New TV Service Takes On Foxtel With Limited Content

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Joint venture FetchTV has thrown down a challenge to Foxtel with yesterday’s unveiling of its subscription TV service. Unlike the cable- and antenna-delivered Foxtel, FetchTV will be delivered via the Internet.

The service will be marketed by ISPs, with iiNet the only named provider so far.

It will charge about $30 a month for delivery of digital free-to-air TV and other subscription-only channels, pay-per-view HD movies and social networking services. Where Foxtel has over 155 programmes, FetchTV has less than 30; none of the major studios or TV show providers will admit that they are supplying content to FetchTV. 

Fetch say that content will be delivered to the customer’s TV via a broadband connection and a FetchTV set-top box. Programming will be available in broadcast quality (including HD where available) and will be unmetered.

FetchTV is described as an Australian founded and owned business, with backing from the Malaysian billionaire T. Ananda Krishnan and his Astro All Asia Networks subscription TV group. It is led by former ACP Magazines executive, Scott Lorson. The company is not connected with FetchTV of the UK.

Fetch’s set-top box contains a Broadcom processor, said to be 3D-capable; three DVB-T tuners, allowing a user to watch and pause live TV while recording two other programs; and a 750GB hard disk, able to store up to 440 hours of standard definition content.

 

iiNet CEO, Michael Malone, who 12 months ago was bragging that his new Voice Over IP BOB phone would change communication practices in Australia, said the partnership would “change the face of Australian television forever”. “It’s amazingly practical, but simply put, people will love it because it’s really cool,” said Malone in a media statement.

He also said trials of the service would be held over the next month. A start date has not been announced.

To date, the BOB iiNet has had limited success.

FetchTV and iiNet weren’t the only Australian outfits promising TV or video revolution yesterday. Other announcements came from LG Electronics, Samsung. Telstra and Ninemsn.

  • Samsung unveiled a range of 3D-capable TVs,­ the first in Australia to offer three-dimensional viewing. The lowest priced 3D TV is $2499, with two sets of 3D glasses thrown in. Since there’s currently no 3D programming, users will need to shell out a further $599 for a Blu-ray player.
  • Internet connections are included on some models, with content such as news, sport and music to be supplied by Telstra BigPond.
  • LG launched a Wi-Fi-enabled video recorder and Blu-ray player combo. The device sports two HD tuners, allowing it to record two live TV channels, while the owner watches content from Blu-ray. Using the Wi-Fi link, users can also view Internet fare. Prices start at $1099.
  • LG last week announced a plan to make Telstra BigPond movies available on its TVs.
  • Ninemsn has launched a catch-up TV website that will offer replays of current or recent Nine Network shows, including The Mentalist and Two and a Half Men, as well as programs from the BBC and other British programs such as Dr Who, Spooks and Little Britain.

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