Dear Lifehacker, So FOXTEL has now officially purchased AUSTAR. As a current AUSTAR customer can I reap the benefits of being a FOXTEL customer, such as bundled accounts with Telstra or other discounts? And will the the FOXTEL equipment such as IQ work with satellite, or am I stuck with my sucky Mystar to decode the satellite signals? Also why are there still price differences between FOXTEL and AUSTAR? Thanks, Star Switcher
The short answer to your questions are: despite the recent merger, nothing is going to change in the near future in terms of standard pay TV services delivered via cable or satellite. You can't make the switch to FOXTEL simply because the two companies have merged, and the equipment used by the two companies, while similar, isn't directly compatible. As FOXTEL makes clear in its FAQ, beyond adding a handful of channels there's no immediate difference you're going to see. Nor has FOXTEL announced any plans to simplify down to a single price structure.
In the long term, I would expect that FOXTEL will pursue bundling deals and other options to attract new customers in AUSTAR areas or retain existing customers. But it hasn't happened yet.
The one thing that has changed is that the FOXTEL on Xbox 360 service, which previously was only available in FOXTEL-serviced areas, is now available nationwide. (You can also now get it on some Samsung TVs.) If you're happy with the range of channels and packages that offers and you have a reasonable ADSL connection, that could be a way to shift from AUSTAR. It also doesn't require a long-term contract, which is appealing to some people. The main barrier is that unless you're a Telstra BigPond customer for your internet service, you'll significantly increase your downloads by using it, which could be a problem if you don't have a fairly large limit.
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