There are now Pay TV services in Australia available from both:
- Traditional Pay TV, delivered via a dedicated cable or satellite; and
- Streaming Pay TV, utilizing your internet service.
|Traditional Pay TV – via cable or satellite
||The longest standing Pay TV option in Australia providing access to many options across sport and entertainment with a set top box facilitating recording and storage of shows.
It can be purchased on its own or bundled with your internet service.
|Streaming TV – via the internet
||Utililising a set top box, Fetch TV provides access to a number of streaming services. It can be purchased on its own or bundled with your internet service.
||A Foxtel subscription with access to all Foxtel content, but via the internet.
||A popular American media provider with extensive TV and entertainment content.
||An Australian streaming service offering original and rebroadcast movies and TV shows.
|Amazon Prime Video
||Offers both Amazon originals as well as popular TV shows and movies.
||A specialty sports offering that provides access to over 50 sporting events and shows.
Traditional Pay TV
Traditional pay TV is a subscription based service that allows you access to a wide variety of content not available on free-to-air television. Channels are based on areas of interest (e.g. sport, lifestyle, drama, etc) and you can select different packages to include the content that you are interested in.
You can access traditional pay TV via a dedicated cable or satellite dish on your roof, both requiring professional installation. Traditional pay TV generally provides a more stable connection than streaming services. If you’re renting, you’ll need to get permission from your agent or landlord and if you live in an apartment, it’s also wise to check with your Body Corporate.
Traditional pay TV also requires a device called a set top box, which connects to your TV, pay TV cable point, TV aerial and powerpoint. Most set top boxes have the added benefits of being able to record, pause and rewind live TV. Pay TV subscription packages usually include a set top box but beware if you cancel your contract before the end date, you may have to pay out the cost of the device. There is also usually a choice of devices, some having more functionality than others (e.g. some enable you to record multiple shows at once or view in HD and ultra HD quality.) Pay TV subscriptions are usually 12 month contracts which, after 12 months, roll onto a monthly subscription.
The traditional means of pay TV was first introduced in Australia by Foxtel in 1995 and they are currently the only provider offering this service. Foxtel boasts some of the best content including live broadcast of most AFL, NRL and A-League football matches, blockbuster exclusive shows like Game of Thrones and latest new release movies. There are many channels to choose from including drama, sport, kids, lifestyle, documentary and movie channels as well as 1000+ movies on demand.
Foxtel set top boxes are able to pause, rewind and record live TV, and the Foxtel iQ4 can deliver ultra HD (4K). If you connect your Foxtel iQ3 or iQ4 set top box to the internet, you can access even more movies and shows by streaming ABC iview or Netflix. Foxtel offer packages and sometimes free promotions that include Netflix subscriptions.
There are a number of different Foxtel packages available and prices generally increase as you add more channels. Standard Foxtel subscriptions can come with a 12 month lock-in contract however, there is a no lock-in contract option which includes a fee for equipment and installation as well as higher monthly rates. Premium packages include multiple set top boxes to use in multiple rooms.
It’s also worth considering bundles. Telstra offer highly discounted rates on Foxtel subscriptions to Telstra broadband customers. Foxie can assist you with Telstra broadband and Foxtel bundles. https://www.foxie.com.au/our-service/broadband/
If you’re moving home you can take your existing Foxtel pay TV service with you, as long as you are moving to an address where Foxtel can provide the service. There’s also a handy app, Foxtel GO, which enables you to access many of the channels in your pack while you are awaiting connection at your new location.
Foxtel’s traditional pay TV does not use your internet data allowance and is the only pay TV option suitable for people who don’t have an internet connection.
Streaming TV or Streaming Video on Demand (SVOD) services deliver content via the internet and allow you to watch movies and shows on demand without needing to download them first. They also offer a huge variety of content including some exclusive original content. They give you the freedom to watch what you like, when you like, and often without advertisements. There is no installation of cables or satellite dishes, however you’ll need a broadband internet connection with adequate speed and data.
There’s a growing list of streaming options including Foxtel Now, Netflix, Stan, Amazon Prime, Hayu and Kayo Sports. Most of these services can be streamed directly on a smart TV, Apple TV, laptop, Mac, PC, smart phone or tablet or via a device that has access to the internet including, gaming consoles, Chromecast or a set top box (e.g. Fetch mini).
Most providers also offer offline viewing so you can download movies or shows from their library while you are connected to the internet, then watch them later without internet access.
One other advantage of streaming services is that you don’t have to be home to access them. You can access them when you are out and about from a smartphone or even your office computer!
Internet subscriptions are typically cheaper than Pay TV subscriptions and you usually don’t have to commit to a term contract. However, you need to factor in the cost of your internet connection and if you’re on a limited data plan, you’ll need to watch your limits. Many streaming services offer free trials but beware, to avoid ongoing charges, you’ll need to notify them if you do not wish to continue.
Fetch TV is not technically the same as Foxtel because it is delivered via the internet rather than cable or satellite. However it’s closely comparable because it uses a set top box which can pause, rewind and record live shows and packages are structured based on channels in different interest areas. Like Foxtel, Fetch TV has a long list of drama, sport, kids, lifestyle, documentary and movie channels and you can individually rent or buy movies and shows on demand from a huge library (8000+ movies and 300+ shows). Fetch TV also gives you access to the Optus Sport channel where you can watch every English Premier League match live.
Fetch set top boxes can stream many third party services like Netflix, Stan and ABC iView, giving you access to even bigger libraries of shows and movies. This means you can access all of your entertainment in one place, with one remote control and is therefore a good option if you don’t have a smart TV. Note, you still need to purchase separate subscriptions for Netflix or Stan.
As there are no cables or wires required, you can set up Fetch TV yourself following the provider’s instructions.
There are 2 ways to purchase Fetch;
- Buy a Fetch box from a number of leading retailers then sign up for Fetch TV subscriptions online.
- Bundle Fetch with your broadband connection. Broadband providers including Optus, iinet, Dodo and iPrimus have some attractive bundles. A set top box is included for free but you will need to return it if you cancel your contract.
A Foxtel Now subscription will give you access to all of the same content as traditional Foxtel, but via the internet. You can also watch aired shows at a later date without needing to record them first.
You can watch Foxtel Now on a variety of devices or, if you don’t have a suitable device, you can purchase a Foxtel Now box. The Foxtel Now box will also allow you to access YouTube, Stan (subscription required), and free to air catch up like ABC iView as well as apps and games from Google Play Store.
Foxtel Now subscriptions are monthly and have a no lock-in contract. Packages generally cost less than traditional Foxtel, and each subscription you can register up to 5 devices and watch content on two of those devices at the same time.
American media provider Netflix offers streaming services in Australia with a huge range of TV shows movies, and documentaries including exclusive and original content. Original content favorites include Stranger Things, The Crown and House of Cards. With more than 1,000 shows and more than 1,500 movies, the biggest attraction with Netflix is the sheer size of its library. You can also download shows and movies so that you can watch them on the go without an internet connection.
Netflix offers 3 plans; basic, standard and premium. The basic plan is the cheapest and allows you to watch on one screen at a time in standard definition (SD). For a little more money, the standard plan allows you to watch on two screens at a time in HD. The most expensive option, their premium plan, allows you to watch on up to 4 screens at a time in HD or ultra HD definition. There are no contracts and can cancel your subscription online anytime.
Stan is an Australian streaming service, and direct competitor to Netflix, offering original and rebroadcast movies and TV shows by subscription. Original content includes Australian television series Wolf Creek and One Night Stan, a series of great original Australian stand-up comedy. Stan also has a large amount of British shows as well as Disney movies and shows. You can also download shows and movies and watch them on the go without an internet connection.
There are three different product and price options with Stan; basic, standard and premium, all with no lock-in contracts. The basic subscription allows you to stream on one screen or download to one device at a time in SD quality. The standard plan allow you to stream on three screens at one time or download to three devices at the once in HD quality. Stan’s premium plan allows you to stream on four screens at one time or download to three phones or tablets at the one in HD and ultra HD quality.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime is now also in Australia, with it’s own list of movies and TV shows including some original content like The Grand Tour. You can also watch some NFL games on Prime. This service allows you to stream content on three devices at once as well as download shows and watch them later.
Amazon Prime subscriptions come with no lock-in contracts as well. You can only purchase the subscription in USD, and will need to factor in exchange rates as well as currency conversion fees if comparing with other services.
As the name suggests, this one is for sports enthusiasts! Allowing you to stream in HD quality, over 50 sports both live and on demand including AFL, NRL, A-League football, cricket, golf, tennis, surfing, motorsport and more.
There are 2 subscription levels on offer; watch on up to 2 screens at the same time with the basic subscription or up to 3 screens at the same time with the higher priced premium subscription. If you like it and decide to continue, there are no lock-in contracts and you can cancel anytime.
How do I choose?
If you’re interested in pay TV so that you can watch a specific TV series or sport, then choosing a subscription is fairly simple. However, if you just want access to more shows and movies than is available on free-to-air TV, comparing services can be a little trickier. The rights to TV shows and films change regularly and in the absence of complete TV show and movie lists (most providers do not seem to have these on their websites), your best option is to take up a free trial offer and see what you like. Subscription costs are generally reflective of what is on offer so it is probably best to think about what it is you want to watch rather than who has the cheapest subscription.
Many of these services are complimentary to each other and if your budget permits you could consider signing up for more than one.
What sort of internet connection do I need?
For cable/satellite Pay TV subscriptions, you do not need an internet connection.
Click here to learn more about recommended speeds and data requirements for streaming https://www.foxie.com.au/our-service/broadband/
or you can check the FAQ’s on individual service provider websites.
Foxie can directly arrange a Foxtel Pay TV connection for you or help you find a great broadband and pay TV bundle. Our internet providers include;
- My Republic
If you just want an Internet streaming service subscription like Netflix or Kayo, then you can just sign up directly through their websites.