Foxtel Play review

TV through the internet just got real

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Our Verdict

It's getting better, but Foxtel still needs to step away from its Pay TV channel package structure to take advantage of the web.

For

  • Simple UI
  • Fast response time
  • Multiple platforms
  • Includes Foxtel Go

Against

  • A bit too expensive
  • Need to factor in broadband costs
  • Restricted device access

Update: Foxtel has expanded its lineup for Foxtel Play, adding the Boxsets channel to its lineup, so we've updated our review.

It seems like an age since the TV through the internet craze took Australia by storm. While ABC iview and SBS On Demand are practically everywhere these days and the free-to-air networks are struggling to decide exactly what the internet is to them, Foxtel has been plugging along quietly with online video.

Initially, it was simply Foxtel on Xbox, which then made its way to Telstra's T-Box and Samsung TVs. Foxtel Go arrived later, letting Foxtel subscribers get their entertainment on phones and tablets on the go.

But Foxtel Play is all of those services wrapped up in one. It's the first comprehensive Pay TV offering delivered through the internet in Australia.

Available as an app for Windows PCs, Macs, Samsung Smart TVs, the Xbox 360, the PS3 - and most recently the PS4 and Xbox One - Play is the sum of all Foxtel's previous IPTV parts, offering comprehensive channel selection through a wide variety of devices.

Packages and pricing

Foxtel Play follows the company's more traditional payment and packaging options. You pay a base rate for the most basic package, with the option to add additional channel packages for a fee.

But unlike the standard Foxtel subscription, Foxtel Play doesn't have a lock in subscription fee or installation costs. Because all the content is delivered via your internet connection, there's no need for a technician to connect cable from the street or a satellite dish to your roof.

Foxtel Play review
Yep, Fox 8 still shows a ridiculous amount of The Simpsons

Foxtel Play is also cheaper than the cable or satellite based subscription, although not by as much as you might expect given there's no set top box or PVR like the Foxtel iQ included in the price.

The basic pricing starts at $25 a month, and is offered in four different package configurations. There's entertainment, which includes Fox8, Lifestyle, Arena, Lifestyle You, MTV, Comedy and TV1; Drama, which includes BBC UKTV, FX, SoHo, Universal Channel and SyFy; Documentaries, which includes National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Adventure, Discovery, BBC Knowledge, Turbo Max, History and A&E; and Kids, which includes Disney, Disney Junior, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Boomerang and BabyTV.

You can throw multiple packages together as well, with Foxtel charging $35 for two packages, $45 for three and $50 for all four every month.

In addition, there are two premium packages on offer. Sports, which includes Fox Sports 1,2 and 3, FuelTV, EuroSport, ESPN1, ESPN2, Speed and Footy Play; and Movies and Premium Drama, which includes Showcase, World Movies, plus the Premiere, Masterpiece, Comedy, Action/Adventure, Drama/Romance, Thriller/Crime and Family movie channels.

Each of the premium packages will set you back $20 a month for Premium Movies and Drama, or $25 a month for sports, meaning a complete Play subscription will cost $100 a month.

That Premium Movies and Drama pack also comes with the new Boxsets channel, which offers on demand and streaming seasons of your favourite TV shows, including Australian piracy's poster show, Game of Thrones.

Foxtel Play review
Thumbnail view lets you see what's coming up

No matter which package you sign up for, you also get access to Foxtel Go, allowing you watch on your tablet or phone, as well as access to the Sky News, Sky Business, Fox Sports News, V and V Hits channels.

The full Foxtel service has had a price restructure, with the base plan starting at just $25 these days, but scaling up to $120 a month for a complete channel line up. That said, you'll need a satellite and a 12 month contract to get the full service, but on the upside you'll also get an iQHD set top box.

Still, the advantage of not having to sign up for 24 months, as well as the benefit of being able to watch on multiple devices is alluring.