Telstra executive director of Media J-B Rousselot said three out of four T-Box customers were families, so the telco had designed the Foxtel service on the set-top for with 'value for money, quality home entertainment and flexibility at the top of the list'.
The news comes as options for access to online content are rapidly expanding in the Australian marketplace. A number of internet service providers, including major companies such as iiNet and Internode, are now retailing the FetchTV IPTV offering locally, while Foxtel is also available through Microsoft's XBOX 360 platform, although downloads through the Xbox count towards customers' quotas, unlike with the T-Box.
Ovum analyst Tim Renowden this morning said in a statement that the new T-Box Foxtel offering gave Australians a lower-cost option for pay TV, but was likely to continue Foxtel's dominance of the local market.
'Foxtel hopes to attract new subscribers, particularly younger customers and renters who are frustrated by long contracts, or those who can't afford a full Foxtel subscription,' he said. 'Telstra will use the service to encourage its customers to take up a bundle fixed line services (fixed voice, broadband and subscription TV) and reduce customer churn to aggressively-priced competitors.'
'There is a risk of existing Foxtel customers switching to a T-Box service to reduce their costs,' he added, 'but Foxtel will be hoping the more comprehensive channel packages, HD channels and some extra features such as PVR functionality will discourage most existing customers from downgrading.'
Renowden also noted that Telstra would need to carefully monitor its content delivery network to balance out customer demand for video services online against network capacity. The delays in the rollout of the Foxtel service to ADSL customers, the analyst said, were essentially a bid to ensure Telstra's CDN infrastructure had the capacity to deliver a quality service.
'Any network performance issues will be unacceptable for paying customers,' Renowden said, 'so this launch will provide a crucial test of Telstra's ability to deliver streaming video to a mass audience over its broadband network.'
Image credit: Telstra