A Parents’ Guide to the Best Streaming Services for Families

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With Australians urged to stay at home and socially distance themselves, we’re all looking for things to do. This includes streaming movies and videos at home. It seems the number of streaming services has exploded in the last few months, particularly after Disney and Apple announced their streaming platforms late last year. From Netflix and Foxtel Now to Stan and Amazon Prime, we researched the best streaming platforms available in Australia, what they offer and how much they cost. We’ve also included free options that offer some shows for family viewing.

Disney+

The Disney+ streaming platform has been a winner with Australian families with millions of subscribers since it launched in November. All your family’s favourites are on Disney+. It’s streaming films and television series produced by The Walt Disney Studios and Walt Disney Television, along with offerings from Marvel, National Geographic, Pixar, and Star Wars brands. From animated classics and the latest live-action remakes like Lion King and Aladdin, there’s something for both kids and parents. Disney+ has even fast-tracked Frozen 2 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cost: You can start streaming DIsney+ with a 7-day free trial, then it’s $8.99 a month or $89.99 a year.

Netflix

This popular online streaming service Netflix has something for every member of the family. It has a massive selection of movies, TV shows, documentaries as well as its own original Netflix Original productions for both parents and kids. You’ll find loads of family favourites as well as discovering new shows from overseas. The fantastic movies from Japan’s Studio Ghibli are here included Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Services. There’s even a category of movies based on children’s books. Get kids to read the book first and then watch the movie. Also, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Netflix has added a large amount of family movies. You can watch the offerings on Netflix on web browsers, smart TVs, tablets, smartphones, and gaming consoles such as Xbox One and Playstation 4.

Cost: It’s $9.99 a month per month for one device streaming in standard definition, $13.99 per month for 2 devices streaming in high definition and $19.99 per month for up to 4 devices streaming in ultra-high definition.

Stan

Stan offers unlimited access to thousands of hours of entertainment, first-run exclusives, award-winning TV shows, blockbuster movies and kids content. Stan has all ages covered with a dedicated kid zone, featuring shows like Paw Patrol, Hey Duggee, Dora the Explorer and The PowerPuff Girls, along with popular movies like Matilda, Thomas and Friends, Hook, Annie, Red Dog: True Blue and more.

Cost: Try a 30 day free trial for Stan. From $10 a month afterwards. You can watch Stan on your computer, phone or tablet, Apple TV, Telstra TV, Optus Fetch, XBox One and on selected SmartTVs.

Amazon Prime

Not as popular as some of the other streaming services in Australia, Amazon Prime still offers a range of entertainment, You can join Amazon Prime to watch exclusive Amazon Originals like Fleabag, Star Trek Picard as well as popular movies and TV shows. For kids, there’s content from PBS Kids like Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood, Wild Kratts, Dinosaur Train and Odd Squad as well as new release Kids movies like the fast-tracked Onwards. Prime also includes free shipping on eligible items, exclusive access to deals and more.

Cost: Try a 30 day free trial for Amazon Prime. After your free trial, Amazon Prime is just A$6.99/month. Cancel anytime. You can enjoy Amazon Prime from the web or with the Prime Video app on your phone, tablet, or select Smart TVs — on up to 3 devices at once.

Apple TV+

If you’ve purchased an eligible iPhone, iPad, Apple TV or Mac in the past few months, you can sign up for a free year of AppleTV. There’s not a lot on this platform yet but there’s Snoopy in Space, Helpsters and a reboot of the kids show Ghostwriter (recommend this show to preteens). For parents, check out the MeToo-themed drama The Morning Show, produced by and starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston and Oprah’s Book Club.

Cost: 7 days free and then $4.99 a month per month.

Foxtel Now

Compared to the other streaming platforms, Foxtel Now is the most expensive. The Essentials (Pop and Lifestyle) is the base pack featuring all must-watch shows including Lifestyle, Comedy, Reality, Drama, News and Entertainment. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, effective from 26th March 2020 until 31 May 2020 Foxtel Now customers will have access to Drama Extra, Docos and Kids tiers on top of their Essentials, Pop or Lifestyle packs. Kids shows include SpongeBob SquarePants, PAW Patrol, Peppa Pig, Henry Danger, DC Super Hero Girls, and more! Alongside the best brands, including Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., CBeebies, Cartoon Network and Boomerang

Cost: New customers start with a free 10-day trial of all Foxtel Now content packs. You can then get the Essentials + Movies pack for $33.75/mth*  for 3 months. If you want to add the Kids pack, you’ll need to sign up for the Foxtel Now All Pack which is $104 per month and includes Sports, Movies, Drama, Kids & Documentaries.

Free Channels to Stream

ABC iView

Catch up on the best of ABC dramas, documentaries, comedies on ABC iView . For kids, there’s ABC Kids which has a ton of shows for preschoolers like The Wiggles, Bluey, Play School, Giggle & Hoot and specials like The Gruffalo and Gruffalo’s Child. For older kids, there’s ABC Me which has shows that school-aged kids will like.

SBS on Demand

There’s lots of great viewing for parents on SBS on Demand but no so much for kids. You’ll find a few G-rated animated movies for kids.

7Plus

Catch up on lots of TV shows on 7Plus including Dawson’s Creek, Grey’s Anatomy, and Packed to the Rafters. There’s also a large kids section including Beat Bugs, the Wild Adventures of Blinky Bill and Jay’s Jungle.

9Now

Catch up on lots of TV episodes on 9Now including Australian classics like McLeods’ Daughters and Sea Patrol. There’s also a large kids section including Alice-Miranda Friends Forever, LEGO friends, Teen Titans Go and Transformers.

10Play

Catch up on lots of TV episodes on 10Play including Australian dramas like Puberty Blues and The Secret Life of Us, reality shows and American shows. There’s also a large kids section including Bob the Builder, Care Bears & Cousins, Totally Wild and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Tubi

A free ad-supported video streaming service, Tubi has a range of movies and tv shows, some of which you’ve probably never heard of. The collection includes some really obscure and unforgettable movies. However, for kids they have The Wiggles: Wiggle House and The Wiggles: Furry Tales and Babar movies.

Kanopy

Available through your local library, Kanopy is the popular on-demand streaming service.  It includes Kanopy Kids to inspire and inform – ABC Kids, movies and TV series, classic tales, learning about science, math, nature, food and nutrition. 

Beamafilm

Stream the latest documentaries and indie feature films for free on Beamafilm. The site is home to over 400 award-winning documentaries, independent features and festival favourites. 


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