Foxtel Now box will cost $99 from this Friday
Foxtel's streaming puck will also double as a Chromecast and play Android games.
Foxtel teased the existence of its own streaming box solution earlier in the year, and today took the wraps off what it's calling the Foxtel Now Box. It will be available from 10 November 2017 at an outright cost of $99, although that doesn't include a Foxtel Now subscription.
The Foxtel Now box is Android TV-based, and that was quite a deliberate step, according to Foxtel CEO Peter Tonagh. "It was a deliberate decision we took because it's an open platform. Anyone publishing apps on the play store can make them available," he said. "We will have a curated platform so they won't all be available."
So what does that mean? Foxtel states that it will curate the apps that are promoted from the Foxtel Box home screen, although a near-full array of apps, including media streaming apps such as Plex can be accessed from the Foxtel Now box version of the Google Play app store. Where Foxtel will step in and actively block an app is where they consider it to be actively promoting piracy of filmed material.
The Foxtel Now box will support video at up to 4K HDR resolution and comes with an inbuilt free-to-air tuner, as well as integrated Chromecast compatibility. However, 4K HDR isn't yet supported by Foxtel Now, so that's a feature set for other compatible apps.
Not surprisingly, Foxtel's own content via Foxtel Now is highlighted through the device interface, but other IP-based streaming services, including Stan are supported. Foxtel representatives stated that they were in talks with Netflix regarding the release of a client app for its streaming service to come to the Foxtel Box.
If you're an existing Foxtel subscriber, you won't be able to use the Foxtel Now box as a secondary receiver; you'll need a separate Foxtel Now subscription to use the Foxtel Now Box.
While the hardware in the Foxtel Now box is voice-capable, this won't be available from launch, with Foxtel stating that it wants to ensure that voice capabilities are robust before making them available to consumers.