Fetch TV Mini Review

Brodie Fogg 1 July 2016

REVIEW

The teeny-tiny Fetch sheds its bulk, internal memory and 4K capabilities, but it does offer a neat and tidy home for all your streaming needs.

Fetch TV is taking some big strides to become the Australian set-top box of choice. Unlike its biggest subscription TV competitor, Foxtel, Fetch is welcoming the streaming competition with open arms, fostering a symbiotic relationship between popular on-demand streaming services and Fetch's convenient content hub.

Fetch is more interested in lounge room real estate than becoming the next Netflix. With that goal in mind Fetch is releasing the new lite version of its Mighty set-top box, the Fetch Mini.

What's the difference between Fetch Mighty and Mini?

The Fetch TV Mini is essentially a scaled down version of the Mighty. Not just in size, but in video output, storage and free-to-air tuners. Check out the table below for a complete comparison between the Fetch Gen2, Fetch Mighty and Fetch Mini.

ModelGen2MightyMini
Hard drive1TB1TBNone
Hours of SD recordingUp to 585hrsUp to 585hrsNone
Free-to-air tuners341
Simultaneous recording460
Simultaneous viewing111
Pause and rewindYesYesYes
4K capableNoYesNo
WiFi enabledNoYesYes
RAMN/A3GB2GB
USB ports221
High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC)NoYesYes

Upsides: Why you'd want the Fetch TV Mini

  • Sleek, compact design: One of the main reasons you would be purchasing the Mini over the Mighty is its fun-sized design. At just 120mm (w) x 122mm (d) x 32mm (h) the Fetch Mini isn't as compact as the Telstra TV or Apple TV, but it still has a small enough profile to fit underneath most televisions without being too obvious. For this new generation of boxes, Fetch has gone with a smooth, black design with floating panels on each side and a single blue light that signals when the device is turned on, recording or connecting to WiFi. It's a simple, neat design that wouldn't look out place next to your PlayStation 4 or Xbox One.
  • Expanded content: Content has long been one of Fetch's biggest downfalls. Outside of its free-to-air channels, Fetch traditionally services niche audiences with world content and a handful of core channels, like Nickelodeon for the kiddies, ESPN for the sports nuts and a few channels for the foodies. More recently Fetch has introduced Comedy Central, Spike and the English Premier League (for Optus customers). There's still no movie channel (which is a huge sticking point for Foxtel fans) but as always you have access to a wealth of movie rentals and purchases. Fetch TV's most attractive new partnership is the one they've established with Presto. With it, Fetch TV now offers all three of Australia's most popular streaming services, Netflix, Stan, and now, Presto. Presto is home to some stellar TV shows, like Mr Robot (which will be kicking off its second season with a double episode), The Sopranos and The Wire, and is a treasure trove for movies new and old.

  • Responsive UI: While the UI is nearly identical to that of the Gen2 box, it feels more responsive than ever. This provides a particularly nice experience when switching between streaming services and movie box. With other devices, like gaming consoles and tablets, switching between services means closing one app and opening the other (which can be padded with some lengthy loading times). With the Fetch Mini, switching between is nearly as fluid as changing the channel, which makes that seemingly endless search for something quality to watch much more bearable. The movie box itself has had a few neat little UX improvements. It now allows you to filter by themes, genre, cast and crew and even offers up a few suggested searches. This is not a game changer, and whether or not this feature will be fully utilised is down to the individual, but more functionality is always welcomed.

Downsides: Why you might not want the Fetch TV Mini

  • Not a PVR: Fetch has made a name for itself in Australia as the Personal Video Recording (PVR) alternative to Foxtel IQ. However, to achieve the Mini's slimmer form, Fetch had to drop a few features like proper internal storage and as a result, its program recording functionality. This isn't all bad. The Fetch Mini is positioning itself as a streaming device, not a PVR. Comparable streaming devices like Chromecast and Telstra TV also have a severe lack of internal memory. However, those accustomed to Fetch's ability to record free-to-air programs might be more swayed toward the Mighty.
  • No 4K support: Impressively, Fetch's new Mighty box supports 4K output. The Mini does not. It's worth reiterating that the Mini exists on a different playing field to the Mighty and no other streaming device compared above offers 4K output either, but adding that feature would have been an impressive way for Fetch to separate itself from the herd.
  • Annoying bandwidth alerts: This shouldn't be an issue for users with ample bandwidth, but for those with less than ideal connections, Fetch can get a little naggy. On several occasions throughout our trial, a pesky alert would continue to pop up to let us know our bandwidth was taking a hit while the stream continued smoothly in the background with no hiccups. You have to actively exit the notification using the Fetch TV remote and there doesn't seem to be an option to switch off the alerts. After cancelling the alert somewhere between 10 and 15 times in the space of five minutes, we eventually gave up and switched devices.

Who is it best suited for? What are my other options?

The Fetch Mini is best suited for those looking for a slim profile set-top box that can pause and rewind live TV and provide access to Australia's various streaming services. However, it's even more relevant if you're signed up with an Optus mobile plan. When the Fetch Mini launched on 4 July, Optus mobile customers will have the option to bundle it with their plan for an additional monthly cost. If you're a Telstra customer, your best option is almost definitely the Telstra branded Roku 2, Telstra TV.

If you're not interested in marrying your phone and entertainment services, you can always opt for the Apple TV Gen 4 ($269) if you want something with some storage capabilities or the Chromecast 2 ($59) if you're after something cheep and cheerful. It's worth noting that diehard free to air fans will get no love from Apple TV, Telstra TV or Chromecast. Those who can't bear the thought of waking up without Karlos and Kochie should certainly set their sights on the Fetch.

Where can I get it?

The Fetch Mini will go on sale 4 July 2016 through Optus (branded as Yes TV by Fetch), Harvey Norman and JB HIFI. While Optus (and presumably other telcos) will be bundling the Fetch Mini with a plan, JB HiFi will be selling the device outright.

The Fetch TV Mini retails at $149. It is worth noting that Fetch TV comes with its own subscription costs if you opt for the additional channels. The Entertainment Pack (37 additional channels) will set you back $15 per month and each special interest channels (sport and world) can cost anywhere between $2.00 and $49.95 per month.

  • What we liked

Compact and stylish design


Smooth, fluid UX


Free to air tuner

  • what we didn't

No internal storage/No recording


No 4K support


Annoying bandwidth alerts

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51 Responses to Fetch TV Mini Review

  1. Default Gravatar
    Raz | February 4, 2017

    Hi. I have a Fetch TV box from a previous Optus broadband account. Rather than returning the Fetch TV box, I’m thinking of paying the fee and keeping it to use with a different ISP. Will the box still work? Or is it locked somehow to my previous Optus account?

    • Staff
      Jason | February 5, 2017

      Hi Raz,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      According to Fetch TV, It is not possible to move a Fetch TV box from Optus to another ISP. The Yes TV by Fetch STB remains property of Optus. In the event that the associated Optus service is disconnected or discontinued, the Fetch TV STB needs to be returned to Optus. It wouldn’t work at other locations or ISP as the serial number and MAC address are linked to the specific Optus account or service.

      Kind regards,
      Jason

  2. Default Gravatar
    Karen | January 20, 2017

    Hi I was given a fetch mini by my provider- Will it work with internet speeds of only 2.5

    • Staff
      May | January 20, 2017

      Hi Karen,

      Thanks for your question.

      You’ll need a minimum broadband speed of 3Mbps to access Fetch TV.

      Cheers,
      May

  3. Staff
    May | January 2, 2017

    Hi JLaw,

    Thank you for your inquiry.

    To activate your Fetch TV box, you will need to create an online account by going to fetchtv.com.au/activate. You will receive an activation code, which you will need to enter on the Welcome Screen when setting up your Fetch TV box.

    Cheers,
    May

  4. Default Gravatar
    jlaw | January 2, 2017

    Hi

    I recently purchased both a mighty and mini box. The guy at the shop advised I could access recorded tv on the mighty from the mini. When I try to activate the mini the activation code fails. I can’t find anywhere on the fetch tv site to activate a second box. Can you advise please?
    Thanks Jw

  5. Default Gravatar
    Nhan | December 29, 2016

    Hi,

    I get a mini Fetch TV yesterday and want to add Stan on it. The problem I have with is that I cannot watch any movie from Stan. Whenever I choose to play a movie, the screen is just pitch black and there is no loading. Can you help me solve this problem?

    Cheers,

    • Staff
      May | December 29, 2016

      Hi Nhan,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      Basically, you can access Stan directly from your Fetch TV main menu, however, you will have to make sure that you are also subscribed to Stan if you wish to watch movies through your Mini Fetch TV. If you haven’t already, maybe that should be the first thing you must do. Please visit Stan’s official website so can take advantage of their 30-day free trial (for new customers only).

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      May

    • Default Gravatar
      Nhan | December 29, 2016

      Hi May,

      I have already subscribed to Stan and I can watched it on my laptop. It seems to me that the movie does not load on Fetch TV.

    • Staff
      May | December 29, 2016

      Hi Nhan,

      Thanks for message,

      Rebooting your Fetch TV device would help you correct any blank/back screen issues:

      1. On the main menu go to the Manage menu
      2. In the drop down choose Settings
      3. Scroll right to Device Info
      4. Move right to Options
      5. Click the Restart button next to Fetch TV Box
      6. Open the Stan app and attempt to stream a TV Show or Movie

      If issues continue to occur, Fetch TV suggest that a soft reset will get you back up and running again (following these steps will not remove your Fetch TV recordings). Please use the steps below to resolve this issue:

      1. Switch your Fetch TV off and wait around 30-60 seconds before turning it on again.
      2. As your Fetch box is starting back up, press the colour buttons on your Fetch TV remote in the following order: red, green, yellow blue
      3. Continue pressing these colour buttons until you see the REM/REC light flash red on your Fetch TV. Your set top box will then automatically reboot by itself.
      4. Once your Fetch TV has rebooted itself, enter your activation code to reactivate Fetch TV.

      If you have followed all of the above steps and you are still having trouble, you can try a hard reset. For instructions, please refer to your Fetch TV manual.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      May

    • Default Gravatar
      | December 29, 2016

      Thanks May,
      Everything is perfect now.
      Cheers,

  6. Default Gravatar
    Brian | December 4, 2016

    Hi,
    If I get a Fetch Mini through my post paid mobile phone account, can I purchase a Fetch Mighty and use that instead of the Mini and use the recording function of the Fetch Mighty?

    • Staff
      Jason | December 5, 2016

      Hi Brian,

      Thank you for reaching out.

      You may use a Fetch Mighty in place of the Fetch Mini so that you can have the Personal Video Recording (PVR) functionality. If you’re buying the Fetch Mighty box from a retailer, there would be a one-off activation fee of $1. Please ask your mobile phone service provider if they can provide you the Fetch Mighty box instead of the Fetch Mini so that you don’t have to buy another Fetch TV box.

      Cheers,
      Jason

  7. Default Gravatar
    Lawrence | November 17, 2016

    Can I change the location of my Fetch TV Mini box to another TV at my other house?

    It’s only connected through WiFi. I don’t use it to watch free to air TV, only for premier league games.

    • Staff
      May | November 18, 2016

      Hi Lawrence,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      Yes, it is possible to change the location of your Fetch TV, as it does not require any specialist installation. Although be sure to consider these few reminders before moving:

      1. Check the broadband availability and speed at your new location.

      2. If your Fetch TV service is with a Fetch TV partner ISP you will need a broadband connection from the same ISP at your new location to continue to use your Fetch TV service.

      3. If you are still under contract you’ll need to check your broadband and Fetch TV agreement terms and conditions before changing broadband suppliers.

      4. If you purchased your Fetch TV box from an authorised retailer and have an account directly with Fetch TV, you can your service to any location that has a broadband speed of at least 3Mbps.

      Hope this has helped.

      Cheers,
      May

  8. Default Gravatar
    Greg | November 4, 2016

    Thanks. Do you have any idea of the time frame?

    • Staff
      Jason | November 5, 2016

      Hi Greg,

      Thank you for reaching out.

      There’s no information yet of when FetchTV will be able to have the Total Home DVR functionality. Hopefully, it will be done in the coming months as per FetchTV.

      Cheers,
      Jason

    • Default Gravatar
      Karla | January 4, 2017

      Does this mean that Fetch TV Gen 2 will be able to stream to the Mini in the near future? Thanks in advance!

    • Staff
      Jason | January 5, 2017

      Hi Karla,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      According to Fetch TV’s FAQ page, they are working on a solution to make both Fetch TV Mighty and Mini, share contents between the two boxes, but there’s no timeline yet of when that feature will be available.

      Kind regards,
      Jason

  9. Default Gravatar
    Greg | November 3, 2016

    Hi,
    I have an Optus Fetch Gen 2 box with an Optus subscription. If I purchase a Mini and connect it to my TV in the bedroom, can I stream recorded programs from my Gen 2 to the Mini and watch them on the bedroom TV?

    • Staff
      Jason | November 4, 2016

      Hi Greg,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      The FetchTV Gen. 2 set-up-box does not have the Home DVR functionality yet. FetchTV is currently working on a solution that will allow users to share or stream content between FetchTV boxes.

      Cheers,
      Jason

  10. Default Gravatar
    Peter | October 9, 2016

    If I move to Optus sim only mobile (advertised on line at $30 per month plus $15 per month for epl) and pay $5 per month for fetch tv mini, can I watch epl at home on my TVs without being an Optus broadband subscriber?

    • Staff
      Brodie | October 10, 2016

      Hi Peter,

      That’s correct. So long as you’re on an eligible plan and have an EPL-compatible device you should have no problem streaming EPL. Your broadband subscription will have no effect on your EPL stream.

      Thanks,
      Brodie

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