Foxtel has tonight announced the first broadcast 4K channel in Australia and it’s a big deal folks.
For a while now it seems a bit like Foxtel had lost their way, Foxtel Now was a great reset to bring them back to their innovative roots, but not until today have I felt like the business was really looking to innovate in any way other than buying up sports rights.
Today, Foxtel CEO Patrick Delaney announced the first major leap forward for broadcast TV in Australia since HD. 4K. Yep, Foxtel is launching a 4K channel in October.
To watch it, you’ll need to be a Foxtel Satellite customer, and you’ll need to upgrade to the new IQ4 box.
IQ4 is almost identical to the IQ3, except with a 4K output and much faster processor.
Initially launching with just one channel (number 444), the single channel will feature all 4K content with the big news being that including Sport.
Yep, the Summer of Cricket – available in 4K – at least in part. The Big Bash might be complex given the number of games and venues, but as Foxtel CEO Patrick Delaney put it, Test Cricket is perfect, the entire thing happens in one place over several days, so the investment in getting the 4K cameras and broadcast gear there is worth it.
Fox Sports have already shot a whole game of Rugby League in 4K, and next year there will be games almost certainly weekly for the NRL – given the time zone of most Formula One races, we can hope for a bit of Sky Sports F1 in 4K too – but remember, while there’s just one channel, it all has to fit into that schedule.
Mr Delany said of the announcement, “Innovation is in Foxtel’s DNA and we have continuously redefined entertainment for Australia putting us at the centre of connecting subscribers with the sports and the shows they love.”
“Today’s news is just the first step into a 4K future – this incredible experience will continue to expand as we bring even more sport and entertainment programming to life in guaranteed 4K, making the most of today’s ultra-modern 4K TVs. It’s TV like never before.”
It’s an exciting move for Foxtel, and Mr Delaney foreshadowed that it was not the only announcement coming this year. EFTM expects announcements for HD and 4K streaming of Foxtel Now, Chromecast support for the main Foxtel App (not just Foxtel Now) as well as additional 4K channels.
The price of the box for upgraders is not yet known, though expect it to be around $150. 4K packages will not be sold over and above existing subscriptions. 4K channel 444 will be available to anyone with an iQ4 box and who subscribe to the Sports Pack and HD or more.
Foxtel Cable customer? Never been a better reason to switch to Satellite – though Patrick Delaney assures me that’s not the reason it’s only for Satellite customers. In fact, there’s no bandwidth available on the cable to fit it in, where as they have the capacity on Satellite.