Tag: Foxtel

What are the realities concerning the NBN and Foxtel


NBN is good for business: Foxtel unpicks PM’s conspiracy theory | The Australian

My Comments

One of the comments that has been raised through this election campaign about the National Broadband Network was that it would hurt Foxtel’s traditional business model.

Foxtel, like Sky in the UK, are a pay-TV provider that has control over its own infrastructure, whether through access to satellites or the HFC-based cable network. This provides for “end-to-end” provisioning and management of the pay-TV service with a set-top box installed at each TV set serving as the service provider’s point-of-control in the customer’s home.

Compare this with the IPTV model that the NBN will facilitate and which is being encouraged with Google Fiber in Kansas City, USA, the French “triple-play” operators, and FetchTV and T-Box / BigPond Movies in Australia where these services are transmited using the same bandwidth and infrastructure as your Internet service.

Infact the Internet-driven model is becoming a reality for the pay-TV industry in may different ways.

For example, this model, coupled with the next-generation broadband services like the NBN could support the next-generation 4K ultra-high-definition TV technology which yields pictures that are sharper and more detailed than current-generation high-definition TV. In this case, it could come in handy with pay-TV’s “bread-and-butter” content which are the premium sports channels that carry live broadcasts of sporting events and a pay-TV provider could bring this content through to those of us who use 4K UHDTV technology without reinventing the wheel.

The IPTV model allows Foxtel, Comcast, Sky UK and others to compete in the crowded “content-on-demand” market when it comes to keeping their premium movie and TV-program services relevant. This is through offering a portable “content-on-demand” service with either streaming or downloading abilities and a large content library.

There is also the cost savings that the IPTV model could yield where the pay-TV provider doesn’t have to be sure they have access to cable and satellite infrastructure to distribute the pay-TV service. Similarly, they could benefit from the use of software as a point-of-control when “platform-based” devices like smart TVs, games consoles, tablets and the like are used or can implement the point of control in carrier-provided Internet-gateway devices. It also has opened up new directions for Foxtel such as the provision of the Play and Go IPTV services which are offered more cheaply than the traditional services that are based around a PVR set-top box associated with cable or satellite infrastructure.

To the same extent, it could also be more cost-effective to provision viewing endpoints with the pay-TV service through the use of the software which could open up the feasibility of including a household’s TVs and other devices in one subscription without the customer having to pay anything extra. In a similar way, a household doesn’t need extra infrastructure to gain access to pay-TV service because they use the existing Internet connection; as well as allowing some portability for pay-TV subscriptions.

What really has to happen is that pay-TV services have to evolve to the newer IP-based business models that NBN and other next-generation broadband services facilitate in order to keep themselves afloat. They can still offer their subscriptions and pay-per-view but use this technology to work a leaner, more capable and cost-effective service.

May the bull artists who seed doubt about the NBN harming Foxtel please cut the nonsense!

Foxtel to launch Play IPTV very soon


Foxtel to kick-start Play tomorrow – Good Gear Guide by PC World Australia

My Comments

Foxtel is having to adapt their pay-TV setup to face the new connected reality. This is brought on with “cord-cutting” where people are less likely to continually subscribe to pay-TV; IPTV-based competing pay-TV services being offered by ISPs, telecommunications companies and other companies; as well as the younger market becoming more “flighty” and moving to different locations. It is in contrast to the traditional pay-TV view where the service is provided to the suburban household with a TV in the main viewing area connected to the pay-TV service via a cable connection or satellite dish using a set-top box and the service based on a long-term account.

Here, they are responding to this situation by offering the Foxtel Play IPTV service which is delivered without the need for a set-top box. This service works at the moment with the XBox 360 games console, the recent Samsung Smart TV as well as a Web-browser session for Windows and MacOS X regular-computer platforms.

The Foxtel Go “TV-Everywhere” package is offered as part of the equation, being able to run on iOS devices running iOS 5 onwards as well as Samsung Android devices running Android Jelly Bean 4.1 onwards.

The accounts will be offered “by the month” rather than a long-term contract to cater for a large range of situations. This encompasses situations such as “event-specific” viewing, occasionally-occupied houses and people with changing budgets and lifestyles.

At the moment, two accounts can gain access to the service at any one time with each account being able to be bound to three devices. But the system could be improved to cater for share-houses that have more than two people viewing concurrently.

The Foxtel Play platform would need to spread out beyond Samsung Smart TV to more smart-TV platforms especially Sony with their PS3 games console, It will also need to encompass the fact that some of the smart-TV platforms have this functionality on video peripherals like Blu-Ray players or network media players

Similarly, there could be provision to allow people who have a traditional set-top-box subscription to either create a “portable” IPTV account for viewing in other locations or convert to a “Play” IPTV account that mirrors their current package.

The services could be augmented by a collection of “on-demand” TV services that aren’t just a “catch-up” service. This could include hiring pay-per-view movies through the Foxtel Play infrastructure or simply subscribing to channels that primarily show content on an “on-demand” manner.

It is showing that the whole business model of pay-TV is not about an infrastructure-driven setup but about a service that is more “end-to-end” in an infrastructure-agnostic manner.

Foxtel–now to be offered in a manner similar to Canal+


Telstra to offer FOXTEL on T-Box in May 2011 – Media Announcement – About Telstra

My comments

Most of the other countries in the world have at least one Internet service provider who provides IPTV or “triple-play” Internet service offering the TV channels that are expected in a multichannel pay-TV service as part of their TV deals. This is whether as a separate option or integrated in to the TV package.

For example, most of the French “triple-play” packages (Livebox, Freebox, Bbox, Box SFR, etc) offer the Canal+ pay-TV service as a “channel package”. Similarly, the channels offered through US cable-TV services are being offered via AT&T’s “FiOS” IPTV offerings.

Now this trend is coming to Australia with Foxtel, Australia’s main pay-TV brand, offering their TV channels through the Telstra T-Box IPTV setup. This will be offered in the same manner as what is done in France, where the Foxtel packages are sold as a particular add-on rather than the channels being part of packages that Telstra BigPond determines.


One main advantage I have often seen regarding delivery of the Foxtel brand via IPTV is that there isn’t the need to run extra coaxial cable to each viewing location or fuss with a satellite dish in order to receive this content.

Some households that have highly-landscaped gardens can benefit because there isn’t the need to dig up the garden to run new cable from the street (in the case of underground-cable setups). As well, people who live in forested areas of the cities

Another advantage with this particular setup is that you only need one set-top box to receive the IPTV services provided through BigPond as well as Foxtel. This is more important to those of use who value the idea of “all the eggs in one basket” but have had to worry about room on the TV cabinet for the T-Box and the Fox Box; or extra inputs on the TV in order to have both these services.

Outstanding Questions

There are still some outstanding questions and issues that need to be raised concerning this service. One is whether a user can set up concurrent recording of shows broadcast on Foxtel, BigPond TV and regular TV at the same time. It also includes handling of sequential recordings, especially where the user requires a certain amount of run-on to be recorded to cater for when channels finish their shows later.

This same problem can extend to capacity issues for T-Box and will eventually require measures like support for “offloading” to approved NAS devices, and the availability of larger-capacity PVRs that work with the BigPond IPTV service. This can also open up issues like true multi-room setups with scalable customer-premises hardware in the form of PVRs that have different capacities and functionalities as well as view-only set-top boxes  Here this could allow for “follow-me” viewing, setting up recordings from other rooms and increased recording capacity and concurrency.

How this could affect the pay-TV landscape

It will also be interesting to see how long this deal will be exclusive to Telstra BigPond. This is especially real as some of the other ISPs in the Australian market like iiNet and TPG are offering IPTV service by “picking off” channels from various content providers. As well, Optus will want to get in to this new game by offering IPTV service and may want to run the Foxtel name in its lineup. Similarly, the Austar name, which covers the Foxtel lineup outside the capital cities will want to appear in any IPTV lineup in its market area.

It could then redetermine the role of the traditional multichannel pay-TV distributor like Foxtel or Austar, who used to rely on their infrastructure and their set-top boxes as being core to their operations, causing them to become a “content wholesaler” or “content franchise”. Here, the customer views these services through hardware provided via their IPTV operators such as “triple-play” broadband providers and chooses the service as an option that is part of their broadband, “triple-play” or IPTV package.