Most of the big streaming services available in Australia, like Netflix, STAN, Binge, and Foxtel, are targeting viewers of all ages with something for the whole family.
I’ve watched shows on the BBC / ITV Britbox streaming service during the close of this year to give readers an idea of what to expect if they sign up.
To sum up what’s on offer, they are largely British dramas (mostly police / mystery) and classic comedies, with a sprinkling of other shows, all of which aim to appeal to viewers who are in the age range of 40. years to retirement age.
For those who think this is an unfair description, the current Highlights reel when you log into Britbox Australia promotes coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show, The Great British Sewing Bee, Doctor Who (all episodes from 1963 to now), four mystery shows of murders and a comedy about a 50-year-old widower.
Some shows like Cracker, Wire in the Blood, and Prime Suspect are over 20 years old. These old series have a fairly variable video quality that has a 4: 3 ratio and the audio quality also varies, some have subtitles and some do not.
By comparison, newer shows like Silent Witness Seasons 1-9 from the beginning of this century have relatively good DVD quality audio and video and newer shows like Endeavor and Line of Duty Season 6 have solid HD quality with clear sound. . To my knowledge, there is no 4K content on Britbox and no premium audio codecs, such as Dolby Atmos.
Britbox might not be able to do much for old standard definition shows that don’t look very good on a large 4K TV, but maybe if they remastered some of their older shows they would scale it up.
Since its launch nearly a year ago in Australia, Britbox has added new content like the All Creatures Great and Small reboot, as well as exclusive streaming rights for Line of Duty season 6, so it’s not just old content.
However, mentioning Line of Duty reveals Britbox’s main problem. The BBC and ITV love to earn income from their existing offerings that compete with streaming services, so you don’t need Britbox to watch Line of Duty seasons 1-5 as they’re all on STAN, Netflix, and Acorn. .
If you haven’t heard of ACORN, is another niche TV streaming service. A problem for Britbox has many British TV shows, as well as exclusive rights to Agatha Christie’s Poirot and quite a few shows that Britbox has, for example BBC’s Line of Duty seasons 1-5 and ITV’s Midsomer Murders.
Since many BBC and ITV shows are already licensed for existing Australian pay TV channels like BBC First, UK TV and streaming services including Netflix, STAN, Foxtel and the Free to Air update apps, this means that key British shows like Coronation Street and Eastenders are not on Britbox. Australia and dilutes the value of the Britbox service when many of its programs are available elsewhere.
Hopefully the BBC and ITV will follow Disney + ‘s lead, letting many of these content licenses expire and switching these shows to Britbox, rather than having their shows chunked across different Australian streaming and pay TV platforms.
Despite some drawbacks, Britbox is definitely worth subscribing to if you are over 40 and into British dramas and comedies, especially if you want to mentally escape regularly by watching a classic old-fashioned TV show like Helen Mirren on Prime Suspect or a newer program. set in a COVID time off several decades ago as Endeavor.
BritBox is available to Australians for $ 8.99 per month, or $ 89.99 for a 12-month subscription. after a 7-day free introductory trial. BritBox is available via the web, iPhone, iPad, Android smartphones and tablets, Chromecast, Apple TV (4th generation and newer), Samsung Smart TV, LG Smart TV, Telstra TV, and Fetch. Unfortunately, there is no Android TV app yet.