Video on Demand has been a booming industry that has really changed the way we watch TV, rent videos and consume media in general.
It has brought the end of the video rental outlet and seen the DVD/BluRay player relegated to the offline backup way to watch the handful of disks from past Christmases and birthdays.
But the march of change has not stopped and video streaming is heading for a shakeup with new entrants leaning on faster networks and bigger production budgets to not only give old distribution networks more to worry about but also put the established players on notice.
Here is a look at the state of entertainment for 2020.
The streaming juggernaut that has dominated after being a mail order DVD service that transitioned to online only. A solid library of over 1000 TV shows/series and over 3000 movies with some stellar original content. Netflix has been the standard that everyone aspires to and we ask every time a new service starts up if this new service will be the “Netflix Killer”.
It is the Google of the online entertainment industry.
Starting at $9.99/month for HD & 1 simultaneous stream and $19.99 for 4K allowing streaming on up to 4 devices simultaneously is not awesome value for money but it is not the worst. However the quality of the Netflix created shows more than makes up for it. Accessed on a multitude of devices with Foxtel hardware being one of the more surprise recent partners.
The entrenched cable partner has taken some time to step up to the streaming game with Foxtel Now. Still holding on to the package approach. Pop and lifestyle is $25, Drama is $35, Sports is $54, Movies is $45. A way to stream in HD everything Foxtel without the IQ set top box.
Foxtel Now is an expensive way to get your fix of exclusives but for some it still cheaper than the full blown cable/satellite setup. This service is enjoying widespread adoption on pretty much all platforms.
A notable omission of 4K streaming will add a wrinkle to the brow of anyone looking at this service. If you are paying top dollar for a service you would be forgiven for expecting top picture quality.
Owned by Fairfax and Nine, this is the first successful aussie streaming platform. 365 TV shows and just under 1000 movies make up the library. Original content includes Wolf Creek and Romper Stomper TV series.
$10/month to get started on 1 device showing HD and 4K is $17/month for up to 4 devices is only slightly more expensive than Netflix but cheaper than Foxtel. Also can be found on most smart TVs, set top boxes and gaming platforms.
Amazon Prime Video
One of the cheapest services where a single $6.99 subscription gives you 4K streaming on up to 3 devices. The catalog is huge with over 6000 movies and 1400 TV shows including my favourite The Grand Tour which is the Original Top Gear hosts (Clarkson, Hammond and May) after leaving BBC.
The size of the service is impressive but there are a few low budget knock off attempts and foreign language content that means that you do get what you pay for in some respect.
The kicker is that this service can include some perks in the rest of the Amazon world like free shipping and access to the Amazon Music service.
If you are a fan of Amazon, this is kind of a no-brainer.
This is the streaming service for sports fans that includes a cool split screen function allowing you to watch multiple sports on the one screen. Over 50 sports both live and on demand as well as some curated specials and documentaries.
No 4K streaming but you can get started with $25 month to stream on up to 2 devices at the same time, this service offers live
All of the previous players have been in the market for a while but there are two new contenders that are looking to shake up the game significantly.
Apple TV Plus
As usual not the first to the game and not offering the biggest library but with the sheer star power and massive budgets signed on to produce original content, Apple is set to make an impact on the 106 countries it is now available in across a huge number of platforms.
At $8.99* for streaming 4K on up to 6 devices at the same time. Everything about this service screams quality over quantity. Will it be enough?
*To make sure they get a good foothold, every new qualifying device sold gets a free 12 month subscription.
Launching 19th November, Disney will be bringing all Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic content along with all 30 seasons of The Simpsons, The World According to Jeff Goldblum. Available to stream via your Apple TV, Google Chromecast, xBoxOne, PS4 and maybe even Fetch TV and Tesltra TV.
At $8.99 for 4 devices streaming 4K, Disney is my pick to continue to be the entertainment dominator in the streaming market.
The new entrants into the market are taking no prisoners with a single plan 4K service.
One planning on taking ground with new limited selection of high production value content while the other is pulling on its massive catalog of well known brands and properties.
Either way, the old streaming players seem to be forming a circle against this new threat to the new business of streaming.