Stan. Apparently the Biggest Deal in Entertainment.

DISCLAIMER: This is NOT a sponsored post.

If you’re driving along any major roads at the moment, you’re bound to come across this billboard:

Renlish.com - Stan. Review
The fabulous Rebel Wilson on the Stan billboard.

Yep. Welcome to Stan, the new Australian subscription video-on-demand service which is apparently our answer to the very popular Netflix and similar services that are so popular in the States (and around the world).

Now, it’s well known that Australians are the world dominating force when it comes to pirated films and TV shows. We’ve all done it. We all have our reasons. Whether we are tight-arses and tip rats who don’t want to pay for DVDs, movie tickets or the rip-off that is Foxtel (our only “cable” TV service) or we’re just so damned sick of having our commercials interrupted by a few silvers of popular television every couple of minutes – that shit is just not on.

Ideally, Stan is the answer to this problem. A cheap, easily accessible on-demand system that doesn’t lock you into any contracts and doesn’t cost an absolute bomb. At the moment they’re even giving folks who sign up a 30 day free trial and to be honest, for $10.00 AUD a month, I can’t say that’s it’s not a bargain deal. A tenner a month is (generally) easy for most folks. So by that fact alone, this should be a winner.

So why am I so underwhelmed?

Currently, Stan has the exclusive airing rights to the follow up to Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul. It also has the epic Aussie serial, Gallipoli. It’s using these two shows as it’s main draw card at the moment.

Unfortunately, I am not one of the masses who has enjoyed Breaking Bad… and I haven’t bothered with Gallipoli because well, I’m Australian. I KNOW that story.

What I think is bugging me about Stan is that there’s no real new content and there’s not a lot of what’s there. Most of what I have found is years old already with the exception of a few series and films like the Hobbit movies but as I said, most of it is old and, infuriatingly with some of the television series I am interested in seeing again are incomplete. I really am hoping that things like the original CSI will be made available in it’s entirety as opposed to starting from series 11.

ELEVEN!

Fuck’s sake.

Having said that, they do have a couple of old school favourite TV series like Drop Dead Diva and The Nanny  as well as gems like Star Trek (yes, ALL OF THE STAR TREKS) and there are a few cracking movies like Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing and Wolf of Wall Street available.

Anyway… the other thing that irritates me about Stan is the site itself. I hate the layout. I absolutely detest that I cannot access a simple list of all the movies and shows available, firstly because I don’t like relying on what other people believe certain things should be categorised under (um, Basic Instinct is NOT a romance…) and secondly, the current system doesn’t show all the films on the site or it re-tiles things I’ve already scrolled through. Films that are clearly in the collection aren’t showing up when I’m browsing and frankly, I hate being told what other people think I should be watching.

Anyway, that’s my whiny-arsed review of Stan.

To sum up…

Pros:

  • Cheap – free for 30 days then $10.00 AUD a month (via credit card subscription).
  • No contract and pay monthly as you use – you don’t have to buy a block of time.
  • Fast even on a regular ADSL connection.
  • Accessible on multiple devices – Yes, you can get Stan on computers, tablets and smartphones. (Apparently, I haven’t tested this because my smartphone is not compatible with the Stan app.) This system also allows up to three different users on the same account on three different devices.  While it might be hell on your data usage, it might contribute to domestic harmony.
  • Unlimited access and streaming – you can stream as much as your ISP data plan allows.
  • HD streaming is available.

Cons:

  • Limited content at the moment – most of what is there is VERY old.
  • You have to download software (Microsoft Silverlight on Windows machines) to stream media as it doesn’t stream with native software.
  • Very clunky menu/browsing system.
  • Stream only, you don’t get to download any content…. well… officially. We Aussies are good about getting around that sort of thing.