Telstra TV: What can Telstra’s tiny set top box do for you?
Vale, T-Box. Telstra has replaced it with Telstra TV -- but what is Telstra TV?
You may have noticed that there's a lot of choice when it comes to streaming media services these days, with both international players such as Netflix and more locally grown offerings such as Stan and Presto vying for your entertainment dollar. It's lovely to feel wanted, but there's an issue with these services if you want to access them on your TV.
That issue is that nobody's got a TV set -- no, not even a Smart TV -- that will connect to all three services. Netflix is on most new sets, but Stan and Presto have struggled to get Smart TV compatibility up and running, and outside of Chromecast for Stan and Presto and Apple TV for Stan only, they've struggled on set top boxes as well. That's the market where Telstra's pitching the Telstra TV set top box, a one-stop solution to accessing multiple streaming services.
What is Telstra TV?
While the older T-Box was Telstra's own hardware, Telstra has partnered with set top box maker Roku for the Telstra TV. In essence, it's a rebadged and slightly modified Roku 2 set top box with the following specifications:
|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|
Which streaming services does it support?
The specs aren't really the point of the Telstra TV, however; that's in the multitude of connectivity options to streaming services it offers. It will support both Presto and Netflix out of the box when it goes on sale from Tuesday 27 October, with Stan compatibility to be added in November. Being Telstra branded, it should be no surprise that it's also going to support Telstra's own BigPond Movies platform.
At launch, it will also let you watch SBS on Demand, 7Plus, 9JumpIn, YouTube, Red Bull TV, Awesomeness TV, Wall Street Journal, GoPro, Vimeo, Crunchy Roll, Dropbox and Roku Media Player for media playback.
In the local catchup space that does leave ABC iView and TenPlay out of the picture, but Telstra has indicated that it hopes to have those services up and running by the end of the year.
How much will it cost?
Outright, the Telstra TV will sell for $109 and will also be offered to Telstra customers who sign up to L or XL broadband bundles, or those who recontract on those plans.
You'll have to be a Telstra customer to buy a Telstra TV, but that includes both Telstra broadband customers and Telstra mobile customers.
Is there anything else I should know?
Telstra has indicated that if you're a Telstra broadband customer, your use of Presto and BigPond Movies will be unmetered, but all other services will count against your usage quota.
As an additional sweetener, Telstra is offering customers who grab a Telstra TV before the December 25 $15 worth of BigPond Movie rentals and three months of free access to both Presto and Stan.
I don't want Telstra TV! What are my other options?
The problem that Telstra TV addresses doesn't have a lot of easy solutions if you're keen on streaming media, but you do have some choices.
Netflix, Stan and Presto all support Google's tiny Chromecast media streamer, but you'll need a PC or Mac running the Chrome browser or an Android tablet or smartphone to stream to a Chromecast connected to your TV.
The Apple TV supports both Netflix and Stan as direct client applications, but to access Presto you'll need an iOS device (an iPad or iPhone) to stream your Presto selections from via AirPlay.