Last month, Netflix launched in Australia. Although there have been other companies such as Stan and Presto jostling to get into the online streaming space, Netflix is the one that many people have been waiting for. After all, it’s the company that started the online streaming trend, and is only growing. So here, we answer the most common questions about Netflix, and online streaming in general.

Everything above sounded like nonsense. What is Netflix?

Netflix lets you watch TV shows and movies online. The idea is simple–log on, select what you want to watch, and start watching as your internet allows. It’s pretty much like YouTube, but with better streaming technology and deals with big companies to provide you with content for your viewing pleasure. There are other companies like Stan and Presto that do the same thing, but Netflix is the most well-known.

What if I don’t have internet, can I still watch?

Then you’re bang out of luck. Video streaming services don’t allow you to download content to watch offline, and Netflix has already said that it’s never going to happen. There are, of course, some (rather clunky) ways around it, such as recording your desktop or using other, specific software to record the stream as it plays, but note that this is a violation of Netflix’s Terms of Service.

If you want to watch offline, you’re better off purchasing the content yourself.

Okay, what if I have a data limit for my internet?

In your account page, you can set the playback settings to Auto, Low, Medium or High. It goes without saying that “Low” will use the least data while “High” will use the most. “Auto” changes the quality of the picture as you watch, depending how fast your internet is running. It’s the default setting, but not so good if you have fast internet and not much data!

My friends overseas have told me to watch Series X or Movie Y on Netflix, but I can’t find them! Where are they?

Content on Netflix varies from region to region, depending on the rights that Netflix can secure for each country. In Australia, many shows have already been signed to competitors, Free-To-Air TV or Foxtel with exclusive rights. What this basically means for you and me is that many shows which are available on Netflix in the USA or UK, for example, will not be available on Netflix Australia. You’ll have to sign up to other services (and yes, pay for them as well) in order to access said content.

That sucks.

Yes, yes it does.

Netflix says they’re continually updating their content, but there’s not much they can do about shows and movies where exclusive rights have been signed to others.

Is there anything I can do about it?

You could look into a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which make you look like you’re browsing from a different country. GetFlix, UnoTelly and Unblock US are some examples. They charge a small fee, but are simple to use– a quick install on your browser or mobile and you’re good to go. There are some free VPNs, but they may compromise your internet security. If Netflix thinks you’re browsing from a different country, the content in Netflix changes accordingly.

…Not that we condone this, of course.

How do I see everything that’s on Netflix?

Unfortunately, Netflix won’t show you a full content list. You’ll only get to view a small cross-section based on movies and series that you’ve rated. You can also search for a specific title, person or genre, and I believe the search algorithm isn’t bad. There’s also a great site which has a list of all content on Netflix with daily updates on any new content.

How much does Netflix cost?

Netflix Australia has three plans.

  1. Standard-definition only, streaming to a single device – $8.99
  2. High-definition, streaming to two devices – $11.99
  3. 4K ultra-high-definition (and HD and SD), streaming to four devices – $14.99

Here’s a little tip, the four devices don’t have to be at the same address, so you may want to consider the $14.99 plan split with up to three other friends. Each of you gets your own profile, so you don’t need to worry about being recommended gross shows thanks to your best friend’s weird interest in slugs. It comes to $3.75 a month, which you have to admit is pretty good value!

Featured image: Bugger Project 365 Day 276

Do you have any other questions about Netflix or online streaming? Any tips to get the best value out of such services? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!