It's getting better, but Foxtel still needs to step away from its Pay TV channel package structure to take advantage of the web.
Fast response time
Includes Foxtel Go
A bit too expensive
Need to factor in broadband costs
Restricted device access
Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.
Update: Foxtel Play is now available to stream on the Telstra TV streaming device and is receiving new pricing tiers – details below!
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 PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, Windows PCs, Macs, Samsung, Sony, and LG Smart TVs - Play is the sum of all Foxtel's previous IPTV parts, offering comprehensive channel selection through a wide variety of devices.
On top of these devices, Foxtel is now also available to stream on the Telstra TV device.
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 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.
Currently, 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, TV Hits, Lifestyle Home, Lifestyle Food, Style, and E!; Drama, which includes BBC UKTV, FX (Why hello there, Fear the Walking Dead), SoHo, Universal Channel, SyFy, and BBC First; Documentaries, which includes National Geographic Channel, A&E, History, Foxtel Arts, Crime Investigation Australia, Discovery Channel, BBC Knowledge, Discovery Turbo, and Nat Geo People; and Kids, which includes Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Cartoon Network, CBeebies, Boomerang, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Discovery Kids, 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, 3, 4 and 5 (Catch the 2015 US Open this September), ESPN1, ESPN2, EuroSport and Footy Play; and Premium Movies and Drama, which includes the Premiere, Action, Thriller, Comedy, Family, Disney, Masterpiece, Romance and World movie channels.
Premium Movies and Drama pack also comes with the Boxsets channel, which means you can binge watch every episode of shows like The Walking Dead, Orange is the New Black, Ray Donovan, Entourage, The Wire, Deadwood and Australian piracy's poster show, Game of Thrones.
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.
With that said, Foxtel Play subscription fees will also receive a huge restructuring by the end of the year as the service is position to replace Presto, with prices starting at $10 per month for either the Lifestyle, Documentary or Kids packages.
Drama and Entertainment packs will go for $15 each or $25 for both. You’ll be able to add the Sports tier for $25 per month, and Movies will set you back an additional $20 per month.
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 Live, Sky News Weather, Sky News Business, Channel V, Fox Sports News, CMC, Max, V Hits, EuroSport News, and TVSN channels.
The full Foxtel service's pricing starts with the base plan costing $25, but scaling up to $120 a month for a complete channel line up. So Foxtel Play is slightly cheaper, and you'll need a satellite and a 12 month contract to get the full service. On the upside, a full service subscription also gets you a Foxtel iQ3 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.