The Australian streaming landscape has taken off in a big way over the last few years, which means Aussies now have more entertainment options than ever to choose from. These include the likes of Netflix, Disney Plus, Stan, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV Plus and Binge, all readily accessible on our TVs and streaming boxes.
While being spoilt for choice can often be considered a good thing, we imagine few people will be willing to subscribe and pay for every available service, leaving many of us to squeeze just one or two options into our monthly budgets.
Of course, figuring out which services deserve your hard-earned cash isn't as easy as it sounds, as each one offers a wide variety of TV shows and movies along with its own exclusives.
Additionally, each streaming service will have its own pricing structure, list of compatible devices, offline viewing features and available streaming qualities to consider.
To help you pick the right ones, we here at Tom's Guide have put together this in-depth guide detailing the best streaming services in Australia for 2022. Here, we'll give you a quick rundown of what each mainstream service has to offer, while also filling you in on what you need to know regarding pricing tiers, device compatibility and more.
Furthermore, we will also be putting together a list of Australia's best speciality streaming services, cataloguing subscription platforms focused on sports, reality TV, horror, British television and more. Keep an eye out for that one.
What are the best streaming services?
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Not long ago, the best streaming service in Australia overall was Netflix, but services like Disney Plus and Binge have quietly dethroned the king by maintaining a consistent level of quality when it comes to exclusive TV shows and movies.
Meanwhile, Netflix's decision to raise subscription prices while simultaneously cancelling several popular shows didn't win the service any fans. In fact, 2022 began with Netflix losing more subscribers than it gained.
As you'd expect, the Tom's Guide team spends a great deal of time streaming all of Australia's major services, watching movies and shows for ourselves in an effort to come with up with a definitive list. So without further ado, here's Tom's Guide's choices for the best streaming services in Australia for 2022.
The best streaming services now
When Disney Plus first arrived on the Australian streaming scene, it was considered the family-friendly alternative to Netflix. This was thanks to its enormous back catalogue of Disney animated and live-action classics, along with its position as the streaming home of Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars.
That's all well and good for households with children but, sooner or later, adults were going to need something more stimulating. Thankfully, Disney figured this out early, eventually doubling the service's content library with the inclusion of Star — a Disney Plus sub-label that offers more grown-up fare, meaning mum and dad can watch the likes of Pam & Tommy, The Bear and Deadpool once the kids have gone to bed.
While the addition of Star did bring a slight (and entirely mandatory) price hike along with it, the amount of additional content did make the extra cost easy to justify. That said, Disney Plus has raised its price yet again, this time without any noticeable benefit to subscribers.
That said, even at the newest price of AU$13.99 per month, Disney Plus is still the best streaming service in Australia when it comes to quality over quantity. And when you consider that Disney doesn't charge extra for 4K and simultaneous streams, that price point seems even more reasonable.
In terms of exclusive content, Disney Plus is on an incredible winning streak of late, delivering one major blockbuster after another — on the TV front, Andor was the service's most critically-acclaimed Star Wars show to date, and its new series Ahsoka is gearing up to be excellent, too.
Thanks to its affordable price point and steady stream of huge releases, Disney Plus is one of the few services we're happy to stay subscribed to full time.
Read our full Disney Plus review.
Although HBO Max isn't officially available Down Under, we do have the next best thing in Binge — an Australian streaming service that comes to us from Streamotion, a part of the Foxtel group. Yes, that does mean you can stream many of the same shows and movies that are available on Foxtel at a far more appealing price point.
Without question, Binge's main draw is its licensing deal with HBO, giving Aussies fast-tracked access to the US TV giant's biggest shows, including House of the Dragon, Succession, The White Lotus, Euphoria, Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty, Westworld, Barry... and the list goes on.
That also means you have a huge back catalogue of classic HBO shows at your fingertips, like The Wire, The Sopranos, Game of Thrones, Sex and the City, and... you get the idea.
Of course, there's more to Binge than HBO — it also offers a huge selection of recent and classic movies, and all the reality and true crime content you would expect from a Foxtel-adjacent product, and you also get access to several live Foxtel channels.
And while Binge has been slow off the mark with regards to expanding its device compatibility, we're happy to report that the service has finally added support for Xbox One S/X and Xbox Series S/X consoles — and only two and a half years after launch!
While much of its content is also available on the Foxtel Now streaming service, Binge is way, way cheaper: after a two-week free trial, prices start at just AU$10 per month for a single SD stream, going up to AU$16 a month for two HD streams and AU$18 per month for four HD streams. Sure, we wish Binge would offer 4K streams like its US equivalent, but for now, it's easily the best (and easiest) way for Aussies to watch HBO content.
With its steady stream of HBO Originals and large movie selection, we think Binge is worth keeping all year round.
Read our sister site TechRadar's Binge review
Not long ago, it would have been unthinkable for Netflix to take anything other than the top spot in this roundup, but things have changed in the last few years. Covid had a significant impact on the streaming pioneer's output, and overall quality of its content has suffered in the process.
Add to this some fierce competition from the likes of Disney and HBO, regular price hikes, and Netflix's propensity for cancelling every show you get attached to, and its no wonder subcribers are starting to leave in droves.
That said, Netflix still has by far the biggest selection of exclusive TV shows and movies of any streaming service out there, and the technical quality of its platform is unmatched, offering flawless 4K streams, snappy navigation and unmatched device compatability.
While some of us have cancelled our Netflix accounts (only to come back), the big list of the best Netflix shows is long enough to keep some hanging on. Shows like Stranger Things 4, The Sandman and Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story have proven to be some of Netflix's biggest recent hits, however its movie content has been far less impressive of late. Netflix's recent movie contributions seem to range from algorithm-driven Kevin Hart misfires like Me Time, to wildly expensive yet entirely soulless actioners like The Gray Man. That said, Extraction 2 was well-received, and recent titles like They Cloned Tyrone have given the service a much-needed quality boost.
If you can get past Netflix's costly pricing tiers (prices start at AU$10.99 for one standard definition stream, all the way to AU$22.99 for four 4K streams), the service is still worthwhile for its enormous number of exclusives and for the overall quality of its service which, as we've already mentioned, is unmatched.
Given its higher than average cost and diminishing content quality, we think its fair to wait for truly unmissable shows and movies in order to reactivate your subscription.
Read our full Netflix review
Stan was Australia's first major Netflix competitor, and it came out of the gate with a bang thanks to it counting the Breaking Bad spin-off series, Better Call Saul, as an exclusive. Of course, that brilliant series came to a close this year, and it has forced us to take a look at Stan's other streaming exclusives to see which ones can be considered must-see TV.
At the top of that list would be Yellowstone, the smash-hit American western series that pits Kevin Costner and his family against encroaching forces who seek to not only destroy his cowboy way of life, but also take his unblemished land and put up condominiums, resorts and airports.
For reality TV fans, RuPaul's Drag Race could also be considered appointment TV, and Stan has around 18 other Drag Race spin-offs on offer for those who can't get enough glam.
Aside from those, and a smattering of Australian-produced Stan Originals, much of Stan's exclusive content can be described as B-tier — and that's not necessarily a bad thing! It just means that while there's a huge selection of quality shows on offer, there's not a lot that would be considered 'zeitgeist' television. Showtime and Starz are good, but they aren't HBO.
On the other hand, Stan's movie library is quite excellent, with a large number of new and classic films available to stream, and there's a growing selection of well-received, Stan-produced features on offer, such as Nitram, Gold and The True Story of the Kelly Gang.
In terms of pricing, Stan is up there with Netflix, which we suppose is fair enough considering it does offer 4K HDR content. Pricing starts at AU$10 per month for a one SD stream, followed by AU$14 per month for two HD streams, and then AU$19 per month for four 4K streams.
On top of this, Stan now offers a separate AU$10 sports package for live (and catchup) sports coverage, which includes rugby, tennis, motorsports, cycling and more.
Lots of great content to stream, but unless you're a RuPaul megafan, you should probably consider just reactivating your account for fast-tracked, must-watch shows as they air.
Read our sister site TechRadar's Stan review
For those who do most of their shopping online, Amazon Prime is a no-brainer. On top of the many perks you receive with an Amazon Prime subscription, including access to Amazon Music, Prime Reading, Prime Gaming and one-day domestic delivery services for just AU$6.99 per month, you also get access to Amazon Prime Video, a streaming service that provides a wide variety of TV shows and movies to stream.
The best Amazon shows range from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and The Man in the High Castle, to Reacher and The Boys, and now the service has produced by far its biggest series to date with The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
Recent Amazon Original movies like Thirteen Lives, Samaritan, The Wheel of Time and The Voyeurs also fill out Prime Video's content offerings.
Additionally, Amazon boasts a massive and continually changing library of films to stream, including many older titles and VHS-era favourites, with more B-grade horror, action and thriller movies than any one person could ever conceivably watch.
And, on top of its own content, the Amazon Prime Video app now allows you to sign up to smaller outside streaming services, such as Paramount Plus, Shudder, AMC+ and more — simply add your desired service as an additional charge to your Amazon subscription and start streaming. It's a great alternative to downloading numerous other apps and setting up separate accounts and logins for each.
Worth staying subscribed to for movie buffs for its huge back catalog, but if it's new shows you're after we'd just dip in and out a few times a year.
Read our full Prime Video review
At first, Apple seemed crazy for getting into the content creation game, but then the Cupertino company proved everyone wrong by delivering a string of award-winners and hit shows.
Aside from Ted Lasso, the service's breakout feel-good success, Apple has been knocking it out of the park with quality shows like Silo, Severance, Mythic Quest, For All Mankind and The Morning Show, and has even delivered its very own mega-budget space opera in Foundation.
Apple TV Plus even took home the best picture Oscar for CODA, proving the service is more than just a home for Ted Lasso. Need more proof? Check out our list of the best Apple TV Plus shows and movies. It's serving up programming that continues to surprise and charm, while competitors like Netflix feel routine and boring by comparison.
Ultimately though, its content library isn't very deep — you won't find back catalogue favourites here, because Apple would rather sell them to you on iTunes. Instead, you get a focused offering of high-quality Originals, and we think that will probably be worth the service's monthly fee.
It's worth mentioning that Apple TV Plus has raised its subscription price in Australia from AU$7.99 per month to AU$9.99 per month. Not a huge jump, but when you consider the relatively small number of TV shows and movies on offer, and the complete lack of licensed content, it does sting a little.
Admittedly, Apple needs to pick up its game when comes to device support, especially for Android phones and tablets. Some say this is a strategic move on Apple's part to force more people to buy Apple TV 4K streaming boxes, and it's hard to argue with that, especially since it actively removed its app from the Android TV platform for seemingly no reason.
Thankfully, Apple TV Plus has recently arrived on PlayStation and Xbox consoles – and PS5 owners can even claim six months of the service after downloading the app to the new console, which is an extremely attractive incentive to try the service out.
Apple TV Plus is affordable enough to stay subscribed year round, however, some people may want to reactivate solely for new Ted Lasso seasons.
Check out our full Apple TV Plus review
Has Paramount Plus stealthily become one of the better streaming services over the last year? When Paramount Plus first launched in Australia, it had a pretty weak selection of exclusives and originals, making it tough to recommend.
That said, with the addition of several high-profile releases, such as the new Taylor Sheridan-penned action series Special Ops: Lioness, which stars Zoe Saldaña and Nicole Kidman, and Sylvester Stallone's excellent show Tulsa King, also from Sheridan (and the makers of The Sopranos), Paramount Plus has quietly become a formidable service.
Speaking of the TV juggernaut known as Taylor Sheridan, Paramount Plus is also the home of the writer's two Yellowstone prequels, 1883 and 1923, as well as the Jeremy Renner-starring drama Mayor of Kingstown.
You also have the live-action Halo TV series, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, and the Beavis and Butt-Head revival series ready to stream.
That said, it still lags behind its US equivalent, in that the Aussie version has a smaller back catalogue, and doesn't offer 4K streaming — something that would have made the sci-fi epic Halo more of an event.
We also don't get big Paramount films arriving on the service within 30-45 days of their theatrical release like they do in the US, which is disappointing. Of course, the Aussie version of Paramount Plus is cheaper than it is in the US, priced at only AU$8.99 per month or AU$89.99 per year.
On top of its original shows, Paramount Plus offers a fairly good selection of on-demand movies and shows from Viacom’s various holdings, which includes the likes of Showtime, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and the Smithsonian Channel.
While it took a little while for Paramount Plus to find its way, we're happy to see it finally living up to its promise. Hopefully, Aussies will get a more full-featured version of the service in the future.
There are some great original shows on Paramount Plus, making it easier to recommend as a secondary streaming service.
Read our sister site TechRadar's Paramount Plus review
For years, access to Foxtel required users to sign up for a traditional pay TV subscription — that meant getting technicians over to install a box in your living room, usually involving cabling and other hassles.
Foxtel Now's biggest draw is that it allows users to get the full Foxtel experience without having to sign up for a traditional pay TV subscription. No longer would you have to bring technicians into your home to install a box under your telly with a bunch of additional cables.
Instead, you could simply stream Foxtel directly to your smart TV (if compatible) or to one of your existing devices.
Sounds easier, right? Well, it is, but it's also very expensive, because Foxel Now splits its content into several different packages, all of which (outside of the mandatory Essentials base package, which costs AU$25 per month) come with an additional cost. That means it can cost up to AU$104 per month to get everything that Foxtel Now has to offer.
If you're a sports nut, that might be worth it, but since the arrival of the Binge streaming service, which has much of the same non-sporting content (including all of its HBO shows), it's become much harder to justify Foxtel Now's high pricing. That said, you could sign up for Foxtel Now's free 10-day trial to see for yourself.
Unless you're a sports fanatic, you're better off signing up for Binge — it's much more affordable and also offers a more streamlined experience.
Read our sister site TechRadar's Foxtel Now review