Foxtel’s new online movie streaming service ‘Presto’ will be arriving on March 13 with prices starting at $19.99 per month. The service gives users unlimited access to the Foxtel Movies archive and seven live movie channels. New titles can be accessed on a pay-per-view basis. So is it worth the money? Lets see how the service stacks up against other no-contract offerings.
What is it and how much does it cost?
Presto is an all-you-can-eat video streaming service that focuses exclusively on movies. It draws on Foxtel’s seven live movie channels — Movies Premiere, Movies Comedy, Movies Drama/Romance, Movies Thriller/Crime, Movies Action/Adventure, Movies Family and Movies Masterpiece — along with its archive of on-demand videos. There’s also a pay-per-view service for new release movies that will presumably cost around the same as other rental platforms (i.e. — between $5 and $7 per title).
The studios that have signed on for Foxtel’s movie service make for an impressive roster: MGM, NBCUniversal, Paramount Pictures, Roadshow Films, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, The Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Hopscotch Entertainment One, ICON, Studiocanal and Transmission Films are all current partners. In other words, you can expect to find the majority of major box office releases on the service.
Originally pitched at a rather steep $24.99 per month, Foxtel has since revised its pricing to $19.99. You can also try out the service for one month at an introductory price of $4.99. One of the biggest drawcards of Presto is that there’s no lock-in contract; you’re free to take your business elsewhere at the end of any given month.
Unlike some streaming platforms (including Foxtel’s own Play service) Presto can only be accessed through a PC, Mac or compatible iPad. In other words, there’s no smart TV or console app to get content beamed directly to your television screen. Non-iOS mobile users are also out of the loop, although an Android tablet app is apparently in the works.
Details are currently a bit scant on what constitutes a ‘Presto Rental’ pay-per-view title. Will these be brand-new releases fresh off the cinema screen? Or will customers have to rent everything that’s less than a year old? Only time will tell.
The official Foxtel press release made zero mention of HD content, which doesn’t bode well. Oh, and you’ll also be injecting more cash into Rupert Murdoch’s coffers, which seems to put certain people off.
There are a stack of streaming services available in Australia, but most either involve a lock-in contract or stick to a pay-per-view model. Here are a few options on the market that Presto will soon be competing against. [Note: We’ve eschewed services that require a lock-in contract, a specific ISP plan or geo-blocking circumvention.]
Foxtel Play is the company’s other no-contract streaming service. Unlike Presto, it provides access to a full suite of Foxtel Pay TV content, including popular shows like Mad Men, Girls, House of Cards, True Blood and Game Of Thrones. Pricing starts at $25 per month, although to get the good stuff (including Game Of Thrones) you need to pay around $35 per month. That’s a significant leap from Presto’s $19.99 per month. That said, if you enjoy TV shows as much as movies, Foxtel Play definitely brings more to the table. For more information, check out our complete Foxtel Play guide.
Quickflix started out life as a DVD rental service but has since branched into online movie streaming. Quickflix’s streaming service is available on computers, TVs, Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. Unlimited streaming starts at $14.99 per month. That’s $5 less than what Presto is charging although the movie selection is likely to be smaller. On the plus side, you do get access to TV shows and the option of renting DVDs and Blurays at no extra charge, if you’re into that sort of thing. You can also get a free three week trial.
iTunes is the go-to streaming service for Apple users looking to rent or buy movie downloads. It also allows you to download purchased movies to any compatible device through iTunes In The Cloud. Prices vary depending on the release date and popularity of the title, with new films typically commanding a rental price $5.99. You can also opt to buy movie downloads outright for around $25. There’s no all-you-can eat option though, which makes this a costlier option in the long run.
The Google Play store allows you to rent movies or buy them outright with new releases going for $24.99 and $29.99 (for standard-definition and Full HD, respectively). You can watch your movies on most Android devices and compatible IPTVs. Like iTunes, the main drawback to Google Play is that you can’t pay a flat monthly fee to access as many movies as you like.
Free ad-based services
If you’re looking for a legal way to get free online movies, you could try one of the advertising models offered in Australia, which provide on-demand movies interspersed with revenue-generating adverts. Two of the most popular services are Viewster and the Sony-backed Crackle. As you’d expect, the movie selection on offer is extremely limited and the quality is very hit-and-miss. Still, if you’re not too fussed about what you watch and don’t mind the occasional advert, it’s hard to argue with the price tag.
Lifehacker’s weekly Streaming column looks at how technology is keeping us entertained.