Ok, strap in, I have opinions three thousand and seventy eight words of them. Ten days ago I published my first impressions of Hubbl – it was comprehensive in many ways, but also rushed as the company was shipping the units to customers and I felt it important to get some experiences on the record for prospective buyers. Now that we’re past that initial wave of early adopters and I’ve been using the device for this period of time, I have a better look at what the experience is like.

Now, I want to be clear, this is a review of Hubbl the “Experience” or “operating system” as I’ve been experiencing it across two platforms, one the standard Hubbl plugged into a Samsung TV, and the other at home on the Hubbl Glass 65 inch. Both, provided by Hubbl for review purposes. The accounts and streaming services I use are mine, and I pay for them myself.

My Hubbl Review – The context

I am coming at this from the perspective of Hubbl’s own marketing and PR – remember, this was announced by saying “INTRODUCING THE FUTURE OF TV” – awesome!

Those announcements also contained quotes from Foxtel Group CEO Patrick Delany who said “Hubbl is the next quantum leap in entertainment technology and is the solution to a complex Australian streaming landscape caused by the fabulous explosion of choice in streaming services available to Australians.

Hubbl is like nothing in the market – ‘it is TV and streaming made easy’ – seamlessly integrating world-leading technology with a purpose-built design and unrivaled app integration that sets it well ahead of the curve.

Additionally he has said “Hubbl will effortlessly fuse free and paid entertainment and sport from Australia’s favourite apps, channels, live TV and the internet into one seamless user experience.

Those three quotes in bold are the key reasons I am coming at this review to either enforce or push back on those statements.

Before I get into the details, let’s address those three quickly.

Hubbl is the next quantum leap in entertainment technology

On what basis? We have to remember that while local player Fetch has a strong market share of many hundreds of thousands of users, Google has barely slowed down in their paced development of the Google TV platform, and while small in market share, Amazon’s Fire TV is also a strong player. From a TECH perspective it’s specifications don’t jump out as revolutionary, nor a quantum leap.

Anything else I could say really leads me to point 2:

Hubbl is like nothing in the market

Ridiculous. It’s just like Chromecast with Google TV. It’s just like Amazon Fire TV, it’s just like Fetch.

However, It lacks many apps (Britbox, Hayu) and even lacks apps they say they will have, but we really don’t know when (Stan, Optus Sport, Paramount+).

On some levels, that holds them back in terms of the power of this device – more on that in sport later.

Hubbl’s one “like nothing on the market” is Free to Air TV – but that, for Sydney Hubbl owners is fine, everyone else, is a compromise.

Heck, I can’t even rent or buy a movie on Hubbl yet.

In Theory, it’s new and innovative, but the execution leaves a bit to be desired before you can label it “like nothing in the market”

Hubbl will effortlessly fuse free and paid entertainment and sport from Australia’s favourite apps

“will” is the key word here. We haven’t seen key examples of this, particularly in sport (yet), and it feels like there’s a real plan here – but getting the market to come along for the ride is the next challenge.

Let’s unpack the key features Hubbl is promoting

These are some of the core features in Hubbl’s brand and marketing campaign, so let me explain them and review each.


Some people are rusted onto Foxtel because they can “record” their favourite shows. Advanced streamers like me say “just watch it on catch-up” or “it’s available on Binge”.

So what Hubbl has done is taken that logic and replaced “record” with the “watchlist”. The idea is you’ll be able to watchlist everything from actors to sports teams, like a series link on Foxtel IQ boxes. For now just Watchlisting a show allows you to simply go to that list and then launch the show. Instead of playing off your hard drive, it plays from the cloud.

Watchlists can also be spread across profiles, so you can have your own that is different to the wife, and Hubbl will also suggest shows you can watch together based on those Watchlists.

This is powerful, and a great concept. I can’t truely speak to it’s usability as I’ve not had a lot of things to Watchlist, but I get the sense this is one area that will really ramp up the more you use it and the more Hubbl introduce personalisation and recommendation across the platform.

Continue Watching

Not a groundbreaking feature by any means, Google TV and Fetch are here too. But the concept is simple – if you were watching something and left or paused and watched something else, those shows appear in this row on the home screen.

Works pretty well, and from what I could tell – unless I was seeing thing, works across Hubbl devices too – My Hubbl Glass at home was showing something I started watching at the office. Nice one.

That’s likely because this data is supplied by the streamers, so Netflix sends a chunk of data about me, the shows I’ve been watching etc. And Hubbl populates this carosel.

However, it can get messy fast. Watch a few shows on different platforms and you’re having to scroll around to get back to something.

And why o why was The Old Man not showing in Continue Watching? I was binging the hell out of that – but my guess is that data Netflix provides – Disney does not, meaning Hubbl has no visibility of what you need to continue.

This is the start of the “well if you have it for one, you need it from ALL the streamers” problem with Hubbl

The most under-rated and frankly hidden feature of Hubbl is the quick link to recently used apps and channels. On the main top row of content you go LEFT (out of view) and the apps or channels are listed most recent first.

One thing that impressed me most from what I was told about the concept of “continue watching” from episode to episode anyway, and not something I’ve tested – is that Hubbl will take you from the final episode of Season 3 of a show to the first episode of Season 4 even if it’s on another streaming service. If they can nail this, it’s a big win – small stakes but smart stuff.

Speak to Hubbl, either the remote or just by “Hey Hubbl” on the Glass TV – and just ask for a show and it shows it.

The lack of a Pay Per View movie store is problematic here, because you are only searching the streamers – which is limiting, particularly when compared to Fetch. And I can’t really speak to how it prioritises the results. Fetch for example prioritise based on what you are subscribed to (ie, if it’s on Stan and i’m paying for that, it will launch it there rather than on a service I don’t subscribe to) and based on quality (putting the higher quality ones up the list)

However, If I was Netflix I’d be asking questions about Anti-trust here – search for Karate Kid and you see one Tile for the movie – on Binge, despite the fact the movie is on Netflix.

Netflix Search – in the Netflix app

Now, again, I didn’t unsubscribe from Binge to see if it would show the Netflix, but what if I like Binge for TV and Netflix for movies and I simply prefer Netflix? What if it doesn’t show Netflix even to those who don’t have Binge. More explanation and testing required. For the record, in this situation, it should show the tile for the movie, then the next page should list the viewing options available.

Stack and Save with Hubbl

Optus Sub-Hub was the first to do it, and they do it across not just streaming services but any sort of Subscription. Hubbl brings that same “one bill” or streaming aggregation to their platform with the idea that the more services you put on your Hubbl bill, the more you can save.

This means you can let Hubbl bill you once for Binge, Kayo, Netflix, Flash, Lifestyle and Disney Plus. Four of those six are Foxtel Group products, and to get the discounts you need three, four or five services.

Now I’m a pretty full on streamer, I’ve got most services, but I have just four of those six. Binge Lifestyle content is shedding over to Lifestyle for a new $8 fee, so it feels firstly like they are making me pay $8 more to get content I might already have been watching, but hey, I save $5 because of Stack and Save.

I was unable to bring my Netflix account over to my Hubbl account because if I did, my mother in law would lose her Netflix account as it’s an “Extra Member” account – created after the password sharing crackdown.

If you’re going to do something, it has to be done in full, and the lack of that style Netflix account means I’m out. Can’t take advantage of this.

Plus, Where’s Stan, Where’s Apple TV, Where’s Paramount, Where’s Amazon Prime.

I suspect it’s likely most of those won’t want to hand over their billing to Hubbl – so – this will for the foreseeable future be an incomplete concept, and while ever I need two or more of Foxtel/Hubbl’s own streaming services to get the full $15 discount, the more it just seems like it’s not ideal.

Great concept, and works for some, but for it to be revolutionary and the future – it has to be everything.

Single View

And gosh, they are so close. So Close.

This Single View My Account page is remarkable – a single page on a big screen showing the streaming services you have and a simple tickbox to deactivate them.

The page is a dream – simple click to pause your account, save some money – more over, the balance and total monthly cost is on screen. Families and Aussie Households would be shocked to know what they are paying each month, because they don’t – they see streaming as a $10-15 a month thing, not realising they all add up.

Just falls short again because it’s too narrow, it needs all the streamers.

And, if you want an effortless system that is a Quantum leap forward, it has to be easy to add these services. It’s not.

You See a show on another service it just launches the app and gets you to sign up. You are on the My Account Single view, it should be the press of a plus, a verification and confirmation of price and boom, account created.

Again, this needs the streaming services to loosen the reigns they have on account creation and billing for it to really work.

Free to Air TV on Hubbl

A game-changer* – the Asterix is critical here, because it only applies to people who live in Sydney.

Sign into all the Free Catch Up apps and then the live-streams for the channels appear in the TV guide. Change channels like the old days, and it’s cool. Not fast, but not slow either.

There are glitches where you get an error and it goes away, but you get used to it (should we?).

Problem is, Melbourne people get Sydney News on Channel 7.. Regional viewers only get metro based channels and not all channels have time-shifting so Perth folks aren’t three hours ahead of themselves.

And if you’re watching Channel 7 for the AFL, not only is it a Sydney feed, but 7 doesn’t have the digital rights to the AFL until next year.

Plus, I’m not seeing all the Free to Air Channels – where’s 9 Rush?

Lots and LOTS of work to do on this one – if done right – it does change the game.

TV Guide/EPG Access on Hubbl

Dear god why is Channel 9 on channel 109? Drop the Foxtel silliness and just put Channel 7 on Channel number 7. It’s purely ego and Foxtel bias, drop it.

And if Free to Air TV is so important, why isn’t there a “TV” or “EPG” or “Guide” button on the remote.

It’s too hard to get to (without voice control)

The in-app experience

I appreciate that Hubbl owns and runs this box, and Kayo, but why o why is Kayo not the Kayo App – that is one of the greatest creations of layout, personalisation and easy access ever.

Instead, Kayo (and Binge) follow the Hubbl format for content layout. This makes it jarring and different to existing users.

Fetch tried this with apps, like Stan, had a Fetch look so navigation was consistent. But again, if you can’t get them all, don’t do it at all. Stan on Fetch now launches like it does everywhere else.

And ahh, what the hell – why is there no split screen on Kayo Live events? This is YOUR box. Apple TV does it better than literally any other device – why doesn’t yours??

ADS on Hubbl

We went to watch the NRL on the weekend, and I’m convinced a pre-roll advertisement played – can’t be sure we didn’t just tune in at an ad break, but didn’t seem at all like it.

If you’re adding ads, don’t. People hate them.

Sport! The future of Hubbl

If I was in charge, I would have launched this after they got sport right. This is the real “let me paint a picture of the future” moment for sports fans.

You’ve got a Kayo Subscription, and a Stan Sport Subscription, and also Optus Sport. And hey, you’re doing well because that’s $95.99 there at 4K levels. (Imagine Hubbl had Stack and Save on those – they won’t – so just keep imagining).

Now, on the Sport page of Hubbl, when you launch it – you see ANY LIVE SPORT on now across all three platforms, perhaps Amazon Prime or Apple TV too! this is HUGE. This is the real Genre defining concept of our generation.

Honestly, this is the one page with the most potential on this box. But it requires all those streamers sharing strong and useful metadata and allowing it all to happen.

Is Hubbl better than Fetch TV?

If you’ve got a Fetch Mighty in your lounge room, recording shows, antenna connected – and looking for something for the other room with no antenna – get the Fetch Mini. It will stream Free to Air channels from the Fetch Mighty, no antenna required in the Mini. Plus it can view your recordings on the Mighty too.

That is to say, it depends.

If a whole bunch of streaming services on one box is your need – Fetch and Hubbl both do that. But Fetch does more – like Movie Rent and Buy, additional apps, it has a mobile app you can download movies to so you can watch on the go. I could go on but that’s the headlines.

In my view – no, Hubbl is not better.

Their single view list of streaming services is good, but Fetch has a similar page – Fetch could learn from Hubbl’s simple UI in this case. Fetch doesn’t have IP streamed Free to Air channels, but I suspect they will soon.

is Hubbl better than Chromecast with Google TV?


It’s basically on-par with Chromecast, with the addition of Free to Air via the internet, and that pretty awesome account page.

Other than that, it could easily be argued Google TV is a better interface, and that Hubbl emulates that for the most part.

Hubbl’s biggest issue – speed

If you want to compete with Apple TV, Chromecast, Fetch et all – you’ve got to race alongside them.

Hubbl can’t, it’s too slow. Sloppy to load apps, sloppy to load pages and search results.

It’s just almost at times unbearably sluggish and you wonder why. It needs a better processor, literally more power, and Hubbl need to address that.

Who would buy Hubbl?

I’m not sure even Hubbl know that.

Certainly, if someone calls me on the EFTM Podcast and says “I’m getting rid of Foxtel” then Hubbl becomes a strong alternative for those who don’t have an antenna because they’ve been using Foxtel for Free to Air for donkeys years.

For anyone who uses streaming services and doesn’t watch them on their main TV because they don’t know how – Hubbl works for you.

But if you’ve got a Fire TV, Chromecast with Google TV, Fetch or other “HDMI 1” device for Streaming – you’re purchasing Hubbl to be a beta tester.

The best potential user of Hubbl is a die hard fan of the shows on Hubbl apps, Selling Houses Australia, anything on Binge, Sky News, you name it, those apps from Hubbl will drive the user base, they will save the most with Stack and Save, they will get the most out of a lot of these concepts.

I do struggle to see who else would bother though.

Huge potential, sadly most of it out of the control of Hubbl and in the hands of global and local streaming partners.

At $99 the Hubbl box is a decent buy, though in reality for what it is, it should be a $59 product. Some people are being offered those discounts already, which says to me they want to flood. the market as best they can.

Hubbl Glass at $1,599 for a 55 incher – is ok value – it’s really mid-priced, and you have to take into account the included soundbar, though personally, I’d want a big-brand TV with the Hubbl box at best.

Does Hubbl have a future?

Foxtel aren’t going to walk away from this, they will put everything into it. They are partnered with ComCast in America to build it, but they need more engineering on speed, they need a better box and processor, and they need all the commercial terms for streaming services to fall in their favour.

It’s something worth revisiting in a year, or two. Because it WILL get better, and it’s not – in any way – a bad product today. But it falls short in a lot of places, and mostly I think the hype doesn’t match the outcome.