On the day that Adobe introduced Flash TV, pay TV operator Foxtel has announced a brand new web site that CEO Kim Williams claims is just the start in a series of “sexy” innovations set to be rolled out this year by Foxtel.
In what is clear forerunner to the introduction of IPTV and a future battle with TiVo the new Foxtel site allows Foxtel customers to log on and record programmes from any PC, they can also get access to an extensive collection of full screen videos with the next step being the full download of a Foxtel program or movie.
The Foxtel site which has been built from the ground up to better manage content is capable of showcasing over 60 shows at any one time from either the home page or the What’s On section of the site.
However there are no “immediate” plans to expand the hard drive offering on Foxtel set top boxes that currently range between 160GB up to 320GB for the iQ2 HD player says Patrick Delany the Executive Director of Sales and Product Development.
“The biggest issue in expanding the hard drive to a Terrabyte is our content partners who do not want us to expand the hard drive offering. We are currently working on this and it is an issue that we discuss with them every six months. We have several products currently in development including an expanded hard drive and in the future an IPTV service. This will be 2010 offerings” said Delany.
He also said that the movie studio’s fear losing DVD counter sales .
Foxtel said that the new web site will not contain services such as Pizza or Blockbuster movie services similar to what is currently being offered by TiVo, after Kim Williams said that Foxtel research revealed that the chance of these services delivering a commercial return are “zip or zero” he said.
And in a move aimed at thwarting free to air TV channels who are deliberately putting TV shows to air outside of the times advertised Foxtel has introduced a 20 minute buffer as part of their 14 Day Online TV Guide which is now integrated with “Remote Record” a feature which sends selected shows straight to a Foxtel iQ or iQ2 set-top-unit planner from either a mobile phone or PC.
Foxtel have also made it possible for subscribers to access their account online and sign up to view monthly bill summaries, payment history, and or change appointments with Foxtel technicians, update account details, or cancel Foxtel services.
When asked whether Foxtel was set to align themselves with a TV vendor Williams said “doubtful, why should we. We are totally technologically agnostic we can deliver to multiple devices in multiple places so why should we align ourselves with one vendor”.
Late last year, it is believed that Sony tried to cuddle up to Foxtel across both the consumer electronics range and via their Playstation offering but it is believed they were rejected by Foxtel management.