PAY TV

A guide to your Pay TV options in Australia.

Subscription based Pay TV gives Australian households access to premium channels and unique programming choices.

The launch of Galaxy in 1995 was the first pay TV available in Australia. As of 2012, there were only 28% of Australian households subscribed to a pay TV services, with Foxtel dominating the majority of the market. That 28% is one of the lowest for pay TV in the developed world.
Galaxy was terminated in 1998, and Foxtel acquired most of their customer subscriptions. Today, the two leading pay TV providers in Australia are Foxtel and Fetch. However, as of 2015 a few streaming services, like Netflix and Stan, have emerged, offering a new way to digest your favourite entertainment.

What is Pay TV?

Pay TV is a generic term that refers to subscription television services that are provided using analog, digital cable and satellite. In Australia, analog television has been eliminated since 2012, narrowing the choices in how your Pay TV service is brought into your home. Pay TV should not be confused with Pay-per-View, which is a service that allows you to buy one program or movie at a time. Although the terms premium channels or premium television are sometimes used when describing pay TV.

Since pay TV is a subscription based service, the companies that provide it offer channels and programming that are unique in order to entice new customers to buy their service. Specialised channels are created to appeal to different groups of people. Since advertising on most of these channels is not the main source of revenue, increasing subscriptions with content and channels is the focus rather than who is watching and when.

Pay TV providers have also gained popularity by producing series shows, like the wildly popular Sex and the City or the more recent Game of Thrones. Since the program is exclusive to the cable network providing it, viewers must become subscribers in order to watch.

How does digital TV work?

Before digital television, Pay TV was obtained using an analog technology. This worked by using a continuously variable signal. Digital broadcasting will convert the content into a stream of binary on/off bits in sequences of 0’s and 1’s. Each bit is storing a small part of the picture, which reassembles when it reaches your television set.

The benefit of digital is that the bits recombine, creating an exact copy of what was broadcast at the source. They do not weaken over distance the way that analog signals did. This results in pictures that are always clear and free of ghosting. Plus, since it requires less bandwidth, cable TV providers are able to broadcast a larger variety of channels.

How to get Pay TV in Australia

Subscribing to pay TV in Australia will involve signing a contract with one of the providers, paying for a set-top box to carry the service, and the installation of the wiring and box. Some now offer advanced features, like internet TV options, that will require an internet connection to access. The following is a list of the Pay TV providers in Australia along with their base price:

Foxtel

The basic entertainment channel package costs $26 monthly. Additional packages, like movies, sport and drama, cost between $10 and $29 extra per month.
Foxtel's traditional paid services also come with a set-top box. The iQ2 and iQ3 act as a hub for all your viewing, recording and pay-per-view needs.

Read more about Foxtel's plans and packages

Fetch with iinet

Fetch plans with iinet start at $10 per month. This includes a Fetch Mini set-top box, catch-up TV apps (9now, SBSondemand and more), Netflix, Stan and 30 movies a month.

You can add up to four additional channel packs at $6 each, or grab the comprehensive ultimate bundle at $25 per month.

These bundles must be added to an iinet broadband plan.

Check here for more information on iinet's bundle plans

Yes TV by Fetch

Yes TV by Fetch is more or less the same as Fetch with iinet, with the exception of Optus Sport. Optus Sport is the go-to channel for all things EPL (English Premier League) and International matches.

On the Optus' $80 broadband bundle, you get a Fetch Mighty set-top box, one channel pack, and Optus sport included.

See here for more Optus bundle options

Fetch reviews

Telstra TV

Telstra has over channels in its basic package for $25.00 monthly. You can opt for a larger package with movie channels or order them through pay-per-view for no more than $5.50 each.

Browse Telstra's entertainment bundles

Purchase Telstra TV from Telstra Entertainment deals

This tiny device gives you access to Netflix, Stan, Bigpond movies and more.

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Streaming

While they don't traditionally fall under the "pay tv" umbrella, streaming video-on-demand services like Netflix, Stan and Foxtel Now have taken Australia by storm with flexibility and exclusive original content.

Find out everything you need to know about Australia's various streaming services


You may be able to offset the cost of pay-per-view movies and other features with coupons and vouchers. Simply enter the code during check-out and your total will reflect the deduction before you enter your payment information.

With all of these cable service providers, you will receive a set-top box and remote control. All of these boxes have features that allow you to record programming and movies, including free to air TV. You will pay for the box as a part of signing up for the service, at a cost of around $75. Installation is a separate charge and will also cost about the same.

Unlike internet TV providers like Netflix, pay TV subscriptions are by contract only. Once you sign up you are locked into the service for at least 12 months or you will have to pay a fee to cancel. This is a big difference from internet TV, where you can sign up and cancel at any time with no cost to you.

One advantage to pay TV is that many also offer residential phone and internet service as well, and you can bundle all of these services into one package. For example, iiNet’s TV bundle includes iiNet with Fletch, 100GB ADSL2 + broadband, home phone line, and the set up box. This costs $89.95 a month and comes with their entertainment plus pack as your cable package. They also have plans that will allow you to get video streaming from Netflix without the internet TV service being subject to metering.

Frequently asked questions

The following addresses any questions about pay TV services provided in Australia:

How do I get pay TV in Australia?

You should start by exploring the different options in providers available to you, including the price, channels and programming offered. Once you choose a suitable provider you will need to contact them and choose the package from their selections. Installation will include hooking up the TV box to their cable line and to your television.

No, a special technician is needed to connect with the server and verify that you are receiving all of the services and channels outlined in your agreement with the company.

Yes, all providers offer contractual services only. These obligations will be for either 12 or 24 months.

Yes, you can sign up for an internet TV provider like Netflix without interruption to your cable service.

This distinction is usually held for movie channels and those that produce original content such as Showtime, HBO and Cinemax.

That depends on the provider and the package that you choose. Make sure to look carefully through the channels being offered to ensure that it includes those that are a priority to you. Once you sign the contract, you will not be able to cancel without paying a large fee.

Pay TV in Australia is an ideal way to access the shows you love and an array of the newest movies available. You have a number of options to consider both in provider and packages, so take your time and do research before obligating yourself to the service.

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    OlwynSeptember 15, 2017

    How do I Chang my credit card details for billing ?

    • Staff
      GruSeptember 16, 2017Staff

      Hello olwyn.mckee,

      You would have to get in touch with your Pay TV provider to change your credit details for billing.

      Cheers,
      Gru

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