This month, two PC World readers are going to be the lucky recipients of Huawei’s latest smartwatch, the HUAWEI WATCH GT 2 Pro, valued at $499.
Foxtel on Internet TV (for Samsung Smart TVs)
Foxtel’s cable-free subscription is easy to use, flexible, and cheap
- Low monthly price with no contract
- Decent choice of channels
- No specialised channel choices
- Limited guide functionality
As a cut-down, cut-price version of the full Foxtel service, the Foxtel on Internet TV app for Samsung Smart TVs is surprisingly good value. A base price of $20 per month includes a basic channel pack, and other services are an additional cost.
Price$ 19.50 (AUD)
The new Foxtel Internet TV service, available on Samsung Smart TVs, is a streaming IPTV service that uses your Internet connection instead of a Foxtel cable. It’s much cheaper and more flexible than traditional Foxtel, and still offers a decent channel selection.
Foxtel on Internet TV: Facts and figures
Foxtel’s streaming TV channels are available on both the Xbox 360 and on Samsung Smart TVs, with the two services differing slightly. Foxtel on Xbox has a maximum of 36 channels, but you need a $80-per-year Xbox Live Gold subscription for your Xbox 360. The 30-channel-maximum Foxtel on Internet TV needs a 2011- or 2012-model Samsung Smart TV, but there’s no additional cost apart from the Foxtel subscription.
We took a look at Foxtel on Internet TV on a Samsung Series 7 LED TV. It’s available on a variety of Samsung TV models, which we’ll list at the bottom of this review.
With the Samsung-specific Foxtel on Internet TV, the base $19.50 per month price gets you Fox 8, Lifestyle You, MTV, National Geographic, Nickelodeon, TV1, Discovery, Fox Sports News, [V], Cartoon Network, and Sky News. There’s a $10 Sport pack (ESPN, ESPN2, EuroSports, Fox Sports Play, FUEL TV), a $15 Movies pack (Showcase, Showtime Premiere) and a $15 Entertainment pack ([V] Hits, BBC Knowledge, Comedy, Discovery Turbo Max, Disney, MTV Classic, MTV Hits, Nat Geo Adventure, Sci-Fi, UKTV, Universal).
It’s worth noting that the full-fat Foxtel cable service has far more channels to offer. If you want to watch something like Cake Boss on Lifestyle Food, then Foxtel on Internet TV isn’t for you. This isn’t necessarily a slight against the streaming service, it’s just appropriate for some viewers but not for others.
To us, the most interesting TV pack offer is a $50 one-off fee for eight channels of non-stop London 2012 Olympics coverage, running from July 25. The service, which will show “over 700 hours” of video, including all finals, has a dedicated TV guide tailored to point out events Australian athletes are competing in. We think this is actually a really compelling point of the Foxtel on Internet TV service — for a minimum $70 ($20 for a month of the service and the $50 one-off package), you’ll get what is surely the most comprehensive coverage of any Olympics ever on TV. That’s a bargain for anyone keen on their world sports.
There’s no lock-in contract for Foxtel on Internet TV, so you can buy it on a month-by-month basis and cancel it or change your package setup whenever you wish. This freedom is excellent — Foxtel should be applauded to taking the first step towards an all-you-can-eat Internet streaming TV service. You can only use the service on one Smart TV, and you can change the service to a different TV once every month — so it's effectively one subscription per screen.
To watch Foxtel on Internet TV, you’ll need a few things. A compatible Samsung Smart TV is a necessity, as is a Foxtel on Internet TV account. You’ll also need a reasonably fast Internet connection — Foxtel recommends at least a 2Mbps broadband service. The Foxtel on Internet TV stream will also count towards your monthly download limit, unless you’ve got Telstra BigPond.
Foxtel on Internet TV: Performance
The Foxtel on Internet TV app really impressed us with its layout. It’s clean, quick to operate and easy to navigate. The service is split into a few simple sections: a Home area that promotes various shows and channels, the useful TV Guide, a London 2012 promo, and a Help & Settings page. There’s a key down the bottom that tells you the functions of various remote control buttons - the blue button to view video in full-screen mode, for example.
The TV Guide page is full of information. Seven different channels’ programs can be viewed at once, with two hours of program time visible. There’s a preview window of whatever channel you’re currently viewing, and there’s a description box which tells you a little more about whatever program you’ve got selected. Functionality is somewhat limited, though — you can’t set reminders to switch channels when a certain program comes on, disappointingly.
Watching a streaming TV channel is simple: select it from the guide, or punch in the channel number directly (these correspond with Foxtel’s existing channel number system, and you’ll learn them quickly). Now/next/later information for that channel pops up for a couple of seconds once you’ve switched to it.
Viewing in full-screen mode, the picture quality of the streaming Foxtel on Internet TV service is surprisingly good. We’d put it very roughly on par with a standard definition free-to-air digital TV channel or a TV show or movie downloaded from the Internet (think iTunes, or less-than-legal services like BitTorrent). It’s slightly less detailed than watching a DVD, but for watching the daily news or mindless reality TV or the occasional movie, it’s more than adequate. There is a High/Medium/Low quality option that alters the bit-rate; this might suit lower-speed Internet connections, or should be useful to conserve data usage.
As a side note, we think it’s important to mention that the Foxtel on Internet TV service has an added extra — you don’t need to purchase the service to be able to watch Sky News National. As the service’s preview channel, it’s available for free. You can watch it in full-screen mode with now/next/later information — so even if you don’t intend to purchase a subscription, installing the app is a no-brainer for the free extra TV channel, which is a welcome alternative to digital TV’s ABC News 24.
Foxtel on Internet TV: Conclusion
The Foxtel on Internet TV service is, at the moment, servicing a niche: it’s only useful for owners of selected 2011- and 2012-era Samsung Smart TVs. If you have one of these TVs, though, and want a Foxtel subscription without the hassle and lock-in contract of a cable, we’d highly recommend it.
If you want Foxtel but don’t have a Samsung Smart TV, you might be better served with the Foxtel on Xbox service. It’s a similar price for similar channels, but you also need a $80-per-year Xbox Live Gold subscription if you don’t already have one.
Compatible Samsung Smart TVs:
PS60E8000GMXXY, PS51E550D1MXXY, PS64E550D1MXXY, PS64E8000GMXXY, UA32EH4500MXXY, UA32EH5306MXXY, UA32ES5500MXXY, UA32ES6200MXXY, UA40EH5306MXXY, UA40ES5500MXXY, UA40ES6200MXXY, UA40ES6600MXXY, UA40ES6700MXXY, UA40ES6800MXXY, UA46EH5306MXXY, UA46ES5500MXXY, UA46ES5500MXXY, UA46ES6200MXXY, UA46ES6600MXXY, UA46ES6700MXXY, UA46ES6800MXXY, UA46ES7100MXXY, UA46ES7500MXXY, UA50ES6200MXXY, UA55ES6200MXXY, UA55ES6600MXXY, UA55ES6700MXXY, UA55ES6800MXXY, UA55ES7100MXXY
UA55ES7500MXXY, UA55ES8000MXXY, UA60ES6500MXXY, UA60ES8000MXXY, UA65ES8000MXXY, PS51D6900DMXXY, PS51D8000FVXXY, PS59D6900DMXXY, PS59D8000FVXXY, PS64D8000FVXXY, UA32D6000SMXXY, UA40D5500RMXXY, UA40D6000SMXXY, UA40D6400UMXXY, UA40D6600WMXXY, UA46D6000SMXXY, UA46D6400UMXXY, UA46D6600WMXXY, UA46D7000LMXXY, UA55D6000SMXXY, UA55D6400UMXXY, UA55D6600WMXXY, UA55D7000LMXXY, UA55D8000YVXXY, UA60D6600VMXXY, UA60D8000YVXXY
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