Stan, the new TV and movie streaming service from Channel Nine and Fairfax, has just opened up its free trial period to everyone. Until now, access has been invite-only. Once the free trial ends, Stan will charge you $10 per month for unlimited streaming with no lock-in contracts. You can view Stan on PC, smartphone, tablet, or on a TV via Chromecast or Airplay.
Frankly, we were expecting the launch to be a little further away. We’ve already given Stan a fairly detailed hands-on try, and have used it a bit more since then. So far it’s a very promising service with some great content (every Bond film in HD, for instance) and a usable, if very Netflix-esque, user interface.
However, not all is well in paradise. There was some instability during playback that lead to multiple crashes. We’ve also had some trouble getting the Microsoft Silverlight plugin to register on other PCs we’ve used since our initial hands-on. This would seem like a problem with the PC itself, except that we tried other Silverlight-dependent services and found them totally functional. We found a fix quickly-enough, but it was far from a click & go experience.
There’s no telling if this will be a short-lived promotion to get subscribers early on, or if it will be part of the standard marketing policy. The smart money is on the latter. After all, Stan primarily exists to compete with the impending Australian Netflix launch. Netflix gives all new users one month free before charging them, so Stan would be wise to adopt a similar policy.
In any case, Stan is absolutely worth its 30 day free trial period. Just remember to unsubscribe if you find you’re not a fan, or in a month you’ll find a $10 bill on your bank statement.