Quickflix Australia Review
Quality of Video Stream5
Content on Offer4.5
Value for Money7
Long before Netflix arrived on the Australian on-demand scene, and before Stan or even Presto, Australia had one lone bastion of on-demand delivery and it was called Quickflix. So let’s see what this time advantage has given the grandfather of Australian IPTV over its other local competitors.
Quickflix started way back in 2003 in sun-drenched Perth when like Netflix, it used to concentrate purely on physical media distribution by post. It wasn’t until 2011 that it began rolling out its online delivery, and it is their online subscription service which we will concentrate with on this review.
It’s worth noting that like Amazon Prime and Wuaki.tv, Quickflix also provides a pay-as-you-go catalogue as well, but what interests us the most is their subscription service that competes directly with Netflix, Presto and Stan in the local market.
Quickflix’s subscription service costs AU$9.99 per month, and can be cancelled at any time with no long-term commitments. This price range places it in a similar position to Netflix and Stan, and a little cheaper than Presto.
As of 14.05.2015, Quickflix has announced that it will partner with Presto to deliver their subscription library. This review is based on the existing Quickflix as it stands today. It will naturally be updated as soon as possible after the changes go live.
Video quality is somewhat of a hit and miss with Quickflix. Unlike their competitor Presto, Quickflix actually includes HD streams, but it is a rather confusing affair as to which platforms and content is provided in high definition. The only platform which we could find subscription content in HD, the PS4 app, performed so badly, we couldn’t even watch in SD. In platforms that worked flawlessly as far as buffering was concerned (iOS, Samsung Smart TV or the web), we couldn’t actually find any HD content up for grabs.
Where it does exist, it is only in 720p, which as you can see from the table below, places Quickflix around the middle mark for video quality.
Platform support is one of the stronger points that Quickflix has over Presto and Stan, with only Netflix offering a greater range of devices where their app has native support. At the time of publication, Quickflix is available via the web, iOS, selected Android, Chromecast, AirPlay, Playstation 3 and 4, Xbox 360 and One, and Smart TVs from Samsung, LG, Panasonic and Sony.
Unfortunately, they are a little confusing as to which features are available on what devices, with only some offering HD streams, whilst others don’t support their Watchlist feature. A complete list can be found here.
- Quickflix via Web
- Quickflix via iOS
- Quickflix via PS4
- Quickflix via Samsung Smart TV
- Chromecasting Quickflix
ContentNote: This review was published while Quickflix still operated their own subscription content library. It has been announced that this will soon be swapped with Presto’s library. This review will be updated after that happens.
Quickflix offer two separate libraries, Subscription and Premium, with the difference being that monthly subscribers can access anything in the Subscription bin, with everything else available on a pay-as-you-go basis.
I’m not a big fan of mixing subscription and PAYG content on the same shelves. If anything, it encourages disappointment. I tend to find that whatever I search for ends up being part of the Premium service, where I am asked to fork out more money.
Granted, this is not any better in reality to subscription-only services like Netflix and Stan, but at least by not showing what they don’t have, it leaves a psychological advantage of not seeing unobtainable movies & TV shows unless more money is handed over.
All that aside, I was still not terribly excited by Quickflix’s subscription library. There were a few interesting shows available, as well as a rudimentary collection of movies, but it lacked a significant number of blockbusters and major television hits. That doesn’t mean it didn’t have any, but it did seem to be lacking.
As an Australian service, there was a limited amount of local content up for grabs, although at the time of publication, the 56 Australian movies available was reduced to only 6 once the Premium content was removed from the list. Australian television fared a little better, with 50 shows available under subscription and a further 18 under Premium.
Finally, expect most of the content to be in standard definition. Although HD shows and movies exist, the chances are that you won’t have access to them on your selected device,
Below is a sample of subscription content that was available at the time of publication, and in no way represents everything that is currently in Quickflix’s library.
Quickflix via Web
As far as streaming web portals go, Quickflix’s sits around the same level as their competition. Don’t expect any breakthrough user interface here, nor any serious omissions either (outside of Episode Management). It does as it is generally speaking supposed to do, just without any significant flare.
While Quickflix mix their subscription & PAYG libraries together, thankfully there is a way to separate them manually, and this is where one of the positive sides to Quickflix’s website lies. The ability to filter content here is better than most similar services, and I found it a great way to narrow down my search for specific types of content.
Browsing can be filtered down by TV & Movies, where subscription and PAYG content can be split apart, followed by Genre and then Sort method – it really does a great job at making sense of what television shows and movies are available.
But don’t get too excited. There is no functional Episode Management to speak of, despite rudimentary attempts at it. By this, I mean that some shows seem to indicate where I have left them before completing, but not all. Cross-platform data is not always exchanged, but it is in some cases. In other words, shows I watched on another platform arrive in my Viewing History list, but episodes don’t always identify themselves as watched, completed or halfway through.
It becomes extremely confusing to keep track of which show or episode I’ve watched, which is the complete opposite to the ease found at their biggest competitor, Netflix.
Video quality was also hit and miss. Because Silverlight was required on my reference Mac, Chrome was not an option. Safari worked, but left the screen filled with flashing white streaks like a VHS tape that sat next to a magnet, with Firefox as the only alternative but featuring black streaks instead of white ones.
I couldn’t achieve anything above standard definition in my tests, and in fact, at 1010kbps* I’d be hard pressed to call this SD quality. But at least it played without buffering (compared to the PS4 app), and looked ok from a distance despite the constant streaks.
There are better ways to watch TV than on a laptop or desktop computer, and certainly better ways to watch Quickflix. But if you really don’t have a choice, if anything, this method will get your monthly subscription to your eyes.
- Good filtering for browsing.
- No buffering.
- Resume possible.
- Watchlist and View History.
- Struggle to call it SD. (and no HD).
- Video quality issues on browser.
- Chrome not supported.
- No Chromecast support via browser.
- Poor episode management.
- Poor & confusing cross-platform support.
(Accessing Quickflix from outside of Australia may require using a good VPN service. Unfortunately, VPNs can suffer from long distances, so the closer you are to Australia, the better.)Quickflix Web TVQuickflix Web PlaylistQuickflix Web PlaybackQuickflix Web HomeQuickflix Web FilteringQuickflix Web Episodes
Quickflix via iOS
QuickFlix recently updated their iOS app, and their latest incarnation provides significant improvements over their previous attempts. Once fired up, it all starts with the usual posters for Movies and Television shows, listed by various categories and mixing all the subscription content in with the PAYG Premium ones.
As already stated, I really don’t like this type of mixture as I usually tend to find the content I want sits behind an additional paywall. Thankfully it is possible to use the menu to drill down by Movies or Television, including by genres, and then further splitting the Subscription from the Premium.
Also found in the menu is the My Library tab which brings up three different sections; My Playlist, a sort of Watchlist for keeping tabs of seasons that you want to watch, Viewing History, so you can keep track of what embarrassing content your family have been watching behind your back, and Purchases, where you will find any Premium content bought.
Selecting a season will take you to a rather cluttered page where you would think you’d see some Netflix-style episode management, but this is far from the case. Whilst an episode can remember your last spot and offer you the choice of resuming where you left off, there is not indication on the series page which episodes have actually been watched, or where you left off. I found this extremely confusing when trying to keep track of the various episodes I was viewing.
On a positive note, video playback was one of the more stable I’ve tested with Quickflix, where I never experienced any buffering during my various tests. In fact, I saw my best ever bitrates of 2090kbps* on each of the tests, which for Quickflix (and Australian streaming services in general) is pretty good. Video quality was not great, but good enough for the smaller iPhone screens as well as an iPad.
In fact, it is good enough for airplaying as well, with a decent enough SD quality picture appearing on the main TV, as long as it is not too big a screen. Unfortunately, Quickflix haven’t put to much effort into AirPlay support, as although it works via the global iOS AirPlay switch, there is no direct access from the playback screen. AirPlay also doesn’t support any form of multitasking. This means the 2nd screen must be kept on at all times, and the iPad or iPhone used for nothing else – which effectively is a significant waste of power.
Chromecast is also supported, but unlike AirPlay and the iOS stream in particular, we found video quality suffered and buffered every now and again. More details can be found on the dedicated Chromecast tab.
Overall this app is a great improvement over their last version, but without proper episode management, it’s best to use with movies and stay away from a television series – unless you want to drag a pencil and paper along.
- Best quality video and most stable platform yet tested with Quickflix.
- Good layout of content via posters.
- Supports Resume.
- Cross-platform support.
- Basic AirPlay support.
- Watchlist along with Recently Watched.
- Chromecast support.
- Mixes Premium and Subscription content together.
- No Episode Management to speak of.
- No AirPlay multitasking.
- Poor Chromecast performance.
- No offline downloads.
(Accessing Quickflix from outside of Australia may require using a good VPN service. Unfortunately, VPNs can suffer from long distances, so the closer you are to Australia, the better.)Quickflix iPad WatchQuickflix iPad SplashQuickflix iPad SelectionQuickflix iPad PlaybackQuickflix iPad MenuQuickflix iPad FeaturedQuickflix iPad EpisodesQuickflix iPad ChromecastingQuickflix iPad ChromecastQuickflix iPad Browsing
Quickflix via PS4Update: 23.06.2015: Quickflix have recently updated their PS4 app. I have not tested this yet to see if it resolves the problems mentioned below, but will do so a.s.a.p.
Quickflix’s PlayStation 4 app is possibly one of the most disappointing streaming experiences we have yet seen. In fact, as we couldn’t successfully watch anything without constant buffering and video quality issues, we won’t be able to complete a full Quickflix-PS4 review as viewing was simply impossible.
Of course, part of the blame to the constant buffering we experienced may be down to our geographic location, and vast distance from Australia. I wouldn’t be surprised that many people reading this review may indeed place all the blame there.
However that said, it doesn’t explain why we had such poor streaming via the PlayStation 4, with an average bitrate of only 335kbps, when immediately afterwards, we experienced flawless playback on the Samsung Smart TV app averaging 1415kbps and 2090kbps via iOS!
It seems to us that the PlayStation app handles the data stream unreliably, and although we experienced the problems geographically as far away from Quickflix as we could possibly be, we have heard of many similar issues being experienced in Australia as well.
Once Quickflix have resolved this issue, we will return for a full review of this platform.
Quickflix via Samsung Smart TV
After the debacle that was the PlayStation 4 app, it was refreshing to review Quickflix on the Samsung F-series Smart TV. Quickflix supports a reasonably good range of Smart TVs, including those from Sony, LG and Panasonic, as well as a number of Blu-Ray players, but it is the Samsung Smart hub that we’re looking at here.
Before we get too excited though, I have to say that the Quickflix app looks seriously dated. It reminds me of a very early Crackle or Netflix app, long before the polished interface we know today. But since Samsung will no longer make any new Smart TVs using the same OS as the D,E,F & H series, it is likely Quickflix are in no hurry to update and refresh this version of their portal.
Don’t expect any episode management here either, as it quite simply doesn’t exist. Neither does cross-platform support from what I can tell, so anything you started or watched on another device will not be shown here.
So why the positive start to this review? Because at the business end of things, the video plays back well. It may be clunky to move around the UI, and you’ll need to keep a pencil and paper handy to keep track of what episode in a series you’re at, but at least I experienced no buffering or any major video quality issues. My own tests on our reference F-series Samsung TV averaged 1410kbps*, and was a pleasant SD(ish) picture.
And therein lies the cheeky issue with the Samsung TV app. This platform is claimed to offer HD streams, but I couldn’t find a single film or TV show in the subscription package in high definition, including shows that were offered in HD on other platforms. Only Premium content offered anything above SD, and this was a real shame.
- Good, stable SD video playback.
- Resume feature.
- HD on Premium content.
- No HD on subscription content.
- No episode management.
- Limited cross-platform support.
- Clunky and outdated UI.
(Accessing Quickflix from outside of Australia may require using a good VPN service. Unfortunately, VPNs can suffer from long distances, so the closer you are to Australia, the better.)Quickflix STV TVQuickflix STV PlaybackQuickflix STV HomeQuickflix STV Episodes
Chromecasting QuickflixThis review was tested on a Chromecast using an iPad as the controlling device.
For the most part, Chromecast utilizes the user interface from the platform controlling it, in which case this is currently either an iOS or Android app. The only difference now is that a small Chromecast button also appears if a device is within the network.
Which means at least for this review, refer to the iOS tab for an overview regarding the general user interface.
That aside, initiating Chromecast is as easy as clicking the casting icon on the mobile device, and selecting which device to chromecast to. From that point on, everything operates pretty much the same on the mobile device, except playback will occur on the TV.
Video quality was unfortunately a big letdown. The best we could muster was 905kbps, which was half what the original iPad was pulling before switching to Chromecast. And this wasn’t the only problem, as we also experienced the odd bit of buffering – not as much as the unwatchable PS4 app, but there all the same.
Being a Chromecast stream, you can also move away from the playback screen and either browse Quickflix for alternative shows, use the iPad for something else, switch off, or even remove entirely from the network. You don’t actually need the mobile device at all anymore, well, except to stop the stream itself. But it does pay to keep it handy with the app still at the front, in case anyone else wants to take control of the stream.
- Full multitasking on the mobile device used for controlling.
- Affordable way to get Quickflix onto a dumb TV.
- No way to easily stop the show without finding your way back to the exact spot in the mobile app.
- Poor quality video with the odd buffering issue.
While Quickflix offers more platform support than any other Australian on-demand subscription service outside of Netflix, they remain somewhat of a paradox. On one hand, I streamed films and TV shows via the Samsung TV app or iOS without any issues at all in SD, but when I wanted to test an HD stream, I couldn’t find a single one. On the other hand, I could find plenty on the PS4 app, but the app itself streamed so badly, I couldn’t even pull off five minutes of standard definition before giving up due to the buffering.
When it did work well via the iOS or Samsung TV apps, it was quite a pleasurable experience, although we could only find SD streams (the Samsung Smart TV app promised HD, but only delivered that with PAYG content).
As far as the subscription content goes, we were not terribly excited either. Perhaps this will improve once Quickflix switch over to Presto’s library, although to be honest we weren’t over the moon in our Presto review either.
But our biggest concern was with the lack of proper Episode Management. It is hard enough to keep track of everything life throws at us today, that’s why we have technology. And it really bugs me when I have to keep a pencil and paper handy just so I can keep track of what episode I’m up to and which television series. I don’t have this issue on Amazon, Netflix, Hulu or many others, so why should I have it here?
Quickflix have been around the Australian streaming scene for quite some time, and during that period they have amassed the widest platform support of any Aussie on-demand service that sits behind a paywall.
All up, Quickflix Australia is a worthwhile streaming service that despite its trouble developing a large customer base, makes a good addition to top up on content that is not available on Stan or Netflix. In all honesty, Quickflix walks all over Presto, but soon it will be either blessed, or blighted by taking over Presto’s library.
- Good platform support, and widest in Australia after Netflix for subscription services.
- 720p HD on selected platforms and content.
- Good value for money.
- Resume option.
- AirPlay and Chromecast support.
- Poor quality Chromecast video.
- Terrible PS4 app.
- Hard to find HD content in subscription library.
- Mishmash of supported services on different platforms.
- Subscription library lacks big hits.
- Device limit in force.
- Cross-platform support is unreliable.
- Very poor Episode Management.
- Mixes PAYG and subscription content.
- No user profiles.
- No closed captioning.
27.05.2015: Review published. Score: 5.9 – Great Range of Platforms.
* Video quality results are averaged from multiple tests and may be affected by geographic location as well as available bandwidth. Geographic location plays a big part when accessing video content via VPN. A closer proximity to Australia will result in better quality streams.
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