National broadband provider Internode will follow its larger rivals Telstra and iiNet into the brave new world of online entertainment, revealing plans last night to kick off an internet television trial in late September.
Like iiNet, Internode will resell the fetchtv service, which sees customers use a set-top box to both download content from the company’s servers as well as watching and recording live free to air television in high definition.
“The fetchtv early access trial will let keen customers help Internode to ‘road test’ the service and our support for it, ahead of the doors being opened to all eligible Internode customers later in the year,” said Internode managing director Simon Hackett in a statement.
“We’ve had a lot of interest since we announced our intention to work with fetchtv earlier this year, so we expect this early adopter program to attract strong participation from our customers who are as keen as we are to make this service a wonderful addition to their Internode broadband services.”
For now, Internode customers can register to be part of the trial via the Internode link on fetchtv’s website, with full details to be provided to registered customers when the ISP’s early adopter trial is launched “towards the end of September”.
Not everyone will be able to apply – only those using Internode’s Extreme or Naked Extreme plans will be eligible. Internode uses the ‘Extreme’ label to refer to broadband services using its own ADSL infrastructure – as opposed to the networks of wholesale providers like Telstra and Optus.
Like iiNet, Internode will offer the full range of fetchtv content. So far Internode has revealed just one pricing plan -- the same standard one iiNet offers, with a $99 setup fee and a monthly charge of $29.95 to rent the set-top box and gain access to the content.
However, iiNet also offers an option where customers can buy the set-top box upfront for $399, and then pay $19.95 per month for access. So far Internode has not revealed a similar choice, although like iiNet, it is planning to offer another ‘lite’ option which will be available in more areas than its standard offering.
The fetchtv set-top box is an integrated device housing three HD digital terrestrial tuners, a one terabyte hard disk drive and the ability to pause, rewind and record live TV.
The fetchtv service – which does not count towards customers’ download quota – delivers twenty subscription TV channels, including six video on demand channels, thirty included movies each month and access to new release pay per view movies from major movie studios.
Content partners on board so far include CNBC Australia, BBC World News, National Geographic, Discovery, MTV, Roadshow Entertainment, Warner, Disney Media Distribution and MGM.
In Delimiter’s full review of the equivalent iiNet fetchtv service, reviewer Jenna Pitcher praised the set-top box’s user interface and stability, but noted she would like to see more content available and for iiNet to drop the price a little more (the service has already had one pre-launch price drop this year).