Magazine article Metro Magazine

Full Stream Ahead for TV Fans in Australia

Magazine article Metro Magazine

Full Stream Ahead for TV Fans in Australia

Article excerpt

Over the last year, Netflix's local and international catalogue has grown, now including a significant amount of Australian content. The market for streaming has also heated up, with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) even releasing an online guide to streaming services for interested (and confused) consumers. It reports: 'Since early 2015, almost two million Australians have subscribed for SVOD [subscription video-on-demand] services.' This statistic is clearly focused on Netflix's high-profile entry into the market, even though ACMA's own history of commercial streaming in Australia reveals that streaming has been around for a while--Quickflix was launched in October 2011; Presto, March 2014; and Stan, January 2015. It wasn't, in fact, until March 2015 that Netflix arrived on the scene.

The ACMA guide also outlines information about streaming speeds, privacy considerations and channels for complaints, should consumers feel they are necessary. But what it doesn't detail is how streaming services can vary on any given day and place, depending on an individual's device and location. While we all know that downloads can become slow during peak times, this notion of 'peak' likely refers to 'internet peak', generally considered to be in the evenings and late night. While this makes sense if you're thinking that most people will be at home watching during those times, it doesn't quite take into account how download speeds can be affected by a program's release date and time. And, given these streaming services operate on an 'any show, any time, in any sequence' model, 'internet peak' may not necessarily equate to 'streaming peak'. I'm not saying I've lost more than one Tuesday morning to streamed shows when I should have been doing something else, but ... I'm just saying it's possible.

Neither does ACMA's guide detail what types of devices and systems are required for each streaming service (there seems to be an expectation that consumers will sign up to just one service). This 'find one and stick to it' assumption is particularly interesting because it marks a break from traditional television--in broadcast, it's rare for viewers to watch only one channel, rather than flicking between various channels to find the best programs. As I've written about before: when streaming started, different services tended to need quite different equipment (or, rather, they each had limitations)--and this is justifiable for an industry starting out. However, we're now almost five years into streaming, according to ACMA's timeline (not accounting for ABC's iview, which has been around since 2008), and differences in service set-ups remain. For example, as of mid January 2016--when I tried to install my new suite of services--it seems Stan works on smart TVs and PlayStations, but can't be used concurrently with other systems, like Optus' Fetch TV. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.