There is no doubt that the advent of video streaming services has changed the way in which most of us watch television. The only show I watch on free-to-air now is the local news – everything else is via streaming services.
These video streaming services have many benefits – diverse content, no ads, relatively low cost, and watch what you want when you want. However, there are also a number of negatives and that’s what I’ll be discussing here.
Proliferation & Fragmentation
There are so many streaming services available now, and with them all vying for broadcasting rights, it has caused a certain amount of content fragmentation. I’ll give you a typical example – I am a huge football (soccer) fan and up until about three years ago, I could watch the English Premier League, European Champions League, UEFA Cup, and our local top-grade matches (the A-League) all through a single service. Now, those competitions are split between four different streaming services so, if I want to watch all those matches, I now have to pay four separate subscriptions rather than a single subscription.
Most of these streaming services do not provide new content anywhere near as frequently as I would like, and with some of the smaller libraries, it doesn’t take all that long to run out of material. The one exception is Netflix, which frequently provides new/fresh content. However, here in Australia, roughly 90% of that new content consists of foreign-language TV shows and movies.
Now, I can understand that producing content in foreign countries is probably a lot less expensive but, seriously, Netflix Australia has gone overboard with its foreign language content. Most of it is dubbed in English, of course, but while the dubbing is done quite well, those voice actors they employ are simply dreadful. Regardless of the storyline, when the dialogue isn’t delivered properly or realistically, it spoils the whole show. I am so fed up with all the new foreign content on Netflix, that I have already decided to cancel my subscription, at least for the time being.
And that brings me to the tactic of interchanging services. What I do is subscribe to a service for (say) 3- 4 months and once I’ve completed everything I want to watch, I cancel that subscription and subscribe to a different service, repeating that cycle every 3- 4 months or so. By the time I go back to a service (after 3- 4 months), there is usually a good selection of new content to watch.
Here’s how I rate each of the streaming services I subscribe to for providing new content:
Netflix 4/5 – Disney+ 3/5 – Prime Video 3/5 – Paramount+ 2/5 – Apple TV+ 1/5 – Stan 1/5
Streaming Service Menu Systems
I’m not sure if it’s just me but I find the majority of these streaming services’ menu systems unintuitive and tedious. I won’t go into detail because I’m sure you’ll each have your own pet peeves. Suffice it to say that I suspect these menu systems must have been designed by an out-and-out sadist. Here’s how I rate the menu systems for the streaming services I subscribe to:
Disney+ 4/5 – Stan 3/5 – Paramount+ 3/5 – Netflix 2/5 – Prime Video 2/5 – Apple TV+ 1/5
One thing I will say in Amazon Prime’s favor, when you click a title to view expanded details, that information includes the IMDB rating, which is a huge plus. I wish all the streaming services would include that rating, it’s such a great help when browsing through titles and looking for something decent to watch.
Even though I’ve had a bit of a moan, I do believe that the positives of streaming services well and truly outweigh the negatives and I could never go back to a free-to-air-only situation.
What streaming services do you subscribe to and how would you rate them?