Telstra adds ABC iView to Telstra TV

Alex Kidman 14 December 2015 NEWS


The addition of ABC’s very popular iView service means that all the major Australian streaming services will be available on Telstra’s tiny set-top box.

When Telstra launched its Telstra TV set top box, it did so with the promise of supplying every major Australian streaming service from the one interface.

The two notable free to air omissions in its catalog of streaming services were Tenplay, which it launched back in late November, and ABC’s iView service, which will become available to Telstra TV customers from tomorrow.

Adding iView puts the Roku-powered Telstra TV in an interesting competitive position relative to streaming solutions such as Google’s Chromecast and Apple’s Apple TV. Both the Chromecast and Apple TV can have free to air programs sent to them wirelessly from a secondary device. Indeed, that’s the entire operating environment for the Chromecast, which isn’t much more than a fancy screensaver without an Android device to connect to it. Streaming to a device is workable but can be fraught with obtuse connection errors, so simply having a streaming app at the touch of a remote is a big plus.

Apple’s latest generation of its Apple TV box, meanwhile, does allow for easier app creation than in the past, so it’s likely we’ll see full new apps for all the major streaming services there, but for now, Telstra’s Telstra TV has the lead.

Telstra sells the Telstra TV for $109 outright or free with selected broadband plans. You do need to be a Telstra customer to buy one, but that’s not the same thing as having a Telstra broadband plan; any Telstra ID, even one associated with a prepaid mobile will suffice for registering a Telstra TV, although using it on a non-Telstra broadband service naturally means that the areas denoted as quota-free for usage don’t actually count as quota-free.

Here are the specifications for the Telstra TV, which is in itself a rebadged and firmware flashed Roku 2 set top box.

Processor Dual Arm A9 1Ghz Processor 32KB L1 Cache
Storage 256MB Flash NAND
Ports HDMI 1.4, USB 2.0, MicroSD Slot,
Remote Roku Standard infrared (IR) Remote with 2x AAA batteries

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