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New FetchTV Service A Serious Threat To Foxtel

By David Richards | Monday | 12/08/2013

A low cost one terabyte FetchTV set top box that will be sold at zero margin coupled with a new interface that allows users to access the latest movies, TV shows and Fox Sports News on a portable device is set to be launched prior to Xmas.

The STB which is housed in a slick slim box is set to be a major threat to Foxtel and the Telstra T Box as well as other STB providers; it will also put pressure on Samsung who are looking to snare a "significant" share of the Australian content market using content delivered by Quickflix and their own providers analysts who have seen the new offering.

Scott Lorson the CEO of FetchTV said that for the first time a STB is set to be delivered that is capable of taking on the Telstra Foxtel offering in Australia.

He said that their new offering will be take Foxtel on across their network, hardware, and software platforms, and in the delivery of mobile, content to devices.

The Fetch TV offering which could see the provider become a clear number two to Foxtel is also a threat to the free to air TV networks who are currently talking to set top box manufacturers and Samsung about the delivery of a European based HbbTV service in Australia.

The new box which will go on sale prior to Xmas will also be sold by iiNet, Optus and several other ISP's who will offer unlimited broadband if a user is already signed up to their network.

Lorson believes that they can grow the Fetch TV subscription base significantly with the new STB which delivers double the size of the current Foxtel STB or Telstra T Box.

The subsidised allows users to store movies for playback, access the best of the Net including Google TV and YouTube offerings, as well as services from iView SBS and other catch up TV providers. Also providers are several programs that are currently offered by Foxtel.

New apps will also be available that allow owners of Apple iOS and Android devices to use a variety of devices as a remote control, record remotely while accessing content "On the Go" said Lorson.

The 1TB HDD is double the size of Telstra (500GB), but more than 3 times the size of  the current Foxtel (320GB)

The first thing that SmartHouse noticed was that the new offering has a superior Interface to both the Foxtel and Telstra T Box offering, users will be able to record FTA content and subscription channels.

Later this year Foxtel whose hardware is restricted is set to launch a new subscription video on demand service however it is not known whether the subscription TV operator will launch a new interface in an effort to compete with slicker interfaces from Fetch TV, Apple and Google who will shortly launch new Google TV offerings with Chinese TV manufacturers Hisense and TCL.

Recently Foxtel CEO Richard Freudenstein told the Australia newspaper which is operated by the News Corporation who own 50% of Foxtel that the Foxtel service would enable subscribers to pay a monthly fee to watch a wide selection of the best movies from around the world.

The moves come after Mr Freudenstein was forced to renegotiate key deals with Hollywood studios after current Foxtel subscribers failed to pay for their current movie offerings.

The new service will be the third major product launch this year following Foxtel Go, a free-to-subscribers app that enables users to watch live channels on the go, and last week's roll out of Foxtel Play.

Freudenstein has ruled out a triple-play proposition this year. This service if offered in Australia will offer customers combined telephony, broadband and pay-tv channels similar to what the News Corporation delivers at their at their UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB.

Mr Freudenstein claimed the FTA networks were hampered by not having enough premium content to entice viewers.

"They just don't have the content we have in the subscription world," he said.

"I don't see a world where they are competing full-on with a full-on big subscription business."

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