In a somewhat surprising announcement, Foxtel have announced its own hockey-puck set-top-box, despite Telstra recently launching the Telstra TV 2. It’s a little like having Foxtel and buying internet from Telstra, or having Telstra phone or internet and being able to buy Foxtel from them. The lines may be blurring, but all roads lead to income.
The device is actually based on the Technicolor Skipper set-top-box, which supports 4K resolution, HDR and up to 60fps. It also features dual-band 802.11AC WiFi, as well as a USB3.0 port for local media playback.
The division between the two boxes is slightly confusing, given they both offer tuners support for broadcast TV, as well as IP-delivered Foxtel Now, Stan iView, SBS OnDemnad etc.
Launching the Foxtel Now puck is @petertonagh. Runs on Android TV. Supports all the FTA channels and Stan. Has built in Chromecast. Available from Friday for $99. Only at the Foxtel Now site initially. pic.twitter.com/xLK0GGlCuF
— Dan Barrett (@TheDanBarrett) November 8, 2017
There are a couple of key differences that may help customers decide between the two. Foxtel’s puck supports Chromecast and runs on Android TV, although it doesn’t support Netflix, where Telstra TV2 does. This has to be some weird anti-competitive decision that doesn’t make any sense given most Smart TVs this would be connected to, will also have Netflix apps. At best this only serves as a mild inconvenience and means the box doesn’t attempt what Telstra TV2 does, to own HDMI for all your needs.
As we see in this photo from Dan Barrett, who attended the launch, the new box comes with a dedicate remote, with all the essential controls and is stamped with the Foxtel Now logo.
The Foxtel Now streaming box will cost $99.00, far cheaper than the $192 for the Telstra TV 2.
Despite its issues with the project, the NBN is rolling out, which is improving internet connectivity across the country. This means IP-delivered Foxtel is becoming a reality for more customers. Its likely devices like this are the future direction for the service, rather than a satellite connected iQ4.