Subscribers to Foxtel with an older box plus newbies will see an upgrade built to be slick, 4K friendly, and even a little upgradeable.
Even though streaming media is treading on the classic definition of cable, there may still be reasons to subscribe if you’re someone who loves planting yourself in front of a television, it seems.
There’s clearly plenty to watch across both free-to-air streaming — ABC, SBS, Seven, Nine and Ten — not to mention the growth of paid streaming services, but Australia’s one cable service (which these days may be more satellite than cable) may still have reasons to bring people over.
Foxtel may not be as big as it once was, but with nearly two million subscribers, there are still plenty of eyeballs checking out its services, and that may be before you factor in those watching Binge, Foxtel’s take on Netflix with a streaming media service paid monthly.
But Foxtel’s gamble on Binge may not be its only streaming play, because the latest iQ streaming box for its service is catering for streaming plain and simple.
Updated to the iQ5, the new box is slimmer and works to stream Foxtel’s services without a cable or satellite connection, focusing on streaming specifically. A 1TB drive is also included, stackable on the bottom to let customers record content off the platform, much like the older and larger iQ boxes.
With that in mind, Foxtel says it will support up to 50,000 hours of content out of the box, including a chip to handle 4K video when supported.
A spokesperson for Foxtel told Pickr that 4K is supported on the platform across Foxtel Sports Ultra HD and Foxtel Movies Ultra HD, though the rest of Foxtel will be a Full HD experience.
However other streaming services are supported on the platform, and with Netflix and YouTube already onboard, plus Amazon Prime Video launching later in the year, 4K will be supported beyond Foxtel’s two Ultra HD channels.
“The iQ5 is another proof point for Foxtel as the all-in-one place heart of the contemporary Australian home,” said Patrick Delaney, CEO of the Foxtel Group.
“The iQ5 not only makes it easier for our existing 1.7 million customers to enjoy the best Foxtel has to offer, this streaming iQ opens up Foxtel’s premium experience to another group of Australians who could not access cable or didn’t want satellite,” he said.
While the Foxtel iQ5 is launching in Australia in September, it won’t be available to all initially. In fact, a spokesperson for the company told Pickr that “at launch, the iQ5 is for our existing cable customers on iQ2 and below, and those customers in buildings that otherwise wouldn’t be capable of getting a Foxtel cable or satellite service”. People with iQ4 boxes won’t be upgrading initially, as the company says they’re already on the premium offering delivered over satellite.
However new customers will receive the iQ5 box free, while customers looking to upgrade may want to contact Foxtel to find out whether they can or not, and when that will happen.