Thursday, 25 July 2019 00:26

FULL LAUNCH VIDEO: Foxtel upgrades UI, adds Netflix and later, SBS On Demand Featured


Foxtel has taken the user interface from its iPad, iPhone and Telstra TV apps and has applied it to its iQ3 and iQ4 set top boxes, with the iQ4 getting the upgrade in August, the iQ3 "later this year", along with a new iQ4 remote that has a Voice search feature to be unveiled later, too.

If you can't beat 'em, the old saying goes, then join 'em. Ok, so Foxtel hasn't bought Netflix, and Netflix hasn't bought Foxtel, it's just a way for Foxtel users to watch Netflix content within the Foxtel iQ3 and iQ4 set top box interface, but it's still quite an interesting deal.

The deal will also see SBS On Demand content join the Foxtel and Netflix content line-up later this year, too.

Embedded a little further below in this article is the full launch video of the launch, held at the "Foxtel on Oxford" venue that Foxtel has created, turning what was an old cinema into a venue to launch new TV shows and host Foxtel entertainment events.

Naturally, Foxtel is branding the development as offering "Australia’s best TV and on demand, all in one place including Netflix", with "more on demand content than ever included in the customer’s subscription including complete series box sets" as well as a "completely redesigned interface which simplifies discovering and navigating Foxtel’s 16,000 hours of TV on demand, just one-click away using the remote home button".

Given today's algorithms that can track what, how and when people are watching content, it should come as no surprise to see Foxtel also touting "personalised recommendations for customers based on their viewing history", and presumably given the new "integration of app-based streaming services starting with Netflix, the world’s largest video on demand streaming service", which will include "SBS On Demand [to] arrive as part of the New Foxtel Experience in the coming months", one wonders if this means that Foxtel will also get a glimpse into which Netflix content is popular, and the types of viewership numbers Foxtel subscribers have for Netflix's content.

New Foxtel subscribers will get 6 months of free Netflix, which is the two stream package, after which you'll need to pay for Netflix yourself should you wish to continue with the service.

Foxtel's pricing for an iQ4 box starts at $49 per month on a 12 month plan for Drama and Entertainment, $58 per month on a 12 month plan for the Sport, Drama and Entertainment packs, $88 per month over 12 months if you want Sport, Drama, Movies, Entertainment and HD, and $109 per month for the Platinum HD plan with everything, again over 12 months, with all packages offering the 6 free months of Netflix.

Here's the full launch video, the article continues below, please read on!

There's also the "sleek new Foxtel remote featuring a home button and a Netflix button, making Foxtel and Netflix content just a click away", which has separate buttons for movies, TV shows, sport and Netflix.

It also has that Voice Search button. At Foxtel's page outlining its new service, there is a Q&A section with a handful of questions and answers.

Gizmodo has an article here on how iQ4 users can update their devices to start watching Netflix immediately, but iQ3 owners will have to wait until September before they get access.

Here we see the question "What is the new Foxtel Voice Remote?".

The answer listed is as follows: "The Foxtel Voice Remote is a new remote control for the iQ4. It features additional buttons in line with the new Foxtel Experience, a dedicated Netflix button and a built-in microphone. Voice commands aren’t available on the Foxtel Voice Remote right now, but we’ll be making them available later in the year. In the meantime, the microphone button will launch the search menu.

"If you’d like to order a Foxtel Voice Remote for your iQ4, contact us on 131 999. The good news is that your current remote will still work with the New Foxtel Experience.

"The Foxtel Voice Remote only works with the new Foxtel Experience, so if your iQ4 hasn’t been updated yet, this remote won’t work until your software is updated. If you’ve already got a Foxtel Voice Remote but you don’t have the new Foxtel Experience, get in touch with us."

Patrick Delany, Foxtel CEO said: “We want our customers to have the best of TV and on demand in Australia all in one place. With our new user interface, accessing Foxtel’s 16,000 hours of TV and on demand content is as simple for customers as one-click on the home button of their existing remote control.

“I can’t think of a better streaming partner to kick off The New Foxtel Experience than Netflix.

“The new customer interface puts two entertainment powerhouses together providing Foxtel customers with access to Netflix service alongside our Foxtel Originals and programs from HBO, FX, the BBC and more.

“More than 1.1 million iQ3 and iQ4 set top boxes are already installed in our customers’ homes. Starting today, The New Foxtel Experience simplifies the way iQ4 users can enjoy Foxtel’s incredible range of drama, sport and movies as well as the best of video on demand, with the experience coming to iQ3 users coming shortly after.

“So whether customers crave Wentworth or Orange is the New Black; Lambs of God or Stranger Things; Big Little Lies or The Crown, they will find it, and more, on Foxtel.”

As noted, "the New Foxtel Experience including Netflix will be progressively rolled out to iQ4 customers starting today and is expected to be complete in August. The iQ3 roll out will begin in September with all iQ3 customers expected to have The New Foxtel Experience during November."

If you're a Foxtel customer, you won't need to do anything to enjoy "The New Foxtel Experience". We're told that "software updates will be managed remotely over the coming months and The New Foxtel Experience will work with their existing iQ4 and iQ3 set top box and remote control."


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.



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