockbuster movies every 6 months. Waste of time. Back to torrents and NAS!

  2. At least your only form of entertainment isn’t rolling a rock around your 2×4 grass hut shared with your 6 brothers and sisters in Uganda

  3. One point so many of you journalist-type reviewers continually miss pointing out (but which most whirlpool forum and other forum posters seem to catch on to very quickly) is that the quality of your netflix stream does not depend solely on your internet service.\nFor some reason, Netflix has seen fit not to allow HD (1920×1080) to stream from all devices, and it most certainly does not allow a 5.1 surround sound experience from many providers at all.\nI believe there is not a single android device sold in this country which gives you a netflix experience with 5.1 surround sound.\nThe priveliged devices come from the companies with the big clout, either financially, or because of connections in the industry, namely Apple with their AppleTV; Sony Playstations 3 or 4 (is this because of Sony’s clout in the movie industry?), Microsoft Xbox, and PCs, provided they are running Windows 8 (is Netflix in league with Microsoft to help them get the pc community to update their Microsoft WIndows version ??)\nOtherwise, be prepared to only get a stereo sound track

  4. ill be honest im not really that happy yes beautiful streams and shits all over Australian made crap like wannbe presto and prob stan aswell but lack of content and this hidden rubbish is annoying..on a smart tv the app shows 75 titles and 40 for some genres..but comeon they should just show at least half of what the American one shows..theyown the rights even presto shows some shows that Netflix shows?? remember kids anything Australian made is going to rubbish.we saw that bogan holden dying and moving to china haha and same for stan, just plain rubbish same goes for sport AFL that even a sport..anyone internationally know the name because its a pathetic piece of crap that farmers union ice coffee and ice addicts only follow..same ghoes for presto and stan, Australia is never original has to copy everyone else.

  5. Agree on the surround sound. Tried it out today with a Chromecast on iiNET and only got stereo. Streamed OK but what’s the story re 5.1 sound, or lack of it?\n

  6. The Netflix productions are very good. The choice is so mean\nand terrible. The Yankee old movies predominate and the English ones are C\ngrade or worse. The turn up of new is a mere dribble. When you think of the\nhuge number of excellent movies made, there are not many hosted on Netflix. If\nit was an antique shop, then all you would see is bric a brac and an occasional\ntreasure.

  7. They don’t tell you in advance that they’re flogging visually distorted and pixelated crap on Netflix which, of course, you’re paying for. (Try watching Episode 3 in Season 1 of The Paradise – and good luck with that).\n\nThen they have the gall to refuse to make available an email contact where customers can lodge complaints against their dodgy, overpriced joke of a ‘service’ – the only options available (provided you can even find them) are to phone them, or use their online chat. \n\nAll well and good when you have the time to sit in queues. I don’t want queues and I don’t want slick, oily excuses; I want to be able to email my complaint where I’m able to express my concerns without being forced into a little timed box. How dare they hold the very people they’re stealing money from at arm’s length and attempt to make themselves ‘untouchable’.\n\nNo. We demand an email contact for Netflix. They’ve been greedy and obnoxious with Australians quite enough – they owe us at least the decency of an email address where we can voice our complaints – and they deserve our wrath over substandard content that’s not even watchable.\n\nPerhaps we should take it up with the relevant Ombudsman and see if they can’t do something about this arrogant business.

  8. I accept that Netflix in Australia can’t be held entirely to blame for the paucity of content compared to the US service, given restrictions imposed by content providers. What I can’t accept is that Netflix does not even give us the same range of ‘Netflix Originals’ that is available in the US. For instance, where is the excellent

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