Review: Britbox Australia brings nostalgia, mystery, drama and more in UK to over 40 viewers
Most of the major streaming services available in Australia like Netflix, STAN, Binge, and Foxtel target viewers of all ages with something for the whole family.
I watched shows on the BBC / ITV streaming service Britbox during this year’s lockdown to give readers an idea of what to expect if they sign up.
To sum up what’s on offer, these are mostly UK dramas (mostly crime / mystery) and classic comedies, with a sprinkle of other shows all aimed at appealing to viewers under the age of 40 at the age of 40. of retirement.
For those who think that’s an unfair description, the current Highlights reel when you log on to Britbox Australia promotes the Chelsea Flower Show, The Great British Sewing Bee, Doctor Who cover (every episode of 1963 to present), four mystery murder shows and a comedy about a 50-year-old widower.
Some shows like Cracker, Wire in the Blood, and Prime Suspect are all over 20 years old. These older series have quite variable video quality which is in 4: 3 aspect ratio and the audio quality also varies, some have subtitles and some do not.
In comparison, newer shows like Silent Witness Seasons 1-9 from the turn of the century have relatively good DVD quality audio and video quality and newer shows like Endeavor and Line of Duty Season 6 are in solid HD quality with sound. clear. To my knowledge there is no 4K content on Britbox and no premium audio codecs eg Dolby Atmos.
Maybe Britbox can’t do much about the old standard definition shows that don’t look great on a big 4K TV, but maybe if they remastered some of their old shows, they would play. better to scale.
Since launching almost a year ago in Australia, Britbox has added new content like the reboot of All Creatures Great and Small as well as exclusive broadcast rights for Line of Duty season 6, so it’s not about only old content.
However, mentioning Line of Duty reveals Britbox’s main problem. The BBC and ITV love to earn revenue from their existing offerings competing 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 GLANS, it’s another niche TV streaming service. Problem for Britbox, there are also a lot of UK TV shows, such as exclusive rights to Poirot from Agatha Christie and many shows from Britbox, for example seasons 1-5 of the BBC’s Line of Duty and Midsomer ITV Murders.
As many BBC and ITV shows are already licensed to existing Australian pay TV channels such as BBC First, UK TV and streaming services including Netflix, STAN, Foxtel and catch-up apps Free to Air, this means that key UK shows such as Coronation Street and Eastenders are missing from Britbox. Australia and this dilutes the value of the Britbox service as many of its shows are available elsewhere.
Hopefully the BBC and ITV follow Disney + ‘s lead, let many of those content licenses expire and move those shows to Britbox, rather than fragmenting their shows across different Australian streaming and pay TV platforms.
Despite some drawbacks, Britbox is definitely worth subscribing if you are over 40 and enjoy British dramas and comedies, especially if you regularly want to mentally escape watching an old classic TV show like Helen Mirren in Prime Suspect or a more recent show set in a COVID spare time decades ago like Endeavor.
BritBox is available to Australians for $ 8.99 per month, or $ 89.99 for a 12 month subscription, after a 7-day free trial. BritBox is available through 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.