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Netflix review: Still one of the best
With killer original content and an exceptional UI, Netflix is still the market leader.
The best evidence for the quality of Netflix Australia is just how ubiquitous it has become in a relatively short period of time. Over 14 million Australians have access to a Netflix account, and it’s so popular and normalised that we hardly notice it anymore.
Netflix Australia does have the occasional weak spot – particularly in the way of recent release movies – but the UI, picture quality and functionality (made even better by third parties) are reason enough for its industry-leading status. Throw in some of the best original content out there and signing up becomes a no-brainer.
Though not as expansive as American Netflix, with a library of almost 4,000 movies and nearly 2,000 TV shows, Netflix Australia has more content than any of us could (or should) consume in a lifetime. If you can fight off the evening-long bouts of overwhelmed indecision, you’ll find everything from blockbuster action films, quirky cooking shows, true crime documentaries, trashy (yet addictive) reality series, cute kids cartoons, and must-watch exclusive programs.
Still, it’s now one of many streaming services available in Australia, and you might be on the fence about whether or not it’s worth the monthly fee. In our review, we’ll break down everything you need to know about Netflix, and how it compares to similar services.
Netflix Australia price
- $6.99 for Basic with Ads
- $10.99 for Basic
- $15.99 for Standard
- $19.99 for Premium
- No free trial
When it first launched in Australia in 2015, Netflix offered three plans, ranging in price from $8.99 to $14.99. Though the three plans are essentially the same, after a number of incremental price increases in recent years, those monthly fees look quite different. Now, the cheapest entry point is $6.99, while the most expensive stands at $19.99.
Here’s what each Netflix plan will cost you.
Basic with Ads
|Resolution||SD||SD||HD||Up to 4K|
|No. of simultaneous streams||1||1||2||4|
|No. of offline download devices||Zero||1||2||4|
Netflix free trial
Netflix used to offer a 30-day free trial to new subscribers, but in March 2020, that trial was scrapped for good. Now, if you want to “try” Netflix, you’ll have to pay at least $6.99 for the privilege.
If you’d rather not have to fork out cash before seeing what’s on offer, here’s a quick round-up of all the streaming services in Australia, their price, and whether or not they offer a free trial.
Netflix vs Stan, Binge, Prime Video and more
Max. Video Resolution
# of streams
|View Plans||$6.99||4K||3|| ||30-day free trial|
|–||$6.99 (w/ Ads) - $19.99||4K||4|| ||–|
|View Plans||$7.99||4K||6|| ||7-day free trial|
|View Plans||$11.99||4K||4|| ||Save over 15% with annual subscription|
|View Plans||$25 - $35||HD||3|| ||2-week free trial|
|View Plans||$6.99||HD||1|| ||7-day free trial|
|View Plans||$6.99||HD||1|| ||7-day free trial|
|–||$25 - $104||HD||2|| ||Read more|
|View Plans||$8.99||HD||5|| ||7-day free trial|
|–||$8.99||HD||3|| ||Read more|
|–||$10 - $18||HD||4|| ||Read more|
|–||$10 - $19||4K||4|| ||Read more|
Netflix app, UI and accessibility
As one of the first streaming services ever, Netflix pretty much set the bar for every one of its competitors when it came to user experience and accessibility. As such, it’s had plenty of time to refine that bar, and to this date remains perhaps the most user-friendly streaming service around.
Regardless of what platform you’re accessing Netflix through, the user interface is clean, elegant, and responsive. Shows and movies are presented as large thumbnails, and divided into simple categories like “action”, “thriller” and “comedy”. Hover too long over a selection and a trailer will start playing, which isn’t always ideal, but it’s a minor annoyance at worst.
To keep the content glut manageable, only a fraction of the library is displayed on your home screen. Netflix caters this selection to your personal tastes, surfacing content it “thinks” you’ll like and burying stuff you’d likely ignore. The algorithm behind this is solid but occasionally tends to be a little unimaginative (“Because you watched Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, you might like… Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets!”). The upside to the heavy curation, though, is a manageable UI that doesn’t scroll horizontally until the end of time, *cough* Stan *cough*.
There’s also plenty of accessibility features to ensure that everyone can use Netflix. There are fantastic closed captioning options and support for assisted listening systems for people who are hard of hearing, and screen reader support and optional audio descriptions that describe what’s happening on-screen (like facial expressions and body language) for those who have impaired vision. Additionally, users can control the playing of content through keyboard shortcuts and increase or decrease playback speed.
You can set up multiple profiles on a single account to preserve the usefulness of these recommendations, and for parents, there’s a default “Kids” profile that walls off inappropriate content and surfaces eons of talking trains and singing Lego bricks and other wholesome nonsense.
Offline downloads are also supported on portable devices, so you can hoard everything you want to watch while you’re connected to the internet, and then binge to your heart’s content even out in the middle of Woop Woop.
Netflix Australia content
It’s hard to deny that Netflix is home to some of the best TV shows and best movies on offer. The crown jewel and major point of difference with competing streaming services, however, is its original programming. Think big-budget productions with recognisable-if-not-quite-A-listers-at-their-peak casts, largely shot in gorgeous 4K. These productions have gone a long way to obliterating the stigma that previously surrounded straight-to-home video releases, raking up dozens of awards in the process.
Though Netflix Original feature films can be quite decent (Marriage Story, The Mitchells vs The Machines and I’m Thinking of Ending Things, to name a few), the TV series are often the best thing you can watch on any screen. Stranger Things, in particular, reached the same cultural saturation point usually reserved for the likes of Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad.
The Witcher, The Crown, Black Mirror, Queer Eye, Making A Murderer, House of Cards, Ozark, Sex Education and Bridgerton all attracted similar levels of hype.
Admirably, Netflix also uses the Originals label to provide a platform for international productions: some of the best content under the moniker is produced outside of Hollywood with Netflix’s guidance (and money). Dark is an enthralling supernatural horror series produced in Germany, while Kingdom, a Korean production, is the best, most original take on the zombie apocalypse in years (think House of Flying Daggers crossed with The Walking Dead). Australian productions are even starting to appear, notably sci-fi thriller I Am Mother and the crude, hilarious sketch comedy, Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun.
Outside of Netflix Originals, content tends towards the slightly older variety, but there are still thousands of quality films and series to absorb. A quick perusal of my auto-generated “blockbuster movies” category yielded bangers like Tenet, The Dark Knight, Step Brothers, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Blade Runner 2049 and Jurassic Park.
Netflix is decent at securing classic TV shows, too. If you feel like bingeing all of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Schitt’s Creek, How I Met Your Mother or Peaky Blinders, no problem.
Where the service falters is in the recent movies department. If you’re old enough to remember video stores, think of Netflix Australia as your local Video Ezy except you’re confined to the weeklies section. If you’ve missed the cinema run of a big-budget blockbuster, don’t count on it arriving on Netflix Australia anytime soon. If you want to keep up with Hollywood’s latest, you’ll need to pair a Netflix subscription with cinema tickets or the odd Google Play rental.
Which devices are compatible with Netflix in Australia?
Basically, if you can read this review you can watch Netflix. It’s available on just about any web browser, mobile platform, smart TV or streaming device you can think of, providing a cohesive and smooth experience no matter where you’re watching.
Here’s a breakdown of the devices that are compatible with Netflix:
- iPhone and iPad
- Android devices
- Windows devices
- PC and Mac via most web browsers
- Apple TV
- Google Chromecast (and Chromecast with Google TV)
- Hisense Smart TV
- LG Smart TV
- Panasonic Smart TV
- Philips Smart TV
- Samsung Smart TV
- Sony Smart TV
- PlayStation 3
- PlayStation 4
- PlayStation 5
- Xbox 360
- Xbox One
- Xbox Series X | S
- Fetch TV
- LG Blu-ray player
- Samsung Blu-ray player
- Sony Blu-ray player
How much data does Netflix use?
The amount of data used by Netflix depends on the resolution at which you’re watching. Here’s how much data each plan (or more specifically, each streaming resolution) will eat up, and the recommended internet speed.
Basic with ads (SD)
|Data usage||1 GB per hour, per stream||1 GB per hour, per stream||3 GB per hour, per stream||7 GB per hour, per stream|
|Recommended internet speed||3 Mbps||3 Mbps||5 Mbps||25 Mbps|
If you’re a regular Netflix user and finding your stream is constantly buffering, it’s worth taking another look at your NBN plan. We’d recommend going no slower than NBN Basic II speed, which clocks in at up to 25Mbps. However, unless you live alone, we’d suggest opting for an NBN Standard plan which, at speeds of up to 50Mbps, should be more than enough to give everyone in the household a smooth and snappy internet experience.
Here are the most popular NBN 50 plans right now.