Foxtel has announced Presto, a $24.99 a month movie-centric streaming entertainment service. How does that compare with Foxtel's existing Play offering and the rival services from Quickflix and Fetch?
Presto will officially launch "later this year". The first version will only work on PCs and Macs; Android and iOS tablet clients are promised eventually. You need a connection with a download speed of at least 3Mbps.
For your money, you receive on-demand access to Foxtel's seven main movie channels: Movies Premiere, Movies Comedy, Movies Drama/ Romance, Movies Thriller/ Crime, Movies Action/ Adventure, Movies Family and Movies Masterpiece . It's a no-contract deal, so you can drop out whenever you like. For some new release movies, you'll have to pay additional fees (an arrangement that already applies to premium titles on standard Foxtel).
How does that differ from Foxtel Play, the company's previously-announced streaming service? The short answer: Play is much more flexible but rather more expensive.
A basic Play package costs $25 a month, and the movie 'bundle' which adds movie channels is an additional $25 a month. That costs more, but Play includes nine movie channels versus Presto's seven (it adds Showcase and World Movies to the mix), and supports both live viewing and on-demand content.
Play is also available on selected smart TVs, which doesn't appear to be an option for Presto. As with any streaming service, you'll also need to watch your data consumption. Play is unmetered if you're a Telstra ISP customer; we're guessing the same will apply to Presto but are waiting for Foxtel to confirm this.
Quickflix remains potentially cheaper than these; it's $14.99 a month for the most basic package). It's also more flexible in that you can access both DVD and download titles, though the range on offer varies. Fetch TV is more difficult to compare; it's cheaper ($10 a month with most ISPs), but offers far fewer movies in its free tier.
The main point? There are plenty of options in Australia for streaming movies. I'm sure some people will continue to insist that only Netflix will do, and others would rather that Foxtel offered a sports-only bundle, but the market is evolving.
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