Netflix is finally in Australia, and it's not alone. Competing streaming services Presto! from Foxtel and Stan from Fairfax & Channel 9 are also available, plus catch up services like ABC's iView and On Demand from SBS.
Before you sit down and binge watch House of Cards, you need to ask yourself if your broadband data cap can handle these data-hungry video streaming apps.
Netflix data use based on an average 10 hours of TV per week
|Standard Definition||1GB||40GB||100GB||100GB plans|
|High Definition (HD)||3GB||120GB||200GB||200GB plans|
|Ultra HD||7GB||280GB||500GB+||500GB plans|
What about Presto, Stan, iView and SBS On Demand?
For the most part, these services use about the same amount of data as Netflix -- more or less. There are some slight variations, but you should budget for the same amount of monthly broadband data, regardless of which service you think you will use the most.
It's also worth pointing out that none of the other services offer Ultra HD (4K) quality streams, so you don't have to worry about the data-heavy downloads.
Best plans for a regular HD stream
If you're reading this and thinking that you need to switch your household's broadband plan to something suitable for heavy-duty video streaming, here are a few choice selections to get you started.
Netflix quality settings
By default, Netflix is set to automatically stream at the highest quality it can over your connection without the need for buffering. This is a dynamic system. If you have fluctuating speeds then you will also notice your video stream bouncing around between high, standard and low quality during the course of a movie or episode.
This auto setting makes it impossible to accurately gauge how much data you’ll be going through, but typically on a fixed-line broadband connection, your stream with probably bounce between HD and SD.
Alternatively, Netflix lets users set a fixed streaming quality through your My Account settings. The process of doing this is slightly different depending on whether you access Netflix on your laptop, or through an app on an Xbox or tablet, etc, but once you discover how to access the settings, changing them is straight-forward.
- On a desktop: click on your profile icon in the top-right of the Netflix window and choose My Account.
- Under My Profile click on Playback Settings.
- Select the quality of stream you want.
Netflix Logo image from Shutterstock