At last night's Foxtel-MCN 2014 Upfront presentation event in Sydney, the subscription television broadcaster announced its programming and technology plans for 2014 including a wide range of new and returning television series from Australia and overseas, and the iQ3, which Foxtel said will fully integrate the service's personal recorder with internet entertainment.
Foxtel Chief Executive Richard Freudenstein also announced a brand new Electronic Program Guide (EPG) enhancement which lets viewers browse back in time by up to 26 hours in the TV Guide on selected channels to watch shows that have already broadcast – via the internet.
Freudenstein told attendees that content available to subscribers will "dramatically increase."
“We have started to roll out this feature to our internet capable iQ and iQHD subscribers and it will be available nationally over the next month, as our iQHD is offered across the entire country," he said.
"The best news – it’s all included with a Foxtel subscription.”
He explained when subscribers scroll left in the EPG using the left arrow on a Foxtel remote a blue shade will appear, indicating they’ve looked back in time. Programs available to watch will feature black text, while shows not available will appear with grey text.
A launch selected programming on the following channels will be available Fox Sports, ESPN, Eurosports, Disney, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, FOX8, FX, E!, MTV, Arena, Studio, UKTV, The LifeStyle channels, A&E, the Discovery Channels, the National Geographic channels, BBC Knowledge, Showcase, the Foxtel Movie channels and World Movies.
Freudenstein also revealed plans about the new Foxtel iQ3 set top unit. “The revolutionary iQ3 will be a quantum leap forward from our previous set top boxes. Using wi-fi technology it will offer significantly more opportunities for internet delivery and a vastly improved TV Guide that has been streamlined to help customers discover the best programming for them,” he said.
“With combined live, recorded and On Demand programs, this box will customise the TV experience and take it to the next level. We look forward to sharing more details about what the iQ3 is capable of over the coming months ahead of its launch next year.”
Foxtel also announced two new channels – TV Hits and Syfy.
TV Hits is a new general entertainment channel featuring television’s all-time favourites and well-loved series. To launch on January 1, 2014, TV Hits will feature iconic series such as NCIS, the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation franchise, Everybody Loves Raymond, Friends and How I Met Your Mother.
Syfy, the global channel brand from NBCUniversal, launches on Foxtel in High Definition early in 2014. The new channel will be the destination for imagination-based entertainment offering classic science fiction and fantasy programming.
Foxtel Executive Director of Television Brian Walsh said, “Content is and always will remain king, and we’ve gathered, commissioned and programmed the very best for our customers. 2014 will be another monumental, game-changing year for Foxtel.
“Scripted drama is one of the biggest TV genres and is very popular with Foxtel subscribers. Over the past few years we have seen the rise of the event series or ‘super series’ taking the once exclusive high-end production experience of the cinema and creating plotlines that are far deeper than any movie can produce, over an 8-12 episode series. From Game of Thrones to Wentworth, Foxtel is the home of drama that’s different.”
From HBO, Foxtel has secured the fourth season of Game of Thrones for 2014, as well as Newsroom S3, House of Cards S2, VEEP S3, Ray Donovan S2, and the new series True Detectives, among others.