Foxtel Play review

The TV through the internet phenomenon continues

Foxtel Play
Is the Foxtel experience delivered online worth the money?

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What, you didn't expect Rupert Murdoch's beloved Australian Pay TV company to dive into a DRM-free online portal, did you?

The good news is that the restrictions on Foxtel Play aren't too draconian. You can register three devices to the service, although that does include Foxtel Go as well. Generally, that's probably going to be a computer, a tablet and an Xbox, PlayStation or Samsung, Sony or LG smart TV.

While you can opt for a range of permutations and combinations in terms of what devices you connect, you can only connect a single Xbox. We're not sure why - probably because multiple Xbox consoles really would eat into Foxtel's multi-room charging strategy.

Foxtel Play review

Best or Low? The choice is yours

And while three devices can be connected to a Play account, only two of them can stream video at a time. So forget about having four family members watching four different things on four different devices. You'll need to pony up the cash for two accounts for that to happen.

Video Quality

In terms of video quality, there are only two settings - Best and Low. Best is actually very decent - we'd go as far as describing it as almost up to DVD quality, although it does depend on your broadband connection. That said, our fairly slow ADSL2+ connection managed the stream effortlessly, and it only took between five and ten seconds to buffer a new video.

The Low quality is still very palatable, at least on a computer. While pictures lack definition, they're still watchable on a smaller screen. The lower setting on the Xbox 360 is harder to view, but is certainly no worse than watching most YouTube clips on the big screen.

The video quality setting is one thing many users will need to pay attention to, given the bandwidth restrictions on home (and mobile) broadband plans.

According to the service's FAQs, the highest quality setting will chew through 1310MB of data every hour, while the low setting will only use about 470MB.

In other words, if you left the lowest quality streaming 24 hours a day for a month, you'd likely use up more than 300GB of data. At the highest setting, you'll probably crack 900GB.

While those usage cases are unlikely, you may still want to upgrade your broadband plan before signing up.

Having spent the past decade editing some of Australia's leading technology publications, Nick's passion for the latest gadgetry is matched only by his love of watching Australia beat England in the rugby.