UPDATE: It took a while, but the Binge app is finally available for download on PS4 and PS5 consoles. The review below has been updated to reflect the device compatibility upgrade.
One minute review
Following the success of Kayo Sports, Foxtel saw fit to launch another streaming service in the Australian market, this time offering a more accessible and affordable alternative to its own Foxtel Now platform.
Like Foxtel Now, Binge takes advantage of the News Corp-owned company’s partnership with WarnerMedia, which means it is able to offer a huge selection of TV shows and movies, many of them from the famous TV channel. pay American HBO.
Add to that the company’s ongoing partnerships with NBC Universal, FX, BBC and Sony and you have an impressive catalog of TV series and movies to choose from.
While this is great news for anyone looking to revisit Entourage or relive the disappointment of the last few seasons of Games of Thrones, we still don’t know if Binge plans to release any new, fast-track episodes of current HBO shows.
Add to that a lack of the features we’ve come to expect from our premium streaming services (4K streams, offline viewing) and a paltry selection of compatible playback devices at launch, and it’s clear Binge still needs a bit. working before it can live up to Netflix and Disney Plus.
- Three Binge pricing tiers available (AU $ 10 / AU $ 14 / AU $ 18 per month)
- Price comparable to Netflix and Stan
- SD and HD streams only – no 4K streaming on the horizon
Upon signing up for its initial 14-day free trial, Binge users will have the option to subscribe to one of three tiers. Once this trial period is over, you will be automatically billed for the package you have chosen, unless canceled beforehand.
Much more competitive than other Foxtel-branded services, which cost at least AU 25 per month, Binge’s lower price allows viewers to start streaming from just AU 10 per month, which allows you to get a single stream in standard definition.
For those of us who have switched from CRT TVs, the top tier offers two simultaneous high definition streams at AUD 14 per month, while a third and final tier allows users to stream to four devices simultaneously in HD for AUD 18 per month. month. Unfortunately, there is no plan for a level of 4K streaming at this point.
Australia’s streaming landscape is also very competitive thanks to the recent launch of Apple TV Plus and Disney Plus – and considering that Disney offers four simultaneous 4K streams for a monthly price of just AU $ 8.99, Binge is starting. to feel less competitively priced in the larger framework of things.
tv shows and movies
- Excellent selection of shows – especially when it comes to HBO
- Impressive lineup of blockbuster films
- Little exclusive, new or original content
As previously mentioned, Binge is second to none when it comes to its HBO catalog offerings, offering full seasons (and sometimes series) for many of the best shows on the network.
If the words “back catalog” jumped out at you earlier, we are not surprised. As large as Binge’s library of HBO shows is, the platform’s focus on binge-watching full seasons means we’re not sure if you’ll see any new episodes of ongoing shows added here each year. week, as with the more expensive Foxtel streaming services.
Since the launch of Binge, we’ve noticed that new episodes of HBO’s current shows are coming more or less weekly. Some shows appear a day or two after they air on Foxtel, while others, such as HBO’s docuseries I’ll Be Gone In the Dark, are put on the service as a full season at a later date.
Also, given that the platform focuses on binge-watching shows until completion, it’s a bit of a disappointment to spot shows in its library with seasons missing. For example, we imagine that it would be difficult for newcomers to get stuck in the Supergirl series when its first season is not available on the platform.
Oddly enough, we also noticed that HBO’s classic western series Deadwood is also missing from the service, although the recent Deadwood: The Movie, which wraps up the details of the series, is available to stream.
We’re imagining there’s an in-game licensing issue here, as Deadwood is apparently the only HBO series available to stream on competing service Stan.
Help with omissions, we’re pretty impressed with the thoroughness of Binge’s HBO (and Cinemax) offerings, with beloved older shows like Band of Brothers, Generation Kill, The Wire, Rome, The Sopranos, and Sex and the City all present and represented, as well as some of the network’s most recent hits, such as The Undoing, Lovecraft Country, The Deuce, Watchmen, Big Little Lies and Succession.
Of course, Binge isn’t limited to its partnership with HBO – the service also offers a wide variety of scripted shows from other networks, including new teen favorites like Batwoman and Katy Keene, as well as more adult fare. like Halt and Catch Fire, Mr. Robot, Atlanta and Devs.
Additionally, lifestyle and reality shows are well represented, from Top Chef and Flip Wars to The Great British Bake Off and Keeping Up with the Kardashians. That said, if you’re hoping to binge on these shows early on, you’ll find that the missing seasons issue discussed earlier is even more prevalent here – only a handful of Keeping Up With the Kardashians season 18 episodes are available. to stream on Binge, and most of the other reality shows on the service don’t deliver in the same way as the last season.
In terms of cinematography, Binge offers a wide selection of recent Hollywood films, as well as a number of old school classics. True to its binge-watching orientation, the service offers several movie collections called Binge Centers that bring together movies from well-known franchises, like the Fast and Furious sagas or Jason Bourne, and renowned directors, like Quentin Tarantino.
- The interface is fluid and visually appealing
- User experience is sometimes a bit clunky
- Missing at launch, closed captions are now available
Right off the bat, Binge impresses with a sleek interface which, with the exception of Kayo, makes Foxtel’s other apps look outdated in comparison. On the TV app and on the web, the Binge, Home, Movies, Shows, and BingeList (Binge version of a watchlist) sections are listed at the top of the screen. On the Binge mobile app, these sections are listed at the bottom.
Huge color images adorn every show and movie on the service (although you may notice that many of them are stretched due to incorrect aspect ratios), with easy-to-spot buttons to watch or resume content. , as well as specific programs and movies to your BingeList.
Similar to the layout of Disney Plus, Binge lists episodes horizontally, allowing the user to scroll left to right in a very easy to follow manner. To keep things simple, viewers can select a season for the show they are watching just above the vertical episode list.
In the upper right corner of Binge’s interface, users have access to a search bar, a button to stream content, and access to My Binge, which hosts users’ account and profile settings.
Like Netflix and Disney Plus, Binge easily offers multiple user profiles per active account, allowing everyone in your household to create their own BingeList and watch shows at their own pace.
While Binge’s interface makes a great first impression, the service’s complete lack of captioning or closed captioning options was a huge disappointment at launch. Thankfully, Binge has since remedied that omission, having added closed captions to a slew of shows and movies, with the promise of more to come.
And, after spending a few weeks with the service, we found that the user experience was lacking in a few key areas. Annoyingly, Binge often has trouble remembering where you were in an episode or movie, whether watching on TV or in an app.
During our review period, we watched all of HBO’s Ballers and found that the app often didn’t remember which episodes we watched, forcing us to follow ourselves.
Every once in a while we would exit an episode towards the end of its run, only to find ourselves very close to the beginning by pressing the Resume button. For Chromecast users, this is even more frustrating as it means removing your phone again and going through the episode to try and find where you left off.
After spending some time using Binge’s Android TV app as well, we found the experience to be somewhat slow and awkward, with button presses often taking a few moments to register on the screen, leading us to unexpected areas of the application.
- Little choice of compatible devices at launch
- No offline viewing whatsoever
- The Binge app is now available for PlayStation consoles
While Binge does a lot of things at this early stage, arguably its biggest flaw is its lack of support for compatible devices. At launch, users could only stream to iOS and Android devices, Apple TV, Telstra TV, and Android TV. Additionally, users can also stream the service through Chromecast and a web browser.
Fortunately, this was mitigated somewhat by the arrival of a native app for all Samsung Smart TVs 2017-2020, allowing owners of these TVs to browse Binge on their TV screen with a remote control.
Sadly, the Binge app is still missing from many other TV brands, including LG and Hisense, which means owners of those TVs will have to purchase a Chromecast device and control the app from their phones, which sounds slightly ridiculous. in 2020.
Fortunately, Binge has finally made its debut on gaming consoles with the arrival of the streaming app on PS4 and PS5. That said, Xbox owners will have to continue to wait for now, as there has been no announcement yet regarding support for Microsoft’s game consoles.
It’s also worth noting that Binge does not offer offline viewing in any form – a feature available in several of Australia’s major streaming services, including Netflix, Disney Plus, Stan, and Amazon Prime Video.
Without the ability to download shows and movies to your devices, the only option you have to continue your binge-watching session away from a Wi-Fi network, such as on public transport, is to burn your cellular data. – which is not an ideal situation. .
Do I have to subscribe to Binge?
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