3 Days In And I Am Loving The Australian Netflix

First everyone seemed cynical, and they had every right. When is the last time Australians paid a fair price for anything tech related? Getting screwed on consumer products is a national pastime.

Why should Netflix be any different?

Then there was the surprise. The surprise that, when Netflix announced its pricing strategy in Australia, it was entirely reasonable. More than reasonable in fact: downright fair.

I mean really? Come on now! This is Australia. You’re charging us a reasonable price for goods and services? There has to be a catch…

So of course, there was that cynicism again. What about the library? It has to be borked if we’re paying a fair and reasonable price, right? We won’t be getting this show or that show, this movie or that movie.

This was shortly followed by a round chorus of ‘I told you so’ when the details of that library were released.

So yes, the Netflix offering in Australia doesn’t quite match up to its US counterpart. Yes, there are shows we simply can’t watch. Yes, there are seasons of certain shows tied up in licensing disputes and, as such, we have to wait until certain dates before watching on Netflix. Those Foxtel meanies have to drink their fill before us plebs can get in on the action.

Yes, this sucks. Actually, ‘sucks’ is probably too extreme. Let’s just say it’s ‘not the ideal situation’.

Not the ideal situation, but not a terrible situation. Far from it.

Here’s my own personal experience: I woke up on the morning of the Netflix launch. I turned on my PS4. I installed Netflix. I signed up for Netflix. I flicked around the super slick interface. I bookmarked about a dozen documentaries. I marvelled at the depth of the offering — honestly, I did. I showed my wife Netflix, she had the precise same reaction. Simply put: she lost her shit. I lost my shit.

Shit was being lost. Collectively.

But when I arrived at the office the internet seemed to be losing its shit about Netflix for different reasons. Most of them were negative: this show wasn’t available, that series was missing. For the most part I think these criticisms are fair. Nitpicky but fair.

But from my perspective, as someone who a) never used Netflix before, b) has a whole lot of TV to play catch up on, I couldn’t care less that [insert show/season here] is missing. There is simply so much content to watch. More quality content than I have time to watch.

I understand the complaints, particularly if you’re the kind of person who’s been using the US version of Netflix for years now. But I’m coming from the perspective of the everyman here. I feel as though I represent a larger segment of the population. I am the person coming straight to Netflix from terrestrial TV, ABC iView, and that’s about it. This is the perspective — I’d argue — of most people currently subscribing to a Netflix-esque service for the first time. I am swamped with content, nicely categorised using a slick interface, with HD streaming capabilities that actually work as advertised.

I’m sort of amazed by how good Netflix is for how much it costs.

I have Netflix on my tablet, so my son can watch Mike the Knight while I watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I have Netflix installed on all three on my gaming consoles. This weekend I had to travel to Melbourne for a wedding. I brought my PS4 with me to play Bloodborne and — added bonus — I can easily watch an incredible number of TV shows in my downtime. That is amazing to a pleb like me. I can do all of this without that weird, gross feeling you get when pirating a show — and the quality of the experience in incredible.

My point: yes, the Netflix selection isn’t all it could be, but it is still an incredible service, particularly for people like me who are discovering this new world for the very first time. We have 4k streaming that works. We have a price that works. We have great sized library that will expand as time goes on.

I’m really, truly happy with that.


Comments

    Yeah I'm digging it too. Can't complain about it being free for the first month!

    But does suck that there's no parks and rec or office. Haven't really had too much more of a look but been watching house of cards. Very watchable show!

    In fact I think I might watch another episode right now... did I mention I love the ps4? So good!

      I can't wait til they add Parks and Rec, it's easily the show I want the most as I'm itching for a rewatch and I get to show it to my wife for the first time.

      I'm sure it'll be along shortly. Until then, I have plenty of other shows.

        Just get her to eat waffles in the meantime for preparation :p

        just watch the Tom Have......the Aziz Ansari stand up special on there instead. Its great :)

      Go to your PC - open up Google Chrome - install the Hola extension, open up Netflix and watch Parks and Rec on your PC! Problem solved!

      I've been with it for a year and was stoked that it works here too because now I can put Netflix on the 360 and X1 without mucking around with full-on VPNs

        A note on Hola: https://www.reddit.com/r/privacy/comments/1qnphj/psa_if_youre_uncomfortable_running_a_tor_exit/

        Getflix or a similar dns service will allow you to change netflix region on your consoles with about 2 minutes of setup effort.

          Thanks. I was a bit worried about Hola - how's that saying go "If you're not paying for it, you're the product"?

        how does it work with x1/smart tv, at the moment i have this VPN server type thing running to TV via ethernet, seems dumb though.

          Grab a smart DNS tool like Getflix and apply it to your router. Will enable any device connected to your router to access different Netflix regions.

            Will this affect my unmetered content with Internode?

              I think so, my friend tried it and the US netflix downloads were metered. As far as iiNet is concerned you are connecting to the VPN provider, not Netflix.

          Yeah sorry I should clarify I run the Aus version on the Xboxes, US version on the PC

          I use UNBLOCKUS on my smart tv here in the UK and it enables me to change any country for Netflix

        However any free quota you have from your ISP for using Netflix will no longer apply if you swith to the US or UK from Australia.

      My wife in America told me on Monday that she has been a Netflix subscriber since she got back to America in May last year. I got her to pay $1 more so we can have 2 screens. It's great, my PS4 is now copping abuse from constantly running since I watch David attenborough to help me sleep. I am disappointed that I only have one season of my thrusters to watch and that my wife won't allow me to use her hulu to watch south park

        So you have a wife in america and one over here?

        Damn man. That's a busy life right there!

          Nah, just the one wife. I don't know where you got the second one.

          Also my phone doesn't like mythbusters

            just joking man.

            Think about it. If I saw 'my computer in America' it implies that I have one there and one here too.

            Soz. It was funny in my head. Cheers!

    I am loving it so far as well, good job my ADSL2 is a decent connection, pretty much no lag in starting at all. And the app on the XBOX One is fantastic, love the different profiles that I was able to set up for my self and my partner.

      I wish we still had the old Xbox One app. Shat on this one from a great height, and had far more functional voice controls. Then they slacked off and "updated" us to the crappy PS4 app.

      Last edited 27/03/15 12:18 pm

      Well.. when my crummy Perth internet reaches ADSL2 speeds then I'll consider trying again. I tried Foxtel Go and Quickflicks with constant buffering during the stream... at SD resolutions.

        Give the netflix free trial a go. I don't know what kind of funky tech magic Netflix uses but it streams far better than any other service I've ever tried.

          I think I will at some stage. I'm just worried about my downloads though. I can only get Telstra in my area (Don't ask me why. it's not rural or anything.) and hence only have 200gb. Which tends to dwindle fast these days.

            Check your Telstra account. They have upgraded every for free with more downloads. I had 200gb and now I have 500gb. People who had 500gb, now have 1tb. No tricks, Telstra literally upgraded people for free.

    I agree I have been impressed with it. sure it doesn't have everything on it and there is rubbish on there ill never watch but I think its well worth the $12.99 a month. and hopefully it will only get better as time goes by.

    Too many Power Rangers, such little time.

      Oh god I can't help myself. Quick plug for the Ranger Danger Podcast, where we watch an episode every week starting at the beginning and then talk about it.

      Oh no it's ensnared me too. I never really watched beyond the first couple of seasons of MMPR but I've since started watching them again on Netflix and it's so terrible yet I can't stop watching.

        It's so terrible I watched one and vomited a little in my mouth. A second episode is definitely not on the cards. So little time these days to waste with 'so bad, it's bad' shows like MMPR.

      Watch RPM at least. It's by far the best.

    This country's lifeblood is sport. I want new players in the space like Netflix to disrupt that market and help alleviate the stranglehold and monopolies involved.

    Cricket Australia for example is doing great guns with streaming at the moment, they truly have embraced the 21st century.

    Meanwhile, Foxtel can have the gall to say - publically - that Australian Rules isn't as valuable to them as a product compared to other international sports/markets so Mr AFL-TV-Business-Man shouldn't put such a high price on their broadcasting rights, yet still complain that current Australian law doesn't let Foxtel buy all the matches lock stock and barrel.

      I get the NBA league pass and NFL league pass each year and if the AFL offered the same thing I'd get rid of Foxtel in a heartbeat. That and EPL are literally the only reasons I have it.
      I'm guessing we'll have to wait till the next broadcasting rights before there's any hope of a league pass style package for AFL. Not holding my breath on that happening though.

        The afl already has a reasonably priced streaming model in place.

        You can get epl on demnad. It's about 90 for the season so well worth it and you get the review shows as well.

          Yeh but they only show 4 games live a week, and you can't choose what they are. Not good enough. Make it about $150 and have every game live and I'd be all over it.

            Yeh you do miss some games but overall it's not too bad certainly beats paying 50 a month for foxtel play...

        Is this not what you are after for AFL?

        http://watchafl.afl.com.au/

          being an Aussie and being geoblocked for a Aussie sport is the meaning of stupidity. Wtf is wrong with Australian media and not wanting their own flesh and blood access to services that we are clearly crying out for?

      While commercial/F2A televisions lifeblood is sport, they won't be able to compete with netflix on everything else.
      Watch as their viewers die off for everything that isn't news/sport and they become less and less profitable and even more financially unstable and unviable (which they already are).

      Yeah! Boo Foxtel, making it hard for us Aussie heroes to watch that lifeblood sportsball thing some people seem to be so weirdly interested in.

      c.c

    Currently the only problem I have with it is the catalogue. Streaming is smooth as could be, interface is slick, swapping between devices mid-stream is basically seamless, and it's completely unmetered. And honestly, I've not watched much TV for a couple of years, so I'm fine with catching up on what's there while I wait for the catalogue to expand. I've already bookmarked more than I could possibly watch before the end of the month, anyway.

      Honestly, I think the only people who can really complain about Netflix in Australia, are the one who have already been using US Netflix.
      For everyone else, its bloody awesome, and a great shake up for our local industry.

      I'll continue using US Netflix, but either way, Netflix get's my money and I get to watch what I want.

      I'd have to agree with the catalogue issue. On the Australian Netflix you have american shows like Falling Skies (Which is also on Foxtel here) yet it's not on the US Netflix. Then in stark contrast you have the classic aussie movie Muriels Wedding on the US netflix but not on ours (I noted a few aussie movies which aren't on the aussie netflix).

    Digging it.

    Just started watching Vikings for the first time last night. Seems alright.

    A few shows missing that I wish were there (X-Files and Walking Dead), but it makes up for it by having an abundance of my favorite, classic movies.

    Can't complain about the pricing either. I think they've done a good job for it's initial release and will definitely continue to use it.

      Wait Vikings is on it? I missed that!

        Yep, was on my recommendations list.

        I haven't even tried to remember their names, all I know is one is named after:
        http://www.mamabeesfreebies.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Free-Rolo-Chocolate-Candy-Roll.jpg

        An aside: New season of Vikings is also on SBS atm...

      Vikings is awesome! Once you catch up you can watch the third season on SBS On Demand too.

    I have found enough in the current offering to keep me going for a bit.

    Sure, I'm always going to go "I wonder if I can watch" and be disappointed, but I'm happy. Watched Captain America last night, full HD, no hiccups.

    Plus, we get Daredevil soon.

      Thing is, I still get that "wonder if this is on here" feeling with US netflix.
      People seem to forget that even the US one doesn't have everything because it's tied to HBO or something like that.

      As long as there's enough of the stuff you do want to watch, it's a WIN!

        Yeah, the only way we'll ever get everything - in any market - is for the competitors to die off, meaning broadcast, cable and DVD. But even then you don't want them all gone because monopoly is no good for customers...so the best situation is if, after the coming carnage, there are a few survivors standing - Netflix, Amazon, HBO Now, maybe Apple or Google who seem to be making forays into streaming now - what we really need in addition to subscription services is a truly free, ad-based service. That's Google's job.

    For the most part I think these criticisms are fair. Nitpicky but fair.

    Honestly @Markserrels I'd take it into context. For the *almost* equivalent content on Foxtel you're going to pay in excess of 70 - 80 dollars minimum, you're going to have ads, can't watch it at your own leisure, decide what episode, plus you're locked into a 2 year contract usually...

    I'd say they're not 'nitpicky but fair', I'd go to the extent of saying they're ridiculous. 12 dollars a month roughly is what you'd pay for lunch one day. Even less. Plus, within the year, certain contracts will run out on shows on Foxtel (OITNB, Walking Dead is scheduled to eventually come to Netflix AU etc). Every system has its teething issues, but putting stuff into context? 9 - 12 dollars (ok 15 if you go the deluxe... for FOUR screens? What would THAT cost with foxtel?) I'd say that's just a case of people being unreasonable and complaining for complainings sake.

    PLUS, repeats only when YOU choose them to happen ;) lol

    Last edited 27/03/15 12:19 pm

      well said. I find it completely reasonable. Plus I went with the one stream SD so I am paying $8.99 a month. 9 BUCKS! Huge value!

        Not to mention, we get Marvels new series DAREDEVIL, AKA JESSICA JONES, LUKE CAGE, IRON FIST and then THE DEFENDERS day bloody one of release... before ANY other channel. House of Cards as well. Heaps of other stuff.

        Value. Right there.

      So much this. I don't think your nitpicking or unfair at all. I think we're in a shit situation where a company 'imports' a product and sells it for a premium add-on. Only after selling you an initial product. In SD. With ads. And repeats.

      If Netflix introduced a 'Here's the missing content from foxtel and guess what? It includes sports' package i would sign up quick as a flash. If only...

        After using it for a few days now, maybe watching one to two episodes of stuff a day, I can safely say I'm loving it. Back catalogues of stuff, promises of new content in future, between that, couchtuner for new eps (oops) buying blurays of series I want to support such as TWD, GOT, Hannibal and some others, steam for new games and other things, 8 dollar tuesdays at Event cinemas now, my torrenting days are officially done. And Im a bloody uni student with limited funds! lol.

          Just the convenience alone is worth it for me.
          Watch something on the PS4. Get kicked off from the kids.
          Continue on the PS3.
          Wife overrules.
          Continue on the iPad.

          Not to mention I'm still seeing new (but oldish still) content that wasn't there on launch. It's actually become a 'I heard about that show now I can watch it' situation.

        Don't hold your breath for sports. Same situation in America: sports is the one thing cable can hang onto in order to keep subscribers locked in. Sports franchises are used to big bucks, and Netflix won't pay that kind of extortion (and good for them, keeps the prices down). Maybe Sling will move into Australia someday - they already have an ESPN add-on. What would make sense is for a sports package to be an add-on to a service like Netflix or Amazon, not necessarily sold through them, but it's easy for customers to just assemble their own a la carte streaming packages from all the competitors.

    Pretty happy with it so far, too. Enough things that I want to watch that it will keep my going till more stuff comes online.

    My only (nitpicky) complaint is that I can't watch 4K on my laptop. Apparently it's only available on TVs, even though computers support it, due to DRM. Bah! I thought we were getting around all this crap now!

    Good thing that 1080p looks damn impressive anyway, and I can switch back to the lower plan before the first bill.

      See, the 4k thing is about the ONLY complaint I would see as valid for the whole thing?

        I have a 4k TV, at the moment I think there is only house of cards which supports it, a few more on the US netflix, with adsl2 16mpbs it takes a minute or 2 for the picture to sharpen up fully, I think i will downgrade for the next month.

          Yep, can completely understand the resolution-connection issues, absolutely.

    Mark is using his PS4 for something other than Bloodborne? Say it isn't so!

    Seriously though, I agree 100%. I'm new to Netflix too. My wife and I looked at the shows/movies on offer and were very impressed with the range. It's only going to get better as they add more to it.

    Last edited 27/03/15 12:28 pm

    I think there is more than enough content here to keep me going until Netflix AU can get the licensing agreements to everything else - Rome wasn't built in a day.

    I'm pretty much the same as well. Got a bunch of movies and Australian stand up comedies in My List ready to be watched. There's quite a few movies on it that I've wanted to watch but couldn't find a DVD or I've wanted to re-watch after many years. For example, I finally got to watch RoboCop :)

    I am impressed. My wife wasn't a huge fan - she was looking for some sort of true crime show to watch but couldn't find anything.

    It is incredibly simple to use. I got to work the other day and was telling my boss about Kimmy Schmidt. I fired up my browser, logged in and played part of the first episode. It was as easy as showing him a YouTube video.

    I think a lot of people are misunderstanding what Netflix is. It was never really intended to be a first run streaming service where you can see the latest episode as soon as it airs. It's like having a friend that owns a blockbuster and lets you borrow stuff whenever you want it.

    Also, how great is Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt?

    Could anyone get it to work with chromecast? mine didnt work at all.

      Yep, first try. I'm using a Note 4 with the Chromecast extension app installed along with the Netflix app on the phone. Phone not rooted.

      Yep, mine works with my Chromecast using my Xperia Z2 Tablet and my partners iPad.

      Yeah, streams perfectly and quickly from my phone.

    About the catalogue discrepancy...

    Luke Hopewell put up a bit in Gizmodo showing the TV comedies on US and not on AU versions of Netflix. I wonder how many of the shows/movies that aren't on Netflix are owned by Fox, NBC and US ABC...?

    It's pretty obvious Netflix are going to have a hard time getting anything Fox owns, because Netflix is in direct competition with Fox in Australia. Plus Netflix doesn't have that subscriber weight in Australia to negotiate licenses, like it does in the U.S.

    Hopefully Netflix spend some time and money advertising to the industry, how many subscribers they retain in Australia, after the 30 day free trials end. They will need to beat the market share out of Foxtel before they have the power to negotiate licensing deals with companies who are succumbing to Foxtel's deep pockets.

      I think you'll find that their negotiation powers increase the more countries they have on board. Australia, while small compared to US and UK is big enough that Netflix can start talking 'global rights' they've been referring to for a while.
      I'm fully expecting that as many contracts expire (particularly those with Foxtel) Netflix will be all over them like ants on a picnic rug.

      Licensees don't care about Netflix's ability to retain subscribers, they just care about the money and who has the high bid. But if Netflix were one of only a couple of streaming services that control access to the entire Australian audience, then you'll see the negotiating power shift in Netflix's favor. But as consumers, we never want there to be just one distributor because then they could jack up prices thru the roof. Best if there's a few - Netflix, Amazon, HBO Now, somebody else like Apple or Google, that's my bet for the survivors of the coming massive shakeout. And that's globally, so no more discrepancies in libraries.

    Netflix is amazing; exactly the refreshing subscription-television change that Australians need.

    Wife and I are digging it. There's huge amounts of episodes across Orange is new black, House of Cards and Vikings that have been on our radar for years. My son is going nuts over 'unlimited' Octonauts and having near entire back-catalogue of Dr Who is great as well. Watched HD Return of the King the other night, swear at some points it was better quality than my old DVD.

    Free to Air TV was already on the way out in my household and getting Netflix just hammered in that final coffin nail. Most of my friends seem to bitch about it and all use the USA version but I'm absolutely loving it. Tons of shows I can finally catch up on, tons the wife wants to watch and having two kids (7 and 4 years old) there is tons for them too! All up the entire household is giving it 10/10

    ha, I love how @markserrels just throws in there that he is taking his PS4 to a wedding

      its the best date you can take.

    If only Netflix had come out a decade ago, before piracy integrated itself into my DNA. I might've actually given it a chance.

      except that it's honestly heaps easier to use than torrents.
      The only time you need to pirate is when something isn't on Netflix.

        how is it easier than a torrent where I can download an entire season at once, of whichever show I want, and not worry about buffering or how many screens I am allowed to watch it on? ridiculous statement.

          my point is that I've never torrented anything that's available on netflix.
          It's much easier to turn on netflix and there it is. Remembers exactly where you were up to, recommends other shows, etc...

          Yes all this can be achieved with auto feeds, and players like xbmc but it's a crap load of effort. I've never been able to get sickbeard to work properly.
          Not to mention the risks of torrenting, or having no seeds for older stuff, or viruses, or getting some shit quality cam version, or get something that's missing subtitles or in a different language... there's plenty of downsides to torrenting too.

          As for entire seasons... netflix has entire seasons. When new shows get added (eg House of Cards) it's the whole season at once.

          Obviously this only implies for things that are on Netflix. I thought I made that clear....

          Last edited 29/03/15 10:48 am

            The risks you worry about with torrenting sure sound outdated. Sure, someone who has no idea what they're doing could downloading something nasty but if you have any common sense at all it's incredibly easy and practically risk free.

        I have an RSS feed of all my favourite shows (all of them) so that the latest eps (in 1080p) are waiting for me to play as soon as I get home from work. It doesn't get easier than that.

        uTorrent wins on convenience, quality, selection, timing and stability. I would pay very good for that.

      Pirates will come up with any excuse, yeesh. That's one of the funnier ones, maybe just more honest. Once habits are ingrained, people can't change, but Netflix can still divert the piracy habit from younger kids. They'll do fine. Piracy really isn't that big of a deal. If it were, Netflix wouldn't exist. Everything they show can be pirated.

      But people will pay money for convenience, security and as the author of the article noted, just not to feel gross and weird. Much of what people spend money on, beyond the bare basics, has to do with avoiding gross and weird feelings, buying new shoes or new car or a beer...

    Mark took his PS4 on a holiday to Melbourne. I had to lol at that.

    I'm enjoying it so far. I'm finally watching shameless, something I wanted to do for years. I also have never watched Heroes and Lost so I can finally watch those too. I'm also extremely impressed with how well it streams. Me and my family where streaming on 4 devices at once and there was no lag or drop in quality.

    Running it on my Samsung smart tv, just the standard def, loving the fact the traffic is free...

    Kids psyched at Octonauts and Thomas, Catalog feels limited, I hope it doesn't stagnate and the library shows regular updates. Not enough at present for me to justify more screens.

    Pretty much plan to keep it after an evenings usage.. Wife saw stuff she might like to watch, and it has IT crowd, win win.

    Last edited 27/03/15 1:41 pm

    I'm so glad this is free quota on iiNet, pulled 60GB since launch so far.

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