It’s not like streaming and on-demand content are a new thing, not even to Foxtel – but when it comes to understanding the magnitude of today’s announcement of the “New Foxtel Experience” you have to remember that changing things at Foxtel is like turning around a cruise ship under the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Foxtel has been delivering live broadcast TV channels for decades – these are referred to as Linear TV – a programmed set of shows running at certain times on certain days.
The shift to “Catch Up” TV within the last decade has been a tough one for our free-to-air networks, but even harder for Foxtel.
Not because they didn’t understand it, but because they have a very strict set of restrictions to work within – namely the IQ boxes in lounge rooms and the user interface within them that governs how we navigate the content available.
Today, Foxtel CEO Patrick Delaney spoke glowingly of the current “Golden Age of Television” while introducing “The New Foxtel Experience”
Put simply, the new experience is Foxtel’s way of describing a complete overhaul of the IQ3 and IQ4 operating system, making it look – well, how do I put this – making it look a LOT like Netflix and Stan
On Demand content is king. Hit the HOME button on the remote and you get a screen that looks much like the home screen of a streaming service app.
Recommendations, related titles, actor based searching. It’s deep.
Foxtel claim to have over 16,000 hours of On Demand content – though it’s unclear how much of that is free to watch as a subscriber or which of it is available to buy or rent.
The same applies to the thousands of movies.
The “Experience” people get with Netflix and Stan is click and play. On Foxtel you have the option to stream or download, and to rent if it’s an option.
But it’s not just Foxtel content. It’s shows their partner companies have made and are licensed to Foxtel, and critically, it’s also external content. Yep – Netflix.
Along with a Netflix button on the remote control, there’s integration of Netflix content within the genre based menu system on the new IQ interface.
This means Stranger Things might appear alongside a Fox Showcase title.
How deep those recommendation goes we’re yet to see.
But it’s more than just content, Foxtel is offering six months free Netflix for customers on 12 month contracts over $49 a month. Keep signing up, you’ll get another six months – essentially half-price Netflix.
Netflix content integration is just the start. Later this year content from SBS will be integrated, which leaves the door open to all the free-to-air’s, as well as perhaps other streaming services like Stan or Amazon – but don’t get your hopes up too soon!
If you don’t have an IQ3 or IQ4 box, get one. If you are one of the 1.1 million homes with an IQ3 or IQ4 – then you’ll get the new interface between now and November, with IQ4 being complete by the end of August, and IQ3 then by the end of November.
No price changes, but as always, Foxtel is likely to have introductory deals for anyone signing up – so, time to make the call if you’re keen.
If you are wondering “How do I get the new Foxtel Remote with a Netflix button” – call Foxtel. New customers will get it by default, for other’s it’s a $49 option – though EFTM understands the longer you’ve been a Foxtel customer, the cheaper it will get – right down to nothing for the longest customers!
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.