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Subscription based Pay TV gives Australian households access to premium channels and unique programming choices.
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.
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:
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.
Optus TV by Fetch
Optus 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' $90 broadband bundle, you get a Fetch Mighty set-top box, one channel pack, and Optus Sport included.
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.
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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.
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.
The following addresses any questions about pay TV services provided in Australia:
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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