It feels only appropriate that Foxtel’s rebranded streaming effort is called Foxtel Now. After years of being seen as the dinosaur of the Australian media landscape, they’re finally trying to play catch up.
Sure, it’s easy to roll your eyes at yet another rebranding by Foxtel. However, If you’re planning to tune into this year’s penultimate season of HBO’s Game of Thrones, you’ll want to know your way around the service sooner rather than later.
What is Foxtel Now? What Happened To Foxtel Play?
Following their recent financial floundering at the hands of streaming players Netflix and Stan, Foxtel Play has been retired and replaced with Foxtel Now. As with its predecessor, Foxtel Now can be installed on your Smart TV, PC, Mac, Xbox, Playstation, smartphone or portable tablet (regardless of whether you use iOS or Android). Once installed, the app itself allows you to stream available video content in up to 720p HD quality whether you’re on the go or chilling on a Wi-Fi network.
Essentially, it delivers Foxtel’s library of content via a platform that’s a little more in line with its competitors when it comes to affordability and usability.
Still, According to Foxtel CEO Peter Tonagh, “Foxtel Now represents our most flexible and affordable entertainment service and brings with it HD streaming, a great new look and feel and the freedom to jump in and out based on your viewing preferences.”
How much will it cost?
The membership system for Foxtel Now is tiered by content. Basic access costs $10 a month and nets you your choice of the Lifestyle, Docos or Kids Pack. If you want more than one of these entry-level packs, it’ll cost you another $10 a month.
Then there’s the Drama and Pop packs, which are $15 each or $25 as a bundle.
Finally, there’s the Sports and Movies packs – which add $29 and $20 to your monthly bill respectively.
Last but not least come the English Football Club channels, which are priced at $5 each.
Should you buy it?
Though it falls short on a few fronts and the tiered pricing system is cumbersome at best, Foxtel now does feel like a definite improvement. Although, in some ways, it almost feels closer to FetchTV than it does Netflix. If you’re planning on watching Game of Thrones as it airs in the states, you don’t really have any other (legal) options apart from Foxtel. However, beyond the two months where HBO’s fantasy drama will be airing, Foxtel Now might be a little trickier to justify.
Even If you’re able to get everything you want to watch out of one or two starter packs, it’s already going to cost you double what you’re paying for Netflix or Stan – both of which have a leg up on Foxtel Now when it comes to 4K and HDR-grade content. In spite of all the marketing dollars Foxtel are putting behind the idea that Foxtel Now brings them up to speed with Netflix, it feels like they’ve still got a long way to go. There’s also no support for offline-viewing / temporary downloads of content.
That said, if you’re more interested in streaming movies than TV shows: Foxtel Now might be worth taking a serious look at. Despite partnerships with Disney and Marvel, film streaming remains a major weak spot for Netflix and Foxtel has always performed well in comparison.