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Stan

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4/5 User rating

stan.com.au

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Can you relate to that feeling when you can’t follow the buzz around something and end up missing the hype train? That has been my story with Stan – A leading Australian streaming service provider. I wish I would’ve believed their slogan, “The Biggest Deal in Entertainment” back when they started, so their present success wouldn’t come as a shocker.

Like many of you, I was an out-and-out Netflix guy until I heard of Stan. In the beginning, I wasn’t clamoring for this streaming service, to be honest, I didn’t believe that it was worth it let alone standing toe-to-toe with Netflix’s content. But once I gave Stan its time, I could really see what the buzz was all about. Today when I think about that period, I truly feel that I shouldn’t have carried the initial biasness against this streaming service.

History

Stan is an Australian streaming service that was launched in the Australian market just before Netflix entered the continent. Much to my surprise, not only did Stan beat Netflix to the local launch, but it has been able to carve its own niche in the Australian market.

After riding the initial storm, Stan has been able to establish itself and gain momentum amidst fierce competition from leading streaming services such as Amazon Prime, Disney+ and Netflix. Stan’s rise in Australia has been monumental as amidst tough competition, it has become the biggest Aussie streaming service boasting originals such as Logie Award-winning series ‘Bloom’, ‘Romper Stomper’, ‘Nu Activity’, ‘The Other Guy’ and ‘Wolf Creek to name a few.’

Design

I’m a stickler for user-interface. I don’t know about you but the web interface is a deciding factor for me when browsing content. Much to my pleasure, Stan’s interface is quite intuitive. Signing up doesn’t take more than a minute and overall design is pleasing to the eye.

More than the design, I like how they’ve grouped the categories which further simplifies the process of browsing and choosing content. Categories such as Movies, TV, Kids are well defined. These are further complemented by simple drop-down menus which help you to navigate through sub-genres, images, and titles.

Once you’ve chosen what you want to watch, you get a small synopsis about each episode followed by Cast and Genre details. If you haven’t decided yet, you can still scroll up and down and browse through the page in a hassle-free manner.

Content

No flex, but stan.com.au does have an expansive library featuring more than Thousands of Hours of Content. Though their content creation capacity is nowhere near Netflix, the library is still quite huge, to say the least.

They have deals with several international studios such as Paramount, Showtime and Sony Pictures for exclusive rights to their content which is why you can enjoy Big-name series such as Preacher, Get Shorty, Yellowstone, Doctor Who, Orphan Black, Dexter and Californication to name a few.

Stan.com.au also features popular ABC TV shows such as Janet King, Jack Irish, and Rake. If you happen to browse through its Movie and TV Library, you see that it does have something for everyone. From comedy classics such as Frontline, F.r.i.e.n.d.s and We Can Be Heroes to fresh US content such as iZombie, Billions, Younger and All American. I personally love Bloom and Power.

Desktop/Mobile Experience

My initial experience with Stan was nothing short of exceptional. Its super intuitive interface makes browsing content really easy. I was easily able to find the show I was looking for and was able to connect to my TV via Google Chromecast seamlessly. The moment I played the content, I could see the HD quality content without any latency issue. The movie wasn’t lagging at all and there was little to no buffer.

What I loved the most about Stan’s app was an indicator that showed how many episodes of a particular show have I already watched. Along with this intricate feature, Auto-playing consecutive episodes is another feature that caught my eye. All of it combined made up for a smooth viewing experience.

Mind you, everything wasn’t super smooth at first. I remember, back in 2016, Stan had compatibility issues when trying to connect the TV. Back then an Android or iOS smartphone was essential to browse the content library in addition to Chromecast or Apple TV media streaming services.

However, all of that has changed since the launch of the Stan app. Connection/Casting is no longer a hurdle as you can enjoy the streaming services on PS3, PS4 and Apple TV without any additional requirement. You can browse through the content library, directly on your TV. Little attention to details such as this one makes a lot of difference, in my opinion, making the app more user-friendly.

Video Quality

Generally, video quality provided by streaming services is pretty standard these days. The bar currently is set at 4K Ultra HD. I have a 32Mbps connection which makes up for a merry movie watching experience. If you want to enjoy Stan fully, you’d need at least 4Mbps for SD playback and up to 8 to 16Mbps for HD and 4K Ultra HD Quality respectively.

Similar to other streaming apps, Stan is able to adjust its quality depending upon the internet connection. Based upon my personal experience, I’d advise you to not even try the app if your internet speed is under 3Mbps because it’ll be excruciatingly frustrating. As for selecting the resolution, you can choose the quality in the player view. And remember that if you’re casting the content on your TV, you’d really want to stick with the HD or 4K version for a decent viewing experience.

Pricing

I love streaming sites with no contracts which follow an all-you-can-eat model. This type of plan and pricing format has achieved great success around the world. In Stan’s case, its simplicity is its biggest strength. It has a three-tier plan and pricing. First – Entry-level plan at $10/month for a single device. Second – the standard plan starts at $14/month which allows you to watch HD content on three devices. You can also opt for a premium plan of $17/month which allows you to enjoy the content in 4K Ultra HD quality on four devices which is still one less than Netflix’s 5 devices.

Before moving forward, I’d like to clarify that Stan has a limited content available in 4K quality as compared to Netflix. Thus, if 4K Ultra HD quality is the least you’re expecting, I’d urge you to check out the shows before committing to a plan. Also, make sure you’re on an unlimited or a low-cost broadband plan as data consumption and quality might add up quickly without realization.

In my opinion, you should try the 30-day trial and experience it for yourself. If you feel, the content on Stan is worth it then you can go ahead and start with a $10/month entry-level plan. Signing up takes less than half a minute and you can start streaming within the next 2 minutes.

Suggestions that I have for the site

I’d like to tell the developers to keep pushing harder in regard to original content creation. Though it’s currently Australia’s favorite streaming service, a slight hiccup in relevancy is all it takes to fall down the pecking order. Furthermore, there’s a need to add blockbuster content which can help Stan go global.

Lastly, I’d like to give a huge shoutout to Stan’s amazing customer support. A couple of months back I had a technical issue that froze the streaming service. I dropped them an email and got an instant reply. Not only did they troubleshoot my problem, but they also advised me how to make sure that the problem doesn’t occur again. So, Michael from Stan.co.au, thanks for your support.

Conclusion

Though I underestimated it first, I’d like to admit that Stan is one of those unique streaming sites which keeps its customers at the forefront. Not only is it providing top-quality content at an affordable price, it’s also ensuring that every user has a smooth streaming experience from start till the end. From user-interface to content browsing, from genre sorting or customer service, my experience with this streaming service has been nothing short of exceptional.

Likes & Hates:
Wide range of content buckets to choose from. Unlimited access to genres of movies and TV series from Australia and around the world.
You can stream up to 4k ULTRA HD quality and can also download it and watch offline
Allows ad-free steaming with connection up to 4 devices
No lock-in contract after the 30-day free trial. You can opt-out anytime you want
Original content has room for improvement
Some persistent bugs make the service lag sometimes
Needs more blockbuster content if it’s to compete with Disney+ or Netflix in the long run