Netflix is a big deal in America and Europe, allowing customers to pay a monthly fee in order to access an extensive range of movies and TV shows on demand. It’s even moving into broadcasting now, being the money behind the exceptional House Of Cards series.
Unfortunately, Netflix is not currently available in Australia, and while there are workarounds for the tech minded, for most people it’s too much of a bother. Thankfully, there are completely legal alternatives to movie streaming that are available locally.
Mubi works exactly like Netflix, where you’ll pay a monthly fee for access to as many films as you like. The difference here is that Mubi focuses on independent, foreign, rare and classic films, and is a wonderful archive for films that you just won’t be able to find elsewhere. Even if Netflix arrives in Australia, Mubi will be essential for people that take their movies seriously, as there’s very little crossover between what each service offers. The service is only $5/month and is available on most popular hardware platforms.
What started out as a DVD rental service has rapidly moved into streaming content. Quickflix is available across most platforms (including games consoles), as well as select Smart TVs, will set you back $14.95/month for unlimited streaming, and boasts a fair range of both movies and TV to choose between. This is the service that will be most under threat should Netflix come down to Australia, however, as its range is generally limited to the popular movies and shows, and the range just isn’t as large as what Netflix has. It’s good, but at times it feels like it’s the best by default, rather than being something truly essential.
Crackle is the free, advertising supported movie service. Backed by Sony it’s 100% legal to use, but as you would probably expect, the range of movies is quite limited and it’s essentially the older movies that you’ll have to make do with. Still, it’s also available on mobile devices, and free is free. However, only recently, Crackle isn’t crackling anymore in the U.K. The Sony-owned video service will close shop in the market by the beginning of April. This is based upon heavy completion from both Netflix and Amazon within this market.
For people that are more interested in “owning” movies than paying a subscription model, iTunes remains the best quality movie service. Films cost around $25 to buy or $6 to rent, but once you’ve got it, you’re able to download it to watch on to your iPad or iPhone at any time, or steam it to your TV courtesy of Apple TV. If you are going to use iTunes for your digital movies, be sure to get Apple TV, because it does add so much value to your movie purchases.
Hoyts Stream isn’t available yet, but it’s the movie service worth looking out for when it releases later this year. The cinema company has big plans for this service, having invested a reported $700 million in getting it off the ground. While we don’t know pricing at this stage, we do know that it will function very much like Netflix, allowing people to pay a small amount to watch new release films immediately, while also offering a subscription service for the movie fanatics.
This is a specialist service, but for people who are into Japanese TV shows or Anime (animated TV shows), Crunchyroll has it all. Japanese Anime and Manga is infamous for being incredibly tough in terms of licensing, and expensive to buy in DVD formats, so the fact that there’s a single resource that will give you access to it all is a fan’s dream come true. The service also offers Manga at the premium, $11.95/month service, which is a nice value-add for fans of Japanese entertainment.
Are there any good streaming sites we’ve missed that you can share with us?