Foxtel has launched its Play streaming IPTV service around Australia, with a seven day free trial for customers to test drive the streaming video player.
Foxtel Play is entirely online, with no subscription to the company's cable TV service necessary. There is no minimum contract length, and no sign-up or termination fee. Play is available on any internet-connected PC or Mac, Xbox 360 console or 2012/2013 Samsung Smart TV. The service will also be launching soon on LG smart TVs.
The Foxtel Play service costs a minimum of $25 per month, which must be used for one of four Genre packages — Entertainment, Drama, Documentaries or Kids. Adding further packages raises the monthly cost to $35, $45, or $50 incrementally. The Sport and Movies premium picks are $25 each per month but cannot be ordered independently of a Genre package.
Foxtel notes that not all channels available on its cable TV service are accessible on Foxtel Play or the companion Foxtel Go mobile service, which is included free for any Foxtel Play subscriber. Foxtel Go is an identical service to Foxtel Play, offered on Apple smartphones and tablets, PC and Mac, and some Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets.
Foxtel recommends a minimum broadband connection speed of 3Mbps to access Play smoothly; the average speed of Australia's fixed-line internet is 4.7 Mbps according to Akamai.
Required minimum speeds vary depending on the device used to access the service, with highest quality video stream topping out at 1.3GB of data per hour. As Foxtel Play is a Web-based service, streaming video will use customers' mobile or broadband Internet connections, and will impact their monthly data usage as no free streaming agreements exist with Australia's ISPs apart from Telstra BigPond.
The free seven day trial is started when a new user signs up for Foxtel Play, and will automatically transition to a paid account when the trial ends. A longer 30-day trial is available to existing Foxtel on Xbox and Foxtel on Internet TV customers. A subscription to Xbox Live Gold is required to use Foxtel on Xbox.
The minimum and maximum data requirements for Foxtel Play and Foxtel Go are as follows: