Daddy of them all has to be Netflix who have gone global since January 2016. Now Amazon Prime Video has dropped many hints that they are soon to follow – mainly on the back of launching their key show The Grand Tour to the world. This is their version of the BBC’s Top Gear starring all the previous presenters and has a multi-million dollar budget to recoup.
Amazon do already have a very wide reach with their LoveFilm movie streaming product and another global favourite is YouTube. But it’s undoubtedly Netflix that has moved into poll position to be the dominant force in VSOD with even its name becoming almost a generic term for the service.
So, having said this, how does it shape up in Australia? Unfortunately the answer is that it’s pretty disappointing, especially when you compare it with other countries. For example, if you look at the total library of content that you’ll find on the US Netflix, Australia only has 36% of the choice as American Netflix.
Considering that you’ll be paying around $15 a month for their very best service this really isn’t a great deal, however you look at it.
It’s not even that great when you look at some of the other VSOD services that Australians can receive. These include Stan and Presto and each has its own individual strong points. For example Presto has struck a deal with Disney so they can offer a huge selection of these ever-popular movies. Stan also has an impressive line-up of blockbuster movies with titles including Fury Road from the re-booted Mad Max franchise as well as the kids’ smash hit The Lego Movie.
For fans of HBO programmes like The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire Presto is definitely the one to choose as they have exclusive rights to these. Sadly, though, there’s no Game of Thrones which is only available in the US.
However, there is one pretty simple way to get access to the show, as well as to all of Netflix’s US content and that’s by using a VPN to access it. This effectively gives you a non-country specific IP address so the VSOD provider can’t tell where you are and, therefore, won’t decide to block you.
A word of warning before you do this, though. Your own ISP may have rules to stop you using a VPN so check the terms and conditions carefully first. Netflix is also trying to limit the use of VPNs to access its services.
With more of us watching less and less “live” TV there’s no doubt that streaming’s here to stay. So it’s likely that competition to offer the best service and widest range of viewing will hot up in the future. But, until it does, these tips should help you to make the most of it today.