Stream­ing ser­vices, dig­i­tal plat­forms and TV on de­mand are chang­ing the way we watch tele­vi­sion tele­vi­sion, writes Clare Rig­den

Herald Sun - Switched On - - COVER STORY -

Re­mem­ber when watch­ing TV meant de­cid­ing w which of the four chan­nels yo you wanted to flick to? Maybe, ifi you were lucky, your aerial pointed in the right di­rec­tion an and you could get SBS too? T Those days seem al­most qu quaint now.

The way Aus­tra Aus­tralians watch televi tele­vi­sion has chan changed dram dra­mat­i­cally in the past few years, espe es­pe­cially since the in­tro in­tro­duc­tion of dig­i­taldi plat­forms and stream­ing serv ser­vices like in­ter in­ter­na­tional play player Net­flix and loca lo­cal ser­vices PresA PrestoA year and on Stan. from their launches, not only are more of us signin sign­ing on, but it’s chang chang­ing our viewi view­ing habits.

In In­stead of all tunin tun­ing in at the same time to watch the sa same shows on the sam same net­works, viewer view­ers are now stream­ingstreami con­tent via the in­ter­net,in dip­ping i in and out, or bin­gin bing­ing on en­tire se­ries and erod­ing viewer num num­bers for free to air.

Aussie fa fans of these ser­vices are con­sum­ingc hun­dreds of t thou­sands of hours of stream streamed con­tent each day, addin adding up to millions of hour­shou each week — that’s an aw aw­ful lot of square eyes.

It’s an ex­cit ex­cit­ing time for view­ers, who nown get to call the shots, and tune out ads. But in a world where there’s now more choice than ever, how do you de­cide how to get the best bang for your buck?

It’s a tough call, and de­pends en­tirely on what you’re into. Each ser­vice has a large line-up of TV se­ries and movies, some of which may ap­peal more than oth­ers. But even out­side of that, each ser­vice has its pros and cons. Here are the big­gest.

US giant Net­flix landed it­self in the Aus­tralian mar­ket with an ad­van­tage — it has an ex­tremely large bud­get to com­mis­sion high-qual­ity orig­i­nal pro­gram­ming overseas. Award-win­ning se­ries in­clud­ing House of Cards, Or­ange is the New Black and Blood­line were made by Net­flix and as such au­to­mat­i­cally have a home on the ser­vice.

In ad­di­tion, an es­ti­mated 200,000 users had al­ready signed on to an in­ter­na­tional ver­sion of the ser­vice, so they came to the lo­cal mar­ket with a dis­tinct ad­van­tage.

Those who signed on to the Aus­tralian ver­sion of Net­flix have hit a snag. Many of the hit se­ries avail­able to overseas sub­scribers like The Walk­ing Dead (which is on Presto) and Break­ing Bad (which screens on Stan) fell foul of com­pet­ing distri­bu­tion deals.

For a time, proxy servers, VPNs and “un­block­ers” al­lowed savvy stream­ers to duck the geo block­ing rule, but Net­flix has be­gun crack­ing down.

Plus those award-win­ning shows we men­tioned? Many of them had al­ready aired on TV in Aus­tralia so they’re not firstrun as they are in other re­gions.





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