For those of you with an older TV who want to get a premium Netflix experience, a good option is a Fetch TV set-top box.
This set-top box includes three TV tuners so that you can watch regular TV, and it features internal storage so that you can record programs as well (up to two channels can be recorded while you watch a third channel). But the main thing we’re going to talk about here is its Netflix app.
It’s simple to bring up from the Fetch TV’s main menu; simply hit the Fetch 'paw' icon on the remote control, go into the ‘apps’ section, and launch Netflix from there. You’ll need to have your Netflix login account details ready so that you can login to your account via the app (or you can even create an account from the app), and once you’re in you will be able to access all of your Netflix content.
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The way the app lays out the content is clear (mostly in sections comprising your list, recommended, trending, and new listings), making it easy to navigate with the Fetch TV’s remote control. Furthermore, it’s an app that runs swiftly. We were never left waiting and wondering after performing an action within the app. Navigation was fast, and TV shows and movies played back immediately with no discernible buffering time through our iiNet ADSL2+ connection. (We tested during different times of the day and got the same experience throughout).
In the past, we’ve talked about the Chromecast being the perfect way to watch Netflix on your big-screen TV, if it’s a TV without a ‘smart’ interface. While that is the best low-cost solution, the Fetch TV set-top box offers a more refined experience that you can use without needing your phone, tablet or laptop as the Netflix interface. It’s a Rolls Royce of a set-top box, so it makes sense that it offers such a good experience; you just have to be prepared to outlay the cash for it ($399).
Is it worth it? We think it is as long as you aren’t planning on buying a brand new smart TV with Netflix support any time soon, and also if you want to make use of its other functions. These functions include its ability to record free-to-air TV, and also to access catch-up TV from the likes of ABC iView, SBS On Demand, Ten, and Seven. There is more content you can subscribe to from Fetch TV (an Entertainment Pack that includes TV shows plus some free movies and the ability to rent movies, too), but there is no pressure subscribe to this service.
However, if you get the Fetch TV set-top box through your ISP, that Entertainment pack might be included in the deal. Furthermore, ISPs such as iiNet, Optus don't count Netflix data, and Dodo has unlimited data for its Fetch TV plans, which frees Netflix data from being metered.
If you buy the Fetch TV outright from a retailer, it’s up to you whether you want to subscribe, and you'll have to remember that you'll need a good Internet plan with plenty of data. The only thing you have to do when buying the Fetch TV from a retailer outright is set up a Fetch TV account and activate the set-top box (this will cost a fee of $1).
At the time of this writing, you can buy the Fetch TV on its own from retailers such as Harvey Norman, Domayne, and Joyce Mayne, for $399.
For heavy Netflix use, as well as watching and recording plenty of free-to-air content, it’s perfect.
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