Australia's Best (Legal) Online Movie Services

Yesterday, we looked at the best streaming and catch-up services for TV shows. Today, we take a look at the movie equivalents, from Apple TV to BigPond Movies.

TV Movie picture from Shutterstock

Some of these services provide online streaming to movies while others achieve similar results via downloadable rentals. All of them are viable options if you're looking for affordable, legal access to thousands of movies.

BigPond Movies

BigPond Movies is a movie rental service available via Telstra's T-Box DVR or a compatible IPTV and broadband connection. The service provides access to over 4,000 movies with new releases starting at $5.99 per rental. Telstra customers also receive unmetered movie downloads, which means it won't count towards your monthly internet data allowance.

Mubi

Mubi is a movie streaming service for the Sony PlayStation Network that focuses on cult movies and world cinema. If your tastes lean towards the off-beat and weird, this is a service unlike any other (it even has Harmony Korine's Trash Humpers). A monthly subscription through your PlayStation 3 costs $4.99 a month.

Fetch TV

Fetch TV is a movie streaming service available from internet service providers iiNet, Optus, Adam Internet and Internode and others. The entry-level service provides 30 free movies on demand at any time, with seven new titles added each week. Pricing varies from ISP to ISP, but tends to start at around $10 per month.

Quickflix

Quickflix started out life as a DVD rental service but has since branched into online movie streaming. Its WatchNow service has amassed more than 120,000 subscribers. Quickflix WatchNow is available on computers, TVs, Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. Unlimited streaming costs $14.95 per month.

iTunes

iTunes is the go-to streaming service for Apple users looking to rent or buy movie downloads. One of the best enhancements introduced in iOS 5 and higher also allows you to download purchased movies through Apple 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.

Google Play

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.

Free and legal?

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, which offers a selection of Warner Bros. films and the Sony-backed Crackle. As you'd probably expect, the movie selection on offer isn't typically the cream of the crop, but hey, it's free. You can read more about how Viewster works here.

Coming attractions...

If you're willing to bide your time a bit longer, there are some rather tempting looking services just around the corner.

Cinema chain Hoyts is preparing to launch its own streaming service later in the year, imaginatively titled Hoyts Stream. The service will offer new movie releases on a pay-per-view basis, although there will also be an all-you-can-watch option for serious cinephiles. Technology partner Viocorp will handle ICT duties. Details on pricing, availability and compatible devices currently remain a mystery, however.

Foxtel is also preparing to launch a new internet delivered TV service dubbed Foxtel Play. The new service — which will offer “premium” movie channels — will be available for a range of TVs, consoles and mobile devices with no lock-in contracts. Foxtel Play will be available in June across 3G/4G networks and WiFi connections.


Comments

    Six bucks per rental is not reasonable. In the old days I could get 3 videos for a week for less.

      really? 20 years ago I was renting new releases for about $6 overnight, weeklies that you're talking about were always the old movies.

        Yep, this. New releases were frequently around $5-$6 overnight, sometimes more than that. The weekly movies were all the older ones.

        Last edited 26/03/13 2:26 pm

          Also none of you have, it seems taken into account cost of living increases during this time or if you have you haven't stated it.

            What's that got to do with anything?

              logic, that is all

              but maybe he meant inflation?
              so technically movies have gone down in price/cost, whilst staying the same dollar amount.

                Yeah I'm failing to see his point here.

                  really you are failing to see his point about inflation in regards to movie rentals costing the same as they did 20 years ago when everything else in life has doubled or tripled or worse... okay, maybe you just shouldn't be posting then.

                  @chrisco

                  This is the problem with the argument. Inflation would mean movie rentals actually cost MORE today, not less or the same amount. If you want to make that argument we are actually paying significantly less for movie rentals than we used to 20 years ago.

                  Last edited 27/03/13 11:03 am

                  Yay! You finally got there in the end. Although, I still kind of think that you no idea what inflation is, given your other posts on the topic. You also have to take into account changes in technology, cheaper prices for VCR/DVD/Blu-ray players and that the price of a movie is at least $10 cheaper than it was 20 years ago. We'll save that for another day, just focus on understanding inflation for the timebeing.

            We're all smart enough to realise inflation means our $6 today is worth less than is was 20 years ago, so my point inferred that having the same prices as 20 years ago isn't actually not as unreasonable as the OP stated it was.

            Last edited 26/03/13 3:54 pm

          Yeah but you're comparing having a large shop, having employees, having security, and managing a physical product that degrades each time its used to (basically) a web site.

            because websites and data centres with high volume data traffic with employees to maintain everything to ensure services are provided flawlessly without hiccup are free...

              I work for a company providing a similar service to the state of Victoria. We have the one premises in a semi-industrial area and employ roughly 30 people. While it's certainly not free, I imagine it would be significantly cheaper than a statewide retail chain. Blockbuster has roughly 120 retail stores in Victoria which im approximating would have close to 10 employees per store, thats 1,200 employees in the state!

        I used to run a video store and our weekend rates on new releases was $6.50/night and weeknights were $4.50/night, with discounted deals for more than one hire. But the majority of customers would always use vouchers which was usually the Blockbusters $2.95 new release overnight.

    Have you guys written an article on why Hulu or Netflix hasn't come to Australia yet? My assumptions are because of Foxtel but I may be wrong.

      Specifically the owners of the content i.e. HBO, FOX etc are either uninterested in providing them to us direct through Hulu/Netflix or they're still making more profit selling it to Australian broadcasters to air at a later date.

    xbox movies???? what about the services on SMART Tv's, or Blu Ray players???

    I have been an avid customer of Xbox Movies enjoying most new releases in 1080p (yes that's right 1080p, not 1080i) streamed in real time over cable. Including 5.1 DD.

    But lately due to slow downs in the streams on popular nights (Friday and Saturday) it has been saying that my connection isn't fast enough to stream (*cough* 100Mbit Cable *cough*) so I have resorted to browsing and renting HD movies off iTunes and playing them on my TV Through the iPad HDMI plug, not DD 5.1 though and I am not even sure if its 1080p, most likely 720p... but still goo quality and downloads of 4GB HD movies are typically done in 30mins or less.

    Pricing seems about right, maybe $1 too dear but thats ok.

      sorry buddy but just because its 1080p doesnt mean its the best. Compress of source material is also a huge part of the quality issue of some services. Resolution isn't everything.

        true, but the compressed source from apple tv since they introduced the new compression format has been fantastic, you must have the latest apple tv though to get 1080p.

      Hi Symo,

      i believe 1080p 5.1 is achieved through an apple tv, which i have been using, I only watch content if its legal and the best quality, apple tv has been great, I purchased game of thornes season 1-3 on bluray, now watching season 4 on apple tv, and cant tell much difference between the two formats, if any.

    Why no Xbox Videos ??? They actually offer decent resolution as opposed to Quickflix et al.

    Best legal 'grey area' options (with unblocking service):

    Hulu
    Netflix

    Last edited 26/03/13 3:31 pm

    I love the need to put "(legal)" in the title. I think Giz may be implying the illegal route may be better. ;)

    I rent movies from the PlayStation Store just because it's probably the easiest option for me.

    can someone save me some hunting around and let me know if any of these feature unmetred downloads on the Optus network?

      Unless you ask the twitter monkeys @Optus, I can tell you that nothing is unmetred on OptusNet.

    Someone just needs to launch a service that streams tv shows as they air (maybe movies at some point as well). Anyone launches a halfway good streaming tv show service they can just take my money. until then usenet and so that im not totally ripping off the producers of content netflix/hulu subscription.

    Missing both Xbox Video and Foxtel on Demand.

    Really though, I can go to Blockbuster and rent a new release Bluray for $3, or pay $6-$8 to watch a compressed "HD" movie online?

      I tried the free month foxtel on demand and found the picture/audio quality horrible, i tried through ipad, ps3/ps4/xbox.

    Seriously... No mention of Zune/Xbox video rentals or purchase... Lets not forget that Xbox is the #1 Australian console and this service is in all Windows 8 computers now being sold.

    I just tried Viewster.. It's unwatchabe as there are Too many adverts.. too often.. FAIL!!!

    "Quickflix ....Unlimited streaming costs $14.95 per month."
    Two problems:
    1) I'm never going to spend more than 10 seconds looking at a site that forces me to 'join up' before I can even see what titles they have available.
    2) $24.99 per month.... with a $12.99 Joining Fee.

    Is it really surprising that torrents and dodgy share sites are more popular than these tedious business models that make it obvious they think we are all just wallets with an idiot attached?

    price of less than two dvds/month (rental) on netflix with vpn.

    Last edited 26/03/13 5:39 pm

    I know you guys get a bad rap for Mac by some readers....but on this topic you are far from it. I don't get why you keep referring to iTunes as mostly a Mac thing (please don't reply with the obvious responses). It works really well on PC and can be streamed to your AppleTV box, and you can save you files, and watch on your PC....I don't get why you seem so anti-this. Sure, the range is limited (at the Aussie cf US store) and the prices are higher (at the Aussie cf US store) but its not hard to set up an international account...and still pay the local going rate for TV, movies and music.

    I find it cheaper and easier to actually hire movies from Blockbuster. Seeing as I am not with a ISP that has unmetred access to a handful of sites, and that sometimes my DSL2 connection can turn to arse pretty quickly, I find that the 10 minutes spent in the Blockbuster across from work to equal the same time I would spend looking on Xbox video for a movie to watch, and it works out cheaper too. Way cheaper. The prices they are charging for streaming rental is insane, and they try to say that it is better. Sure, if the disc doesn't play I can get my money back, but how many hoops do you have to jump through to get your Mircosoft Ponits back in a movie fails to play on your xbox, or whatever your watching it on? Great now I am starting to sound like Grandpa Simpson.

    What this article needs is a table. It would be good to see what features each service offers, what platforms each service works on, price comparisons, etc. It would also be good to get some real world reviews of how they perform, are we getting surround sound, are there visible compression artefacts, is there buffering problems, how large each movie is on average, things like that which really impact on how you actually can use these services.

      Add recommended real minimum bandwidth.

      Last edited 28/08/13 1:04 pm

    This article is all well and good, but it's the content that matters. I'll pay for a service if it has a great range of new and old across as many distributors as possible. I believe many distributors have specific deals with specific services and I'm not such a fan of just having Sony or just having Universal movies available through a service. Perhapsyou couldinidcate which distributors are available on which services?

    You should have added Foxtel in this.

    I'm not trying to sell it (even though I do that as a job, free Foxtel is awesome!) but as far as movie rental from their On Demand store goes, price wise they pretty much win.

    If you're not familiar with how their On Demand works, it's like this.
    It's made up of three selections:

    Featured: The occasional snippet of an upcoming series/a couple movies for free every now and again.

    Catch Up: If you have the $25 movie package, they add a large selection of movies for free to download also TV shows and sports.
    It's updated I believe every two days, a really nifty feature.

    Rental: It contains New Releases Movies, an online movie store, TV shows to rent, Main Event selection with boxing/wrestling and a porn rental service.
    They can range from about $2.95 to anywhere up to $6 with around 24/48 hours of rental time.

    My only gripe with it is that the movie selection could be a lot better but it's really aimed at middle aged business people because that's the main base of it, the ones that are willing to fork out about $120 a month for the premium service, mainly because of the sport coverage too.
    I hate and no nothing of sport but what I hear it's meant to be the best in Australia.

    Please try http://www.accessfullmovies.com/, it’s as cheap as $3.33 a month! It's amazing........

      sounds similar to this scam
      http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1383425

    http://downloadfreemovies.so/ is the best till i know

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    Hi, check also this site: http://publicdomainmoviesonline.blogspot.com

    I have come here while browsing around for a decent HD download (we are on ADSL2+ unlimited) service.

    We have been with Moviebase for a while, where they only have Blurays . As with any postal rental place, we are at the mercy of the demand vs number of copies issue that means we can't be sure we will get what we would like when we want it, making it hard to plan shared watching times.

    We have tried Google Play a couple of times, so that we could guarantee having a movie we wanted to watch together, using a Note 3 into a TV via a MHL-HDMI adapter, after downloading via WiFi-ADSL2+. Worked well though hiccups do occur at times. Not all HD are Full HD though. However, once downloaded, it can only be played on the same device.

    Unless some decent HD streaming/download site comes online soon, we may just get a couple of cheap Android devices (tablets or dongles) to use into TVs, swapping them as required when we want to watch at separate times.

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