Why you should be wary about Netflix Australia/New Zealand

Photo Credit: netflixlife.com
Photo Credit: netflixlife.com

This week, Netflix announced that it would finally be bringing their popular Netflix VOD (video-on-demand) service to Australia and New Zealand.

While TV show and movies fans rejoiced after being neglected for so long, it stands that people need to be wary about hopping straight onto the service.

For a long-time Netflix US user, there’s a lot to think about before shutting down the VPN and going to Netflix Australia. Here’s just a couple of reasons to be careful.

For those that like just reading the bold parts, here’s what I think:

– Netflix is a great service. That being said, Netflix Australia and Netflix US aren’t the exact same thing. It’s currently cheaper to go through a VPN or a Getflix-type service rather than rushing for the most convenient. We’ll also be getting half the US library at a higher cost.

1. Netflix US and Netflix Australia won’t have the exact same library.

A lot of the hype is that we’ll finally get the service that the Americans get. Unfortunately, Australia and New Zealand will most likely get shafted in the process.

As it stands right now, not even Netflix Canada has a library that comes close to the US library. NetflixCanadaVsUSA counts 4520 shows/movies to the 8929 by the US. NetflixUKVsUSA (presumably made by the same user) listed 3441 on the UK library compared to the 8929 in the US. With these numbers, Netflix Australia/New Zealand will be lucky to hit the 3500 mark.

While quantity might not equal quality, don’t expect to be up-to-date with our US counterparts.

2. We won’t be paying the same price. We’ll be paying more.

As of right now, I currently pay $3 for Getflix and $10.36 for a mid-tier Netflix package (2 screens, HD) a month ($13.36). Australians will more than likely have to pay approximately $15 p/m for the same package.

“Oh, but that’s only $1.14 extra a month!”

You may say this, but look at the point above. We’ll be paying more for a watered down, condensed Netflix, when you could pay less, apply a little bit of effort, and get full Netflix. For just under $14 p/m, I’ve personally fixed up my Wii U, PS3, PC and mobile phone to receive Netflix.

3. 4k shouldn’t be a selling point.

Netflix Australia has boasted 4k quality streaming. How many of you have a 4k TV lying around at home? How many are connected via ethernet cable for internet access?

4k is great, don’t get me wrong, but that benefit will apply to a very small amount of people who will be able to view it at that level. And don’t get me started on Australian internet. Oh boy.

4. Our internet might not be good enough/will cost too much.

So here’s the thing. When the Government (no political bashing here) opted for the FTTN NBN, most people would live within the 20-25 mbps radius of the connected node.

Currently, 4k compression is being adopted via the HEVC compression method (file size comparison below). This requires 12-20 mbps, according to StreamingMediaBlog‘s CES review.

HEVC compression. Photo credit: VisualEncina
HEVC compression. Photo credit: VisualEncina

While we most definitely have the ISPs to provide the speed necessary, it will come at a high price. Bigpond Cable currently offers 30 mbps download, with a paid upgrade to 100 mbps, with their NBN speeds reaching ‘up to 25 mbps’. The cheapest Bigpond Plan comes at $73 for a paltry 50GB a month.

Consider this. I use Netflix regularly. I’ve marathoned Parks and Rec, The Office and House of Cards and I’ve regularly reached my 200GB a month limit. Now imagine how little you could do that on the $73, 50GB a month plan.

Conclusion.

While I’m a huge fan of Netflix, I would wait before committing to such a service as what we’re most likely to get. The cheaper alternative just so happens to be the better option. It’s (probably going to be) cheaper and it has more content. There’s too much hype over a service that won’t be the one we want.

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