I had to write this for a friend, so I thought I’d share it here.
Disclosure: My current setup is FetchTV, ChromeTV, Stan, Foxtel Go on the xbox. (When I write them all down it seems insane)
1. All of them are meant to be legal alternatives to downloading tv shows and movies. This means you’ll be using your internet monthly quota to watch these shows. If you don’t have unlimited monthly downloads, you’ll have to choose a product that doesn’t count towards your monthly downloads, otherwise it will cost you a bucket.
2. Most of them offer the ability to watch tv/movies on demand on your handheld device (i.e phone/tablet). If you want to watch it from your TV, you’ll either need a smart tv or another device plugged in to it like AppleTV, chromecast, WD TV Live or FetchTV. On demand still is limited to what the companies offer, but allows you to do binge watching like every Breaking Bad episode.
3. What are these Stan, Netflix, Spotify things?
a) Stan – an aussie company that has had a huge launch. It’s an app you install on your phone/tablet or a website you visit. Once you pay your $10 a month you can log in and watch all the shows/movies they offer, as long as you are connected to the internet. It streams over the internet, so the minute you don’t have it is the minute it stops playing (like youtube). They don’t have a non phone/tablet app for it, which means you can’t install it on devices like Apple TV, WD TV Live or Fetch. Which means you can’t watch it on a big tv unless you install a chrome cast or plug your computer in to the tv. I’ve trialled it and like it a lot, but it does annoy me that I have to have my phone and the chromecast to watch it on a big screen. The plus is that you can connect about 6 devices to your one $10 login, so the whole family can watch different things at once (if your internet can handle it). They have a lot of new american shows like transparent, but also aussie ones like Underbelly. It’s all on demand, so you watch it when you want to watch it.
b) Netflix – a big american company that are about to launch an Australian version. It’s has all the features of stan, but also apps that can be installed on devices like Apple TV and WD TV Live. Unsure of the price and content yet. Like Stan you need to be on the internet to use it.
c) Foxtel Go – Can be installed on you phone/tablet, xbox or playstation. Allows you to watch foxtel over the internet without cable, but you can’t record things and you are limited to what they offer for on demand. Foxtel has been the leader for content for many years, but is currently still the most expensive and least flexible.
d) Presto – I don’t know much about this one, other than it has been around in Australia longer than Stan or Netflix but doesn’t seem to have as much advertising budget or momentum.
e) Spotify – $11 a month gets you every song in the world except for Taylor Swifts (slight exaggeration). It’s only music, but you can install it on about 3 devices, plus choose some to download locally for offline playing when reception is poor. You can get it for free, but then there is no offline mode and you have to listen to ads. It doesn’t have anything to do with TV and movies, I just threw it in cause I like it. 🙂
4. What the hell is an AppleTV, Chromecast, WD TV Live, Fetch TV, Foxtel IQ or Smart TV:
a) AppleTV – Plugs in to the tv via HDMI, will play all the purchases you have made in iTunes including movies, tvs and music. Is only really useful if you hack it. On the hacked version you can put apps, but to make it truly useful it is fiddly, so I wouldn’t recommend it these days unless you want a new hobby. I had one, I liked it, but it turned out to be too painful.
b) Chromecast – is a dumb device that connects to the tv via HDMI and your wifi network. That’s it. All it’s smarts come from your phone/tablet/computer. Basically you can cast your videos, music and computer screen from phone/tablet/computer to a big TV screen via wifi. You don’t really install anything on it. That is both it’s advantage and disadvantage. It’s only $48 as well. (I own one just to play with it)
c) WD TV Live – a device that plugs in to the tv via HDMI, but also connects to the net via wifi or ethernet (blue cable). It allows you to play content that you have downloaded, but also allows you to install apps like Netflix and Spotify (which I’ll get to later). It doesn’t do free to air (i.e. old school tv antenna), so you’ll still need to manage that. I
d) Fetch TV – It’s kind of a combo box. It plugs in via HDMI to the tv, but also needs an internet connection via ethernet (blue cable). The combo box means it replaces your vcr/pvr by recording to free to air. BUT, it also has a bunch of tv channels similar to foxtel that are provided by internet that you can also schedule to record. In addition, it also has the ability for apps to be installed, like jumpin, 7Plus and SBS OnDemand. There are no current plans for Stan or Netflix apps to be installed, but the CEO has stated that he would be happy to have them on there. You can either buy it outright or get it attached to an internet provider plan like optus or internode in a subscription model. It’s generally about $20 a month
e) Foxtel IQ – you should know what this is already. Just know that it doesn’t allow you to install apps at this point
e) Smart TV – A normal tv that allows you to install apps like 7Plus, 10Play, Netflix, Spotify, so no need for any external device.
Hope this clears it up for you?