Foxtel’s latest streaming set top box, the iQ5, has a little party trick for anyone who’s ever been stuck trying to remember the name of a film they want to watch, but can remember every line of dialogue word-for-word.
But before we get to that, some specs on the iQ5. The compact design has been fitted with a new ultra-fast chip to stream 4K Ultra High Definition on your screen — and it’s already picked up a 2021 Good Design Award for outstanding design and innovation.
Yes, the iQ5 tracks what you watch to offer you suggestions on what to watch next. Make of that what you will, but it certainly nailed me with Succession, Mare of Easttown, and White Lotus.
I’ve never had Foxtel before, other than a free two-week trial of one of the many on-demand apps years ago, all to watch an episode of Game of Thrones. And look, the experience wasn’t great. The app would force me to log back in repeatedly, and you could only rewind or fast-forward in 60-second increments.
Foxtel wasn’t lying when they said the iQ5 was easy to set up. It took me all of a minute to power up and log in. If you’re a renter, or just don’t like strangers coming into your house, this is a huge win because you don’t need a technician to set it all up.
The iQ5 comes with a 1TB hard drive to record live shows. Though I’m not sure how often anyone would use this, given you can just watch shows via the on-demand function anyway.
It also integrates Netflix (you still need a Netflix subscription), along with ABC iview and SBS On Demand, so you don’t have to swap between streaming apps.
Now, while the carousels for the on-demand content on the iQ5 are well displayed and easy to navigate, the Foxtel remote really falls short when it comes to searching for live shows and movies. I had to keep going back to Home, then TV Guide, then Entertainment & Documentaries or Movies, and then scroll through all the channels.
Most of the time I just ended up on the Romance channel or watching 10-year-old episodes of The Great British Bake Off.
But here’s where the iQ5’s party trick really comes in — the remote has a built-in microphone so you can request shows and movies by voice. And if you can’t remember the name of a film, or you just want to test out the remote, you can shout out a classic quote and the iQ5 will find the movie you’re referencing.
And of course, I gave it a crack with iconic Aussie flicks.
“She’s got no musicality.” Nothing.
“A cock in a frock on a rock.” Nada.
“Straight to the pool room.” Zip.
“You’re terrible, Muriel.” Finally, we have a winner.
So yeah, the Foxtel iQ5 remote probably needs to hook up with IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes for a refresher on Strictly Ballroom, Priscilla, and The Castle at the very least.
The iQ5 is super easy to set up without a technician and is a great option if you want to stream Foxtel’s live shows in high definition. But if you just want to watch shows like Succession (it’s brilliant), and you’re not all that fussed about resolution, then I reckon you can just get away with a Foxtel Now or Binge subscription.
The iQ5 was only made available to select Foxtel subscribers in September, but it will be more widely available later this year.