Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Telstra Mobile Foxtel iPhone app
Telstra's streaming mobile television service gets an upgrade on the iPhone
- Relatively quick to load, good video and audio quality, on-screen channel selector, can record to your iQ or iQ2 box at home, full program guide included, content is unmetered
- Lack of daily updates means you'll often watch repeats, full screen mode doesn't automatically activate
Telstra's Mobile Foxtel for iPhone app is an ideal time-filler if part of your daily routine is spent sitting on public transport.
In the short space of four months, Telstra has gone from not supporting the Mobile Foxtel service on the iPhone at all to producing a dedicated app for it. The Telstra Mobile Foxtel for iPhone app features an intuitive channel selector and an integrated TV guide, but heavy users will become annoyed by the lack of daily updates on many channels.
Despite offering the Mobile Foxtel service on most Next G phones for quite some time, it was only last October that Telstra enabled iPhone access to the service. The telco has now gone one step further, producing a dedicated Mobile Foxtel app for the Apple's smartphone that is faster, more intuitive and easier to use than the Web-based portal.
Requiring Wi-Fi to be turned off to operate, the app is well-designed and generally zippy. The Mobile Foxtel service is unmetered, which means it can be viewed without incurring any data charges within Australia. The service consists of five packs and a total of 30 channels including entertainment, sport, news, kids and music content.
The home screen of the app consists of a channel list, the program guide for these mobile channels, and a subscription list page where you can view the packs or channels you've subscribed to. The Telstra Mobile Foxtel for iPhone app includes the full Foxtel TV guide. If you subscribe to Foxtel at home and you have an IQ or IQ2 digital video recorder you can use the app to schedule recordings.
Telstra claims all content has been optimised to suit the iPhone display. Video quality is excellent considering the content is streamed. There is no sign of buffering or lag once streaming starts, and the video is smooth. You can watch in full screen mode or in a smaller window, but the app doesn't automatically activate full screen mode when the iPhone is tilted. The best feature of the app is the on-screen channel selector. This small pop-up bar allows you to change and scroll through channels without having to interrupt the broadcast you're currently watching.
The Telstra Mobile Foxtel for iPhone app is handy for commuting, particularly if you spend a chunk of your mornings and afternoons riding public transport. However, the content is mostly news and documentaries — we found that most of the entertainment and other channels aren't refreshed on a daily basis, so you'll often end up seeing the same episodes of shows repeated for up to a week.
The Telstra Mobile Foxtel for iPhone app is free, but you'll need to subscribe to a package in order to watch the content. Package pricing depends on which channels you want, but the ultimate combo (all 30 channels) is $18 per month, $49 for three months or $89 for six months. You can also subscribe to two packs for $12 per month, or purchase a full day pass for $4.
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