Netflix comes to Oz

Netflix comes to OZ

MAY 2015 | ALISTAIR CARR

A COMPANY called Netflixhas been in the news lately,but what exactly is it?

Netflix is a subscriptionbased video streaming servicethat provides on-demand video from a catalogue of TV shows and films. This means that, once you are subscribed, you can watch any of their advert-free videos at any time that suits you, without being tied to a time schedule.

You can watch these videos on any internet connected device that allows the installation of the Netflix app, provided you have a fast enough internet connection.

This includes desktop computers and laptops, Smart TVs, streaming media players like Apple TV; Chromecast and WD TV live (may need updating to the latest software); game consoles like the PS3 and 4 and Xbox (again may need updating); Smart phones; PVR set top boxes; and Blu Ray players.

If you have a Netflix icon on the screen, then your device should work. Thankfully, Netflix are currently offering a free try-out month for those interested in giving it a shot, but you will need to sign up with an email address to access the service.

Current costs are $8.99 a month for the basic package; $11.99 for the standard package; and $14.99 for the premium package.

The basic package is only standard definition while the standard package is high definition and the premium package is ultra high definition which requires a UHD TV or display to make the most of it.

Given there is little UHD content actually available for the premium package, it would seem pointless for a few years yet.

For internet connection, you need at least 3.Mbit per second for SD (basic) and 5Mbit per second for HD (standard). The slowest NBN fibre or NBN wireless connection will easily cope with these speeds. Long ADSL lines may not cope.

For the UHD premium package, you will need at least 25Mbit per second. Second tier fibre and fixed wireless connections will be right on the limit. In reality, a 50/20 or 100/40 fibre connection is best. ADSL is not going to cope with UHD. These are the bare minimum speeds and you should have at least 50% faster connection speeds for smooth playback.

There are downsides to Netflix. It can eat a lot of your data, especially HD and UHD so you need to check if your ISP allows Netflix traffic quota free on your particular internet connection plan.

SD quality uses about 700 megabytes per hour, HD uses about 3000 megabytes (3 Gigabytes) per hour and UHD consumes a massive 7000 megabytes (7 Gigabytes) per hour.

iinet and its subsidiaries have Quota free Netflix but this excludes Satellite, NBN wireless, Mobile Voice and Mobile Broadband.

Optus are also offering quota free on their fixed line broadband, but have also excluded mobile, NBN fixed wireless and Satellite.

For those that count Netflix traffic on your monthly quota, you will need a large or unlimited data plan.

Telstra are going their own way at the moment offering the Presto streaming service, which is similar to Netflix.

Happy viewing