Foxtel's reputation as the home of drama, live sport and better entertainment has made it one of Australia's most well-known streaming services.
One of Australia’s leading Pay TV providers, Foxtel was founded in 1995 as joint venture between Fox Media and Telstra. They started by offering a 20 channel service to Australians, using Telstra’s coaxial network to deliver it. After acquiring the customer base of the now defunct Galaxy TV service, they were able to also offer satellite cable to subscribers.
Foxtel grew rapidly, and continued to add premium channels to its package line-ups that included popular television shows from around the world. On Fox8, The Simpsons and Family Guy are consistently rated well, while other channels like A&E bring in 85,000 viewers with its US syndicated shows like Pawn Stars and Storage Wars.
Microsoft struck a deal with Foxtel that allows for the cable service to be received through Xbox 360’s online service. With this feature added, non-subscribers of Foxtel could view their movies and other content on a pay-per-view basis.
What services are available with Foxtel?
Starting in 2004, Foxtel began offering Foxtel Digital to its customers. With this added feature to the service, subscribers are able to:
- Switching to widescreen for many of the channels.
- Select movies offered in surround sound with Dolby Digital.
- Pay-per-view and Near Video on Demand service.
- Interactive television.
- Electronic program guide.
- A list of channels which show programs two hours later than originally aired.
As of 2012, Foxtel customers are also able to access many of the channels in their cable plan on a mobile device. This streaming app can be used by up to three devices per account including iPads, iPhones and Android devices. With this app viewers are able to see what is being broadcast on many channels as they are being aired.
In 2014, Presto was launched. Originally a movie streaming operation it began streaming television shows early in 2014 and offers subscribers the option of either package for $9.99 a month, or a combination of the two for $14.99. You can view Presto on up to four compatible devices, with the capability of streaming two different titles simultaneously (across two separate devices).Back to top
How can you get Presto TV?
You do not need to be a Foxtel customer in order to subscribe to their Presto video streaming service. All you need is a compatible device and an internet connection to access it. Compatible devices can include TV via Chromecast, tablet, PC or a laptop. Not only does Presto offer movies and television series from the extensive library of Foxtel, they have broadcasting deals with HBO, Showtime, and the Seven Network, giving Australians the opportunity to view popular series like Ray Donovan, Dexter and Boardwalk Empire. One notable exception to this is the highly popular Game of Thrones television series which is available through Foxtel Play (see below for more information on Foxtel Play). See Presto terms and conditions.
There are a variety of different packaging options and prices with Foxtel to suit all your entertainment needs - whatever they may be. It is important to note that none of these include Presto streaming television. Although a subsidiary of Foxtel, Presto is a separate service that is billed by itself.
Foxtel Play is as an alternative to the traditional Foxtel subscription. It's an Internet TV service that allows you to stream Foxtel with no lock-in contract. As a bonus, at the time of writing (July 2015), all new Australian residential customers are eligible for a free two week trial of the service.
In order to access Foxtel Play, you will need to have an Internet connection (min. speed of 3Mbps), data and compatible device running on an eligible operating system. Bear in mind though that even if your device is eligible, not all channels or content is available on all devices so check with Foxtel first if you have specific questions about your device and the shows you wish to watch. Also, keep in mind that as this is a streaming service that relies on your internet connection, you'll have to have a broadband plan that can cater to the ISP and data charges involved with streaming.
To get the free fortnight of Foxtel Play, you'll need to sign in and provide your credit card details. You'll be charged ongoing direct debit payments (reflective of the package you nominate) if you don't cancel before your free two weeks are up so keep your trial date expiry handy in case you find Foxtel Play isn't for you.
But if it is, and you subscribe to a package, then you'll receive well 60+ live channels plus video-on-demand options including Game of Thrones. Standard genre packs start from as little as $25 per month.
You can access Foxtel Play through a variety of compatible devices, including PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Samsung, Sony and LG Smart TVs, and PC or Mac. A PC should have Windows XP with IE8 or higher while the Mac will have to have Max OS X Snow Leopard 10.6, Mac OS X Lion 10.7 with Safari version 5 or greater. With this you are able to stream live TV and catch up TV. The channels and movies streamed will depend on the subscription package you choose.
Foxtel Go is also compatible with Foxtel Play and can be used to stream content on your compatible tablet or smartphone. Simply download the Foxtel Go app from your relevant app store, login using your Foxtel Play details and start watching.
Frequently asked questions
The following is a list of frequently asked questions about Foxtel, Presto and the services that are provided:
What is Foxtel Go?
Foxtel Go is an app that allows you to access and watch what is currently available through your subscription package. It's available to Foxtel Residential Cable and Satellite customers with a STU, however excludes Optus TV featuring Foxtel customers. To access content on Foxtel Go, you must:
1) have a subscription to a channel (or relevant tier) in your resident pack,
2) have a compatible device. This includes: smartphones, tablets, PCs and MACs with an eligible operating system. Here's a full list however of all eligible devices, and
3) have an internet connection with at least a 3Mphs speed and enough data in your broadband package. As an aside, your video quality will also change depending on what services (3G/4G and WiFi) you're using.
Similar to Foxtel Play, not all channels will be available on all Foxtel Go devices, so check with Foxtel first to make sure you can access the shows you're after. This service is also only available for use in Australia.
What is the Foxtel iQ?
Foxtel iQ refers to the cable box you will need in order to receive the service. There are a number of versions with the most recent being the iQHD. This allows you not only to access the cable service, but record up to two programs at the same time to be viewed at a later date. You can also pause, play and rewind live television.
Do I need to have the box connected to the internet?
In order to enjoy all of the features of Foxtel your TV box should be connected to the internet. It will run without it but your available video library for pay-per-view will not be as extensive.
Do I need to have Foxtel in order to get Presto video streaming?
No, Presto video streaming can be used on its own. You only need to have Chromecast for Presto video streaming to work.
How can I get Presto with Foxtel?
If you are a Foxtel subscriber and would like Presto streaming services to work on your television you will need to connect Chromecast to the television or TV cable box.
Foxtel offers popular TV shows and blockbuster movies with their service, much of which is local programming that you will not get with a video streaming provider. Before giving up on your cable service, consider the value you receive with the programming you are able to access.