While not as big as Foxtel, Fetch TV delivers a superior service, and with the exception of major domestic sporting events, a broad and compelling content offering. Fetch TV also out performs the more established alternative Telstra T-Box on features, functionality and value.
In a nutshell Fetch TV is a PVR and pay TV service delivered over broadband to the TV via a set-top box. It gives subscribers the ability to record shows and series, watch movies on demand and add premium channels, which at face value may sound a lot like other available services. However, the difference is in the detail of the PVR functionality, the quality of the user experience, and the extra value delivered for the $30 monthly price point.
Big ISP's Optus and the iiNet Group (iiNet, Internode, Westnet, TransACT and Adam Internet) have adopted Fetch TV as their TV offering and have made substantial investments in marketing the service this year. It is expected that M2 will also make Fetch TV available through its iPrimus and Dodo brands in coming months, leaving TPG as the only top five ISP not to have joined the Fetch TV coalition taking on Telstra and Foxtel.
Until now Fetch TV has been available only to broadband customers of its partner ISPs, however that has now changed. The Fetch TV Box, with its slick design and impressive features, has just gone on sale at Harvey Norman with a recommended retail price of $379. Offering a 1 Terabyte PVR it trounces T-Box's 500 Gb hard drive and Foxtel's 320Gb by a significant margin, to the point of a no contest.
In addition to storing up to 585hrs of SD TV, the Fetch TV PVR offers usability features including placing series recordings in folders sorted by season and episode, automatic storage management to ensure it never gets full, the ability to prioritise series tags in case there is ever contention on the 3 digital tuners, and real time EPG data to increase recording accuracy.
Not only do Fetch TV subscribers get PVR superior to both the iQ and the T-Box to help them get more out of free to air TV, they also enjoy quality additional content at very competitive prices. There are 3000 movies available to rent on demand, with all new releases being made available on the same day as the DVD goes on sale, giving users a true on demand video store in the home.
The basic Fetch TV pack also includes Catch up TV services from ABC iview, SBS on Demand and TenPlay fully integrated into the main menu to watch on TV, with sources indicating that additional catch up services will be added very soon. There are also apps, including YouTube for TV, all included in the basic pack, giving subscribers access to a wide variety of content from just $10 a month.
Then if you want to add more TV channels you can add an Entertainment Pack of up to 35 channels from major content providers such as MTV, Viacom, Disney, ESPN, Comcast, Discovery, BBC, and Fox, for an extra $15 - 20 a month depending on which provider you subscribe with.
Another interesting differentiator of Fetch TV is the inclusion of 6 World Channel packs offering access to leading channels in Hindi/Urdu, Tamil/Telugu, Korean, Filipino, Cantonese and Mandarin. These can be added on to the base pack from as little as $9.95 a month, providing ethnic Australians with legal access to quality content from their home countries at affordable prices.
"In Australia more than 1.3 million households speak a language other than English when they sit down for dinner, and Fetch TV helps them stay connected to their home country by delivering them premium channels in their language." said Scott Lorson the CEO of Fetch TV.
Fetch TV also has free apps for Apple and Android. The updated version released late last year allows subscribers to use their mobile devices to:
- Program recordings when they are out and about, so they never miss their favourite shows
- Enjoy subscription entertainment channels like Disney Channel and ESPN at home or on the go
- Watch the Movie Box service with 30 free movies a month
- Stream recordings of free-to-air shows from their Fetch TV box over Wi-Fi at home.
- Browse what's on, watch trailers and plan their viewing on the way home, or at home without interrupting what's currently on TV
When paired to a Fetch TV box the Fetch TV tablet app delivers a significantly superior interface and seamless user experience, far beyond that currently offered by the apps available for both Foxtel and Telstra T Box.
So why do you need a Fetch TV box?
Around 50% of Australian households don't currently have the ability to record live TV, yet a PVR is much like a mobile phone - once you have one you can't believe how you ever lived without it. With the increasingly frantic pace of modern life there is a simple luxury in being able to record your favourite shows to watch whenever you want. The Fetch TV PVR provides an easy to use feature packed recording system at a price well below that of competitor retail PVRs with a similar drive capacity, and with features well ahead of it's direct competitor the Telstra T-Box.
Fetch TV is also an alternative for the 75% of households that don't currently have pay TV to get access to on-demand movies and a good selection of additional channels at a monthly cost well below what Foxtel charges, and with 3 times the number of channels offered in the higher priced T-Box Entertainment Bundle.
For busy families there are extra benefits. A Fetch TV survey revealed that 72% of families are experiencing conflict about what to watch on TV. For families with children, nearly 50% report their children frequently argue over viewing choices. So a service that offers both recording and additional screens via mobile devices is sure to make life easier.
"Fetch TV's new mobile app means fewer arguments and happier families. With Fetch TV, Australian families have the freedom to watch one show whilst recording two others at the same time", said Mr. Lorson. "Our new mobile app further expands the viewing options by allowing the simultaneous viewing of live channels, selected movies and recordings on two tablets or phones as well as the TV. We are not only giving Australians choice on what they watch, but also where, when and how."
So while it has taken a few years to get there, Fetch TV is now a high quality, feature rich and good value service, and with additional marketing spend planned and broadening distribution it is now a very a serious contender in the pay TV market.
Written by David Richards for Smarthouse | 30-Jun-2014
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