Foxtel pioneered the pay TV industry in Australia and is now delivering complete entertainment services across cable, satellite and the Internet.
One of Australia’s leading pay TV providers, Foxtel was founded in 1995 as a joint venture between Fox Media and Telstra. It started by offering a 20-channel service to Australians, delivered by Telstra’s coaxial network. After acquiring the customer base of the now defunct Galaxy TV service, it was also able to offer satellite cable to subscribers.
Thanks to agreements with Optus cable and the acquisition of Austar, 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 consistently rate well, while other channels like A & E bring in 85,000 viewers with its US syndicated shows like Pawn Stars and Storage Wars. By 2011 Foxtel had become the largest pay television operator in Australia, taking up over 30% of the market with 1.65 million subscribers.
In early 2015, Foxtel began branching out of pay TV and into the world of broadband, launching Foxtel Broadband bundle configurations. Originally, Foxtel Broadband used Telstra's cable and ADSL networks to offer broadband services, but in late 2016 the company announced it would also offer NBN connections.
Foxtel's broadband offerings bundle the pay TV service with a broadband connection and home phone line on a single bill.
The decision to become an Internet service provider was especially notable as the company had started to offer access to its channels over the Internet years before. Back in 2010, Microsoft and Foxtel joined forces to offer Foxtel services through the Xbox 360 video game console. There was no lock-in contract, a wide selection of channel packages at a discounted price and some interesting integrations using Xbox avatars.
While the Xbox 360 version has been discontinued, this development formed the basis of what is now known as Foxtel Now.
Foxtel Now is an alternative to the traditional Foxtel subscription. It's a video streaming platform that allows you to stream Foxtel through an Internet connection with no lock-in contract. Because there's no need for special hardware installation, Foxtel offers a two-week free trial of Foxtel Now.
In order to access Foxtel Now, 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 which 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 Now, 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 two weeks are up, so keep your trial date expiry handy in case you find Foxtel Now isn't for you.
But if it is and you subscribe to a package, then you'll receive 60+ live channels plus video-on-demand options including Game of Thrones. Standard genre packs start from as little as $10 per month.
You can access Foxtel Now 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 will be 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 Now and can be used to stream content on your compatible tablet or smartphone. Simply download the Foxtel Go app from your relevant app store, log in using your Foxtel Now details and start watching.
What packages are available with Foxtel?
Foxtel offers a huge number of channels through its pay TV service, conveniently grouped together into packages. The regular quality of Foxtel channels is standard definition, with the company offering HD on available channels for $10 a month extra.
Here are the channels on offer through Foxtel's service:
|Package||Included channels||Monthly price|
|Entertainment||FOX8, BBC UKTV, Arena, MTV, Universal Channel, TV Hits, 111 Funny, Fox classics, Lifestyle, Discovery Channel, National Geographic, Disney Junior, Nick Jr, Boomerang, MTV Music, MTV Dance, [V] Hits, MAX, Foxtel Smooth, CMC, Foxtel Tunes, FoxSports News, Eurosport News, Sky Racing 1, Sky Thoroughbred Central, Sky News Live, Sky News Weather, Sky News Business, Fox News, BBC World News, CNN, CGTN, CGTN Documentary, NHK World, Aurora, Bloomberg Television, CNBC, Sky News Election Channel, Al Jazeera, Russia Today, Expo Channel, TVSN, ACCTV, Daystar, Sonlife, Hillsong||$26|
|Sports||Fox Footy, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, Fox Sports 3, Fox Sports 4, Fox Sports 5, beIN Sports 1, beIN Sports 2, beIN Sports 3, ESPN, ESPN 2, Eurosport||$29|
|Movies||Foxtel Movies Premiere, Foxtel Movies Action, Foxtel Movies Comedy, Foxtel Movies Masterpiece, Foxtel Movies Family, Foxtel Movies Disney, Foxtel Movies Romance, Foxtel Movies Thriller, Foxtel Movies More, World Movies||$20|
|Drama||Showcase, BBC First, 13th Street, FX, Binge, BoxSets||$20|
|Entertainment Plus||The Comedy Channel, SyFy, Style, TLC, A&E, E!, Lifestyle Home, Lifestyle Food, Lifestyle YOU||$10|
|Docos||Nat Geo Wild, HISTORY, Discovery Turbo, Foxtel Arts, Nat Geo People, Discovery Science, Animal Planet, Crime + Investigation, BBC Knowledge||$10|
|Kids||Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, CBeebies, Nickelodeon, Discovery Kids, Disney XD||$10|
Special interest channels
There's also a number of special interest channels that can be added to your monthly subscription. Some are standalone channels, while others are included in certain packages and yet others require you to be subscribed to a particular package to access.
|Channel name||Special requirements/inclusions||Monthly price|
|BoxSets||Also included in Drama package||$10|
|World Movies||Also included in Movies package||$10|
|MUTV||Also included in Sports package for 1c per year||$5|
|LFCTV||Also included in Sports package for 1c per year||$5|
|Chelsea TV||Also included in Sports package for 1c per year||$5|
|Antenna Pacific||Greek Channel||$23|
|RAI Italia||Italian Channel||$23|
|Sky Racing +||Requires Sports Channel pack||$5|
|Adults Only||Includes 2 dedicated channels||$30|
In order to watch Foxtel's pay TV service, you're going to need a Foxtel personal video recorder. Depending on your package or budget, that means either the Foxtel iQ2 or Foxtel iQ3 recorder.
The Foxtel iQ2, formerly known as the iQHD, is an HD box capable of recording up to 30 hours of HD content, with live TV pausing and three tuners so you can record two channels while watching a third.
Meanwhile, the iQ3 is the current premium offering from Foxtel, with three times the recording space of the iQ2, plus intelligent suggestions based on your viewing habits, the ability to return to the start of a program with a single button press and the ability to record three channels while watching a fourth.
Here's a full breakdown of the Foxtel iQ PVR specs.
|Dimensions||404 x 284 x 60mm||325 x 240 x 75mm|
|Internet connectivity||Ethernet||Wi-Fi, ethernet|
|HD recording time||30 hours||172 hours|
|Start over function||No||Yes|
|Look back feature||No||Yes|
|Channels||90+ channels||90+ channels|
|HD channels||Up to 36 HD channels||Up to 36 HD channels|
|Price||$75 upfront||From $125 upfront|
In addition to the iQ boxes, Foxtel customers are also able to access many of the channels in their cable plan on a mobile device using the Foxtel Go app. This streaming app can be used by two devices simultaneously, with up to three devices linked per account. Compatible devices include iPads, iPhones and Android devices.
Frequently asked questions
The following is a list of frequently asked questions about Foxtel, Presto and the services that are provided:
Q: What is Foxtel Go?
A: 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 an STU, but it 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 of all eligible devices.
3. Have an Internet connection with at least a 3Mbps speed and enough data in your broadband package. As an aside, your video quality will also change depending on what services (3G/4G and Wi-Fi) you're using.
Similar to Foxtel Now, 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.
Q: What is the Foxtel iQ?
A: Foxtel iQ refers to the cable box you will need in order to receive the service. This allows you not only to access the cable service but record programs at the same time to be viewed at a later date. You can also pause, play and rewind live television. There are two different versions currently available: the iQ2 and iQ3. For a comprehensive run-down on the differences, see the Foxtel Hardware section above.
Q: Do I need to have the box connected to the Internet?
A: 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.
Compare Foxtel Broadband bundles
If you want to get Foxtel, your home broadband and your home phone all bundled up together, you could consider comparing Foxtel's broadband packages below.