Telstra unveils new Telstra TV with 4K live TV streaming and inbuilt search

Alex Kidman 23 October 2017 NEWS


Stream in 4K or watch live with Telstra's second generation Telstra TV set top box.

Telstra has announced the next generation of its Telstra TV set top boxes in the form of the 2nd generation Telstra TV, still branded just as the "Telstra TV".

Like its predecessor, it's a streaming box based around Roku's technology, used for services such as Foxtel Now, Netflix, Stan and free to air services such as ABC iView.

Similar to its predecessor, the 2nd Generation Telstra TV is a small black set top box with a simple Roku remote for accessing streaming and live TV viewing functions. The remote now features dedicated buttons for Live TV, TV Guide, Foxtel and Netflix.

Part of what sets it ahead of the original model is the ability to watch live TV streams, similar to Fetch TV's Fetch TV Mini. It's also capable of High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), and in case you're not up to speed with industry acronyms, that means it's a 4K-capable streaming box, putting it up against devices such as Google's Chromecast Ultra and Apple's recently launched 4K Apple TV.

The comparison to the new Apple TV is particularly apt, as the new Telstra TV also comes with an integrated search function that works across free to air broadcasters' catch-up-TV services, as well as Foxtel Now, Netflix, Stan, BigPond Movies and for the first time on Telstra TV, reality TV streaming service Hayu.

Search is a feature also found (albeit with less scope) in the new Apple TV app, and to make the comparison even starker, Telstra will also launch its own Telstra TV app for Android and iOS. The app will allow you to stream catch-up-TV content, as well as acting as a secondary remote for the new second generation Telstra TV.

The new Telstra TV will be offered to customers signing up for broadband bundles at $99 or more as a promotional extra, as well as going on sale through Telstra stores for an outright price of $192. Telstra TV will also be available on contract terms for $8/month over 24 months to Telstra customers. It will be available to customers from 31 October, the same day that Telstra puts the new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL on sale.

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    Telstra launched its first generation Telstra TV, a rebadged and reworked Roku Series 2 box two years ago, providing the streaming box to its broadband customers on bundles or outright for $109. At launch it was the only streaming solution locally that could handle Netflix, Stan and the now-defunct Presto, as well as Telstra's own BigPond Movies service and, over time, the streaming services of the free-to-air broadcasters. Telstra says that it has sold more than a million original generation Telstra TVs to date.

    While all three of Australia's big telcos have entertainment streaming ambitions, to date Telstra's the only carrier to launch its own-branded streaming boxes to handle the transition from Internet to the big screen, firstly by the now-defunct T-Box set top box and then the two generations of Telstra TV.

    Optus has had a long-time tie-up with Fetch, although it's not the only ISP to offer that brand, while Vodafone has yet to release any Vodafone-branded streaming solutions.

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