Foxtel Now: Is Foxtel's New Streaming Service Worth The Money?

Foxtel Now prices

Foxtel has announced a revamped high-definition video streaming service dubbed Foxtel Now - and it's priced competitively with Stan and Netflix. With subscriptions starting at just $10 per month, it's a far cry from the company's prohibitively expensive Pay TV offerings. (In fact, it's actually cheaper than Netflix's HD tiers which start at $11.99.)

But what do you actually get for your ten dollarydoos? Does Foxtel Now include Game Of Thrones? Do you still need to add a bunch of additional packs to make it worthwhile? We take a look at the prices, inclusions and your frequently asked questions.

Last night, Foxtel officially unveiled the Foxtel Now app, proving that the oldest streaming service on the block is capable of learning new tricks. With Chromecast support, HD content (finally!) and a promise of more original content to come, Foxtel's online packages are starting to look a lot more compelling. Here's everything you need to know about the revamped service.

What is Foxtel Now?

Foxtel Now is essentially the same streaming service as Foxtel Play under a different name. However, Foxtel is using the re-branding opportunity to usher in a host of new features. (More on this below.)

When is Foxtel Now available?

Foxtel Now will be available from today (7 June 2017.)

What happens to Foxtel Play?

Foxtel Now will replace the existing Foxtel Play streaming service. If you're an existing member, you will be rolled over to the new service automatically. (Note: This may require a software update depending on the platform you're using.)

What devices does Foxtel Now support?

Foxtel Now will work on your iPhone, Android, PC, games console and smart TV via dedicated apps for each platform. Currently, the app is only available on PC and Mac via the Google Chrome browser, Telstra TV, iOS and Android devices and Chromecast. Additional devices - including PlayStation 3 and 4, Xbox One and select Smart TVs - will be updated "in the coming months".

So, what's different?

As previously reported, the big changes are Chromecast support (so you can stream content from a mobile device to your big screen TV) and HD video on compatible displays. (Until now, Foxtel's streaming app has been standard-def only.)

Foxtel is also upping the number of devices that can be registered and streamed to at once. You can now register five devices and stream two of them simultaneously — up from the previous totals of three and one. This means you could potentially go halves with a mate and stream shows in separate houses at the same time.

How much HD content does Foxtel Now have?

According to Foxtel, approximately half of the 16,000 titles in its on demand library will be available in HD. More HD content will be added "all the time."

What resolution does Foxtel Now stream at?

Currently, Foxtel Now is only capable of streaming at 720p. This is sure to rankle videophiles, but most viewers probably won't notice the difference if they have a typical lounge room setup.

How much does Foxtel Now cost?

The big question. As with Foxtel Play, pricing starts at $10 per month. However, Foxtel is doggedly sticking to a package model which means you will likely need to pay more money depending on your viewing habits.

There are five entry-level packs to choose from. The Lifestyle, Docos and Kids packs are available for $10 per month each. Drama and Pop (which contains Game Of Thrones) are slightly pricier at $15 per month. There's also an option to subscribe to both Drama and Pop for $25 per month.

Foxtel Now’s Movies pack is available for $20 per month and the Sports pack is available for $29 per month. However, both require an entry level pack to unlock.

To get everything, you're looking at a total of $104 per month. For most people, that's just way too expensive. On the plus side, Game Of Thrones no longer requires the purchase of multiple packages: you can access it via the entry-level Pop pack for just $15 per month.

Can I try Foxtel Now for free?

Yep - there's a no obligations two-week free trial which you can sign up for here. The trial provides access to all packs. After the trial period, you will only be charged for the packs you have chosen. (Unless you cancel.)

So is it worth the money?

Foxtel is pitching itself as the premium provider of entertainment content for Australians. In practice, this means you get more, but also pay more.

If Foxtel can be believed, it had 98 of last year's 100 top-rated movies in its catalogue, whereas Stan and Netflix had 30 or less. Is that worth paying almost three times the price? I suppose it depends on how keen you are on new release movies.

And of course, Foxtel Now provides an impressive catalogue of live sports coverage that you won't find on Stan or Netflix. But again, you need to pay extra for this content - you're looking at a minimum total of $39 per month.

All in all, Foxtel's attempts to reinvent itself in the wake of affordable all-you-can-eat streaming isn't terrible. We would have liked to see the company move away from packs or at least simplify them (how much better would it be if you just chose TV & Movies or Sports, and got access to everything?) But we realise that's not going to happen any time soon.

As it stands, Foxtel Now is a worthy investment if there's stuff you like in one of the entry-level packs. When you combine two or more packs however, your bang-for-buck takes a sharp nosedive. Our pick? Plump for the $15 Pop pack, if only for Game Of Thrones.


Comments

    What's the bet that much like it's current streaming options this new service openly discriminates against those of us who are deaf/hard of hearing by refusing to implement closed captions?

      In Foxtels' defence, they are at the mercy of the distributor/production company for captions. The distributor/prod co has to make them in the first place.

        It's actually a technical limitation in their IP products.

      I'm sure they'll have a Closed Captions pack for $19 a month.

    Currently, Foxtel Now is only capable of streaming at 720p. This is sure to rankle videophiles, but most viewers probably won't notice the difference if they have a typical lounge room setup.
    Are you kidding!? 1080p TVs have been on the market for 20 years. Who's lounge room TV is limited to 720p!?

      There's probably a lot of people whose internet speeds limit streaming to 720p. But the lowest common denominator shouldn't dictate the speeds available for everybody.

      Seems like a typically lazy Foxtel response though.
      "NetFlix is offering 4K. Quick, we'd better upgrade ours to be one ninth as good.".

      Last edited 07/06/17 2:03 pm

        There's probably a lot of people whose internet speeds limit streaming to 720p. But the lowest common denominator shouldn't dictate the speeds available for everybody.
        If only there were some way to scale the quality of streaming content for people with slower connections

      20 years? Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration. Back in 2005, I got my first widescreen TV that was only capable of 1080i (1366x768 real screen resolution), and that was considered top of the line back then. 1080p Full HD sets were only widely available a few years later.

      But hey, I'm being pedantic - 720p is pretty laughable. I mean, what are they, ABC iView?

        Not even remotely an exaggeration. In fact, it's something of an understatement. The first 1080p HDTV transmissions date back to Europe in the early 90s, although they were strictly cable only. The first US broadcast in 1080p was 1996. Whilst widespread propagation of affordable HDTV didn't begin to occur until several years later, the technology was still available before that, although at prohibitively expensive cost to the average household. So, it's actually closer to 30 years than 20.

          The fact that most tvs are 1080p doesn't mean that the average viewer notices whether they are watching 720p or 1080p. People have been used to watching DVDs on their 1080p TVs for years and not even knowing that its not 1080p
          Also it is a huge exaggeration. Your comment was that 1080p tvs have been available for a long time but they haven't been available to the common person in australia for that log and when they were first available they were too expensive for the common person.
          Uour comment implied that they have been common place for over twenty years and that IS a HUGE exaggeration

            With respect, neither I nor the OP stated or implied in any way that 1080p TVs have been "available to the common person" or "commonplace". The OP simply stated they have been on the market, which the evidence supports, and if you read my post instead of skimming it, you will note I specifically stated that the technology was "prohibitively expensive to the average household" in its early iterations, the exact opposite of what you seem to be claiming my post implied.

            Additionally, to address your first claim, the fact that most people don't notice the difference does not justify dismissal of the viewpoint that those of us who do in fact notice the difference find the limitations in streaming resolution, specifically the fact that they are only now upgrading from 480p to 720p and portraying it as a selling point, to be somewhat ludicrous, especially when 4K streaming is now becoming commonplace on other platforms.

      Who's lounge room TV is limited to 720p!?

      By "typical lounge room setup", I was referring to the size of your HD TV and the viewing distance from your lounge.

      People say they can tell, but not really. Not in blind tests. Not even "videophiles".
      Maybe they sit less than 2m from the screen and compare freeze-frames?
      Maybe they are comparing a low-bit-rate 720p stream with compression artefacts?

      Most likely its the same way they can hear 24-bit 96kHz sampled audio, via uni-directional oxygen-free gold-plated Monster cable :-)

      The fact that most tvs are 1080p doesn't mean that the average viewer notices whether they are watching 720p or 1080p. People have been used to watching DVDs on their 1080p TVs for years and not even knowing that its not 1080p

      Haha, I still have a 720p lounge room TV...

    Nobody seems to be mentioning the audio quality of these streams. When I tried their streaming service earlier this year via my Xbox One the audio was horrendous. I doubt it was even stereo, let alone surround.

    So for 10$ you get the usual garbage, and you still need to pay up for two different packages if you want to watch tv-shows and a movie every now and then?

    Sorry but i'll stick with alternatives...

    I noticed if you get everything you are paying around $105.00 if this gives you everything like the Platinum PayTV does then wouldn't NOW cannibalise into the PayTV subscriptions?

    We currently have an IQ2 (since IQ3 still has major problems) however saving $35 per month is the only positive I see switching to Foxtel NOW.

      I believe it doesn't include all the channels that the pay TV service includes, like Syfy.

      Some channels still aren't available on Now but it's cheaper because you lose the functionality of the box.

      We now have both IQ3 and IQ2 in a multi-room setup. The IQ3 works fine and makes the old IQ2 seem prehistoric. The only problem noted so far, is the IQ3 occasionally misses the scheduled recording of some free to air programs on 7, 9 & 10 via the traditional aerial input. Everything of the satellite works fine.

      Ps if you decide you want the IQ3 upgrade, don't pay the fixed upgrade costs, you should be able to get Foxtel to change it over for free.

    Let me guess, they still run funeral insurance ads too.
    And $104 for low rez 720?

    I'll stick to my Netflix/Youtube/AnimeLab mix.

    If it were 1080p I'd probably spring for the $15p/m to watch GoT, or 720p @ $10 per month but unfortunately there are two wrongs here and we all know what that means.

    Last night it wouldn't have been worth the money. The site hung endlessly and wouldn't play content. Presumably the servers couldn't handle the load. Good thing we're on the free trial. So no real loss, and just went back to other streaming services. Hopefully they sort this out as a regular occurrence of this will see people canceling.

    Another thing to be aware of is Foxtel perform device checks on Android. It picked up my custom (unrooted) ROM and refused to play any content. Presumably anything other than stock OEM signed is blocked.

      Watch out, Netflix is going down that road too.

    I've not owned Foxtel for a very, very long time. I was visiting a friend of mine that has got it and I noticed that there were ad breaks during the show. Is this a normal thing now? (It's probably been this way for ages). So my question is; does this Foxtel Now have ads? I have Netflix and love it for not having ads. I don't see the point in paying for subscription viewing if there are ad breaks during the show. I mean, WTF?

      Just watch stuff "On Demand". Which carries no advertising.

      The "Live TV" offering is just a stream of their cable service, so there will be (lots of) adverts.

      Must have been a long time ago, ads have been on Foxtel since 1997.

    Foxtel Now: Is Foxtel's New Streaming Service NOW Worth The Money? Fixed that for ya, and no

    You can download a torrent without ads, that is much better quality than what Foxtel offer. When will Foxtel wake up and provide a service that is as good as Netflix or Stan (I have both and love them). Foxtel need to get in the game and compete with the other streaming services.

      Considering we're still waiting for Netflix AU to be as good as Netflix US, I don't see Foxtel considering significant changes for some time, as they have no incentive to do so. A lot of it comes down to the exclusive distribution rights deals they've signed with the US networks. Frankly I've always viewed that as anti-competitive behaviour, as it prevents other services from competing with them and allows them to price regardless of consideration for fairness. It's one thing for a network to have exclusive rights to air their own content, but Foxtel doesn't create the content, they are purely a distribution company. And the stupid thing is the networks would probably get more overall if they allowed diversity of the distribution services, so it would be better for both them and the consumers...

        That's not entirely true. Foxtel do commission original content such as Wentworth and The Kettering Incident (albeit the latter was a collaboration with ScreenAustralia).

    This article does not feel genuine.

    It feels like Foxtel sales copy or press meeting talking points dressed up with a few quotation marks and use cases to make it seem more subjective.

    There's zero critic content in this article. The still comparatively large charges (NF gives me Food, Lifestyle, Kids, Movies.... whatever I want for one price) slid past like a greased midget down a waterslide.

    All "possibles" here are positive - there's no thought or mention of any possible downfalls or dealbreakers to the product - which if the article was written fairly, would and should be presented if the article was genuine - even if generally positive.

    Yo Chris! How much were you paid to change your mind so fluidly?

    Is LH AU a subsidiary of Telstra?

    I have foxtel, but due to recent apps for streaming, I have cut my package (ooer! Sounds a bit rude that!) down to bare bones. Just Basic and Sport.
    Just finished watching American Gods on Sunday. Getting all the new eps of American Dad years before Foxtel on the apps. That's the way to go!!

    Foxtel still have a lot to learn. I signed up to the trial thinking that maybe finally they get it, but no airplay support and casting is only compatible with the Chromecast not to android TV devices like Shield TV and Mi Box.
    ABC iview and SBS on demand are able to do this but not Foxtel "the premium provider of entertainment content for Australians".

    I can stream via Chromecast in 720p but I don't get 5.1 surround.
    I can stream via Foxtel Play on my PS3/4 but I don't get HD OR 5.1 surround.
    I can steam via Chrome on my PC in 720p but Chrome does not seem to support 5.1 surround.

    Why is it so fucking hard? I just want minimum 720p and 5.1 but the only way to get it is with an IQ box.

    Last edited 21/06/17 1:01 pm

      To quote Louie CK "Everybody in the world is like 'take my fucking credit card' and just let me have the thing, and I'll pay. But if you're going to be a pain in the ass, fuck you! I can steal all of it!"

    regardless of price, unless they get rid of adverts I would not even consider using their service.

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