Foxtel today released its new home streaming device, but the box seems to have a flaw that makes one of its biggest features useless.
The “Foxtel Now box” was launched this week as a way for Australians to switch seamlessly between streaming services – like Foxtel Now, Stan and, to be added later, Netflix – and free-to-air television by having everything on the one menu.
The $99 device achieves this by being connected both to the internet and the home TV antenna.
Today, Foxtel lifted the lid on the Foxtel Now box - a new Android TV streaming device that plugs into your TV. Equipped with a 4K-capable Chromecast receiver, a free-to-air tuner and a range of non-Foxtel streaming apps (including Stan), it wants to be the central hub to your entertainment system. Here are the specs, release date and pricing details!
Business Insider tested out the box ahead of its general release this week. The setup was fairly straight forward and having everything in the same place, without having to change HDMI inputs on the television, was very handy.
However, on the second day, the free-to-air stations started doing something strange. The Foxtel Play box was showing a completely blank screen but still putting out perfect sound.
Other Foxtel channels, which are delivered over the internet, worked perfectly but none of the free-to-air channels, which come from the aerial connection, showed a picture.
Obligatory reboots were performed on the box but these channels still failed to show. Eventually the TV antenna was unplugged from the Foxtel Play box and connected back into the television set.
A Foxtel spokesperson told Business Insider that such a bug had not been previously reported to it from early testers ahead of the device’s public release today.
The bug in the puck, if widespread, could be another blow for Foxtel Now streaming customers, who have widely panned the mobile and tablet app. Since it was launched in June this year, it has only achieved a rating of 1.8 stars out of 5 on the Google Play Store.
Foxtel has the ability to have the box’s software automatically updated over the internet, so if the device is purchased now the bug may be fixed remotely later. But the issue needs to be considered by early adopters rushing out to get the device.
At the launch this week, Foxtel executives said that the company was “in negotiations” with Netflix to add the service onto the device later, without committing to a timeframe.
The latest Apple TV has Netflix but no Foxtel Play, while the new Telstra TV hosts the “complete” set of free-to-air, free-to-air catchup, Stan, Netflix and Foxtel Play.
The Foxtel Play box does have built-in Google Chromecast, which allows direct screen mirroring from smartphones and tablets, meaning “unsupported” services like Netflix can still be beamed onto the television.