Foxtel relaunching Foxtel Play as Foxtel Now

Nick Broughall 6 June 2017 NEWS

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Foxtel wants to bring its content to everybody, launching a new streaming service to replace Foxtel Play.

Pay TV company Foxtel has been delivering content into people’s homes for 22 years, but the arrival of streaming services like Netflix and Stan delivering content via the internet has forced the company to shift its approach.

Today, Foxtel has announced that as part of a massive rebrand that encompasses the entire company, it will be replacing its Foxtel Play streaming offering with a new service dubbed Foxtel Now.

At its core is a major overhaul of the user interface, along with improved search and recommendation features and the delivery of HD content over the internet for the first time.

Foxtel now will also introduce support for Chromecast streaming, so now subscribers will be able to watch their entertainment on the big screen.

Power of linear with an on demand product

The Foxtel rebrand is part of an effort to expand the brand beyond the 30% of Australian homes that currently subscribe to the Pay TV product.

While the focus is undoubtedly on the wide breadth of on demand content available, Foxtel will also be pushing the linear channels and digital live sports coverage as a major marketing point for the new Foxtel Now app.

At launch, Foxtel claims there will be 16,000 titles available on demand (depending on your subscription package) and half of those will be available in high definition.

While Foxtel does still define HD as 720p, it also stated that 4K streams are on its product roadmap, with upcoming hardware devices being capable of supporting 4K streams. There’s no clear timeframe of when 4K will roll out though.

Also on the roadmap is offline viewing, although it's not part of the initial launch. Foxtel has been trying to obtain offline viewing rights as part of its content negotiations, and is waiting until it has sufficient scale to offer the ability to download shows or movies to a device to watch it offline.

Getting Foxtel now, now

The new Foxtel Now app will launch on 7 June 2017, and will be initially available on compatible iOS and Android devices, plus PC/Mac via the Chrome browser and the Telstra TV.

Pricing remains the same as Foxtel Play, with packages starting at $10 a month.

Over the next few months, Foxtel will migrate the Foxtel Play apps for games consoles like the PS4 and Xbox One, as well as Smart TVs from the likes of Samsung and LG.

In the interim, the Foxtel Play apps will continue to work, streaming the same channels and content through the older interface, and without the inclusion of HD.

In the second half of 2017, Foxtel will also launch a dedicated Puck streaming device to offer direct TV access to the Foxtel Now platform. The device is still in testing and pricing is to be confirmed, but Foxtel did say it will cost around the $100 mark when it goes on sale.

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