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|NXE Australia Pty Limited|
|Industry||Pay TV, broadband and Telephone|
|Founded||22 October 1995|
|Headquarters||North Ryde, Sydney, New South Wales (HQ)|
|Patrick Delany (CEO)|
|Products||Satellite, Cable, IPTV|
Foxtel[a] is an Australian pay television company—operating in cable television, direct broadcast satellite television, and IPTV streaming services. It was formed in April 2018, superseding an earlier company from 1995. The service was established as a joint venture between News Corporation (now the present day News Corp; through News Limited, now News Corp Australia) and Telstra, with News Corp and Telstra holding 65% and 35% ownership shares respectively.
In 1995, a venture between News Corporation (in particular 20th Century Fox Media) and Telstra took place whereby Telstra would transmit a TV signal through its coaxial network and News Corporation would be the basis for offering channel negotiations and connections. Foxtel was formed ("Fox" representing News Corporation's Fox and "Tel" representing Telstra). On 23 October 1995, Foxtel commenced a 20 channel service, delivered over the Telstra Hybrid Fibre Coaxial network.
In May 1998, Chinas Media, the owner of a satellite television service known as Galaxy, was declared insolvent. In June 1998, Foxtel was able to significantly boost its customer base by acquiring Galaxy subscribers from the liquidator of Australis Media and immediately commenced supplying programming to Galaxy's subscribers on an interim basis. In February 1999, Foxtel began offering its own satellite service to new customers.
On 11 December 2011, Austar announced that "it had entered into definitive transaction agreements with Liberty Global, Inc. (LGI) and Foxtel Management Pty Limited (Foxtel) under which Foxtel will acquire Austar by a series of transactions including a scheme of arrangement (Scheme)." This takeover involved a minority shareholder approval on 30 March 2012, the approval of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on 10 April 2012, and has had approval from a Second Court Hearing. Austar shares were suspended from the ASX on 16 April 2012 and delisted on 27 April 2012. The takeover was completed on 24 May 2012.
News Corporation acquired Consolidated Media Holdings in November 2012, bringing its stake in Foxtel to 50%, up from 25%. On 15 June 2015, Foxtel officially agreed to buyout 15% shares in Ten Network Holdings, subject to approval from the ACCC. Prior to the acquisition, Discovery backed out from bidding partnership with Foxtel. Ten was later fully acquired by American media group CBS Corporation (now ViacomCBS) in 2017.
In June 2017, Foxtel announced that it would be undergoing a major rebrand – the first in its 22-year history – as part of a move to convey an image that "Foxtel is for everyone". The former logo (inspired from the American Fox network's 1996–present logo), described by the company as "quite aggressive, quite arrogant, quite elitist", would be replaced with an all lowercase logo, and its Foxtel Play service would rebranded to Foxtel Now.
On 6 March 2018, News Corp Australia announced a merger of Fox Sports (Australia) with Foxtel (co-owned by News Corp Australia and Telstra). News Corp owns a 65 percent stake in the combined entity, with Telstra owning 35 percent. The combining of the two businesses places emphasis on live-streaming sports and entertainment.
On 4 May 2020, it was announced that Foxtel would be closing down its owned & operated music video networks and replacing them with a new suite of MTV, Nick and CMT-branded channels, as part of a wider deal with ViacomCBS Networks UK & Australia.
Foxtel grew rapidly in 2007, with most of Foxtel's highest-ever rating events being broadcast that year, including the 2007 AFC Asian Cup quarter-final between Australia and Japan, which drew an average of 419,000 viewers, an Australian pay television record at that time. This ratings record has since been eclipsed by the 2011 Rugby World Cup on Fox Sports 1 averaging around 500,000 viewers, which was smashed by the 2012 London Olympics Coverage, broadcast on 8 dedicated channels in both HD and SD formats, which saw an average of 946,432 viewers tuning in on the opening weekend, with around 600,000 to 700,000 viewers nightly thereafter.
As of 2012, Fox Sports channels, particularly Fox Footy, average between 90,000 and 300,000 + viewers for NRL/AFL matches throughout the week. The highest-rated light entertainment shows are The Simpsons most weeknights on FOX8 with around 110,000 viewers, as well as Family Guy with around 70,000 viewers. A&E has also recorded healthy audience numbers for its TruTV & A&E US syndicated shows from the US – Pawn Stars (85,000), Hardcore Pawn (85,000), and Storage Wars (90,000). BBC UKTV also consistently rates well with British soaps EastEnders (80,000) and Coronation Street (65,000). The LifeStyle channel has experienced audiences in excess of 100,000 people for its Premiere shows Location, Location, Location Australia, Grand Designs Australia, Selling Houses Australia, Disney Channel (Australia) and The Real Housewives of Melbourne brings strong ratings.
Foxtel transmits its cable service via Telstra hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) cable into the Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth metropolitan areas, along with the Gold Coast. Foxtel now also transmits its satellite service into these cities as well as all over Australia, including regional areas since the takeover of Austar. Previous Austar customers are now 100% Foxtel customers with the conversion from Austar to Foxtel in regional Australia now complete; however, satellite service is not supplied to user sites where Telstra HFC cable is available in metropolitan areas. Foxtel on Mobile launched on Telstra's Next G Network in late 2006 and is now available within Telstra Next G (HSDPA/850 MHz) coverage areas, which covers 99% of the population.
Telstra's network and Foxtel were created to combat the threat posed to Telstra's local call business by the combination of Optus TV content bundling with Optus' local telephony services; Foxtel was the content arm of Telstra's defence strategy, while Telstra's multimedia broadband network was originally the sole delivery system.
In 2002, Foxtel and Optus Television agreed to a content-sharing arrangement. Programming competition between the two companies has now dissipated. Prior to its acquisition by Foxtel in 2011, Austar, a regional pay television operator, also carried most Foxtel programming.
As of 2011[update], Foxtel is Australia's largest pay television operator, with programming available to over 70% of Australian homes, and delivered to over 1.65 million, either directly or by Foxtel's wholesale customers. In April 2008, Foxtel's penetration into Australian homes passed 30%. This penetration rate is significantly lower compared with market penetration rates in the US (over 85%) and in Western Europe (over 55%). This is due to the fact that Australian pay-TV fees are significantly more expensive and pay-TV began delivering its service much later in Australia than in the US.[original research?]
Foxtel announced its maiden annual profit in 2006, more than 10 years after it commenced services. The installation and maintenance of Foxtel services is Telstra's responsibility. In many markets Telstra has outsourced installation and maintenance to large communications contractors, including ABB Communications and Siemens-Thiess Communications Joint Venture.
In 2007, Network Ten formed an agreement with Foxtel to allow them to carry a digital version of Ten's programming. Included in the deal is electronic program guide data, which allows Foxtel iQ users to schedule recordings on Ten. Before the agreement, Ten was carried in an analogue format on cable only.
In 2008, Seven Network finally entered an agreement to allow Foxtel to carry its SD signal.
In 2008, the first Pay TV package comparison site YouCompare was launched to allow Foxtel packages and pricing to be compared to SelecTV, however this service was ceased along with the ceasing of SelecTV's service in late 2010.
On 15 November 2009, Foxtel released an additional 25 channels to satellite and cable subscribers, consisting of high definition channels, movie and theme channels, and several new time-shifted channels. As part of the release, Seven began broadcasting to satellite subscribers in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
On 20 May 2010, Foxtel and Microsoft announced a new way of receiving Foxtel through Xbox 360's online service Xbox LIVE. The service launched November 2010 with 30+ channels and an additional 12 Video-on-demand channels. It also provided Foxtel's movie service, known as Foxtel On Demand, to non-subscribers for the first time on a pay-per-view basis. Further linear channels were added in April 2011 with the addition of 7 Telstra BigPond channels.
In June 2011, Foxtel launched an over-the-top service on Telstra's IPTV set top box called Foxtel on T-Box carrying the same services as the Foxtel on Xbox service. Also as of June 2011, Foxtel's subscribers numbered just over 1.65 million.
In November 2014, Foxtel added 2 new SD channels, 9 new HD channels and rebranded 2 sports channels to satellite and cable subscribers.
Foxtel defines a virtual channel order that groups channels by their content.
General entertainment channels are from 100 to 149 which includes metropolitan/state-based localised advertising primary channels the Nine Network, ABC TV, SBS TV, the Seven Network and Network 10, with metropolitan/state-based localised advertising multichannels ABC TV Plus/ABC Kids, 7TWO, 7mate, 9Go!, 10 Bold, 10 Peach, 10 Shake, SBS Food and NITV as well as national channels Fox Crime, Fox Arena, LifeStyle, Fox8, Fox Funny, Fox Showcase, Fox One, and MTV. Also for the following extra channels which are Fox Comedy, Fox Sleuth, Comcast's Universal TV, BBC First and E!, LifeStyle Food, LifeStyle Home, Fox Sci-Fi and Foxtel Arts.
Timeshifted versions of general entertainment channels are from 150 to 169 for a two-hour delay of Fox8, Fox Crime, Fox One, Fox Comedy, Fox Arena, LifeStyle, LifeStyle Food, Fox Funny, BBC UKTV, Fox Showcase, Fox Sleuth and Fox Sci-Fi.
High definition channels are from 200 to 299 which includes metropolitan/state-based localised advertising versions of the ABC HD, 7HD, 7mateHD, 9HD, 9Gem HD, 10 HD, SBS HD, SBS Viceland HD, Fox Sports News 500, Fox Cricket 501, Fox League 502, Fox Sports 503, Fox Footy 504, Fox Sports 505, Fox Sports 506, ESPN and ESPN2, As well as national channels A&E, Fox8 (native & SD upscaled), BBC First, Premiere, Kids, Family, Action, Comedy, Romance, Thriller, Hits, Drama, Discovery, National Geographic, National Geographic Wild and BBC Earth.
Movie packaged channels are from 400 to 499 which includes Foxtel Movies Hits (themed movies and pop-up events), Premiere, Premiere 2, Action, Comedy, Romance, Kids, Family, Thriller, Hits, Drama, LMN and SBS World Movies.
Metropolitan/state-based localised advertising Sports Channels packaged channels are from 500 to 599 which includes Fox Sports News 500, Fox Cricket 501, Fox League 502, Fox Sports 503, Fox Footy 504, Fox Sports 505, Fox Sports 506, Disney's ESPN and ESPN 2, beIN Sports 1, beIN Sports 2, beIN Sports 3, Main Event (pay-per-view), Sky Racing 1, Sky Racing 2, Sky Thoroughbred Central and Racing.com.
Metropolitan/state-based localised advertising News, Coverage and informational channels are from 600 to 699 which includes Sky News Australia, Sky News Weather Channel, Sky News Extra, Sky News UK, Fox News Channel (U.S sister channel of Sky News Australia), Warner Media's CNN International, National Geographic (with two-hour timeshifted version), Discovery (with two-hour timeshifted version), ABC News Australia, NBCUniversal's CNBC, BBC World News, Bloomberg Television, Al Jazeera English, CGTN News, CCTV-9 Documentary, NHK World and RT. Also included in the line-up are National Geographic Wild, History, A&E and CI, Discovery, Inc.'s Animal Planet, Discovery Turbo (with two-hour timeshifted version), Investigation Discovery, TLC and BBC Earth.
Pre-Teenage entertainment channels are from 700 to 799 which includes ViacomCBS channels Nickelodeon, Warner Media's Cartoon Network and ABC Me. Also included in the line-up are Nick Jr., CBeebies and Boomerang.
Interactive services available are Foxtel Music, Modem Connection Test, and Sky News Weather Active. Also available on iQ3 and iQ4 set top boxes are ABC iView, ABC Kids, SBS On Demand and Netflix apps.
Channels that were re-branded include: 13th Street (rebranded as Fox Sleuth), Syfy (rebranded as Fox Sci-Fi), 111 Funny (split and rebranded into Fox Hits and Fox Funny), W (renamed SoHo), Fashion TV (replaced by FX/Fashion TV moved to Fetch TV), BBC HD (replaced by BBC UKTV HD), Fox Kids Australia (shared with Fox Classics), Weather 21 (replaced by The Weather Channel), The Weather Channel (replaced by Sky News Weather), Encore (renamed to Showtime Greats) (replaced by Showtime Action, Showtime Comedy and Showtime Drama, both swallowed with Foxtel Movies), VH1 Australia (Replaced by MTV Classic), MTV Live HD, Air Active (which was replaced by Foxtel Music), KidsCo (Replaced by Discovery Kids), Fuel TV, Speed (both replaced by Fox Sports 505 & 506 respectively), SoHo (Replaced by Binge), Channel [V] (Replaced by [V] Hits, later renamed [V]), MTV Music and MTV Dance (relaunched as MTV Hits and Club MTV respectively) Disney Channel (Replaced by Pop) Disney Junior (Replaced by Tiny Pop).
HD multichannels that were replaced by other HD channels include 10 Bold (replaced by 10 HD, 10 Bold was reduced to SD) and 9Gem (replaced by 9HD, rebranded today as 9Gem and was reduced to SD). 9Gem later relaunched an HD simulcast.
Channels completely discontinued include Disney XD, Disney Channel, Disney Junior Binge, Discovery Science, Discovery Kids, Foxtel Movies Disney, Eurosport, Your Money, The Soundtrack Channel, Movie Network (replaced by Foxtel Movies), Showtime Network (replaced by Foxtel Movies), TechTV, Fashion TV (replaced by FX/Fashion moved to Fetch TV), Ovation, KidsCo, History+2, Starpics (replaced by Foxtel Movies), Gamesworld Interactive Games and the Interactive Sports Selector. Also discontinued in July 2020 were music channels [V], Max, Country Music Channel and Foxtel Smooth (replaced by NickMusic, MTV Classic and CMT respectively, with Foxtel Smooth closed down).
TV1 and SF ceased transmission at 11:59pm, 31 December 2013 after Foxtel chose not to renew their contracts as they wanted to bring as many channels in house as they did with their movie offerings.
The Comedy Channel ceased transmission at 1 September 2020.
Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Kids ceased transmission at 13 February 2020
Although originally launching in 1995 with just a cable service, Foxtel has branched out into many new services since its inception including broadband and phone services in 2014.
Foxtel subscribers are able to access live and on-demand content within packages they are subscribed to through the internet via Foxtel Go.
Foxtel launched the Foxtel Go service on 7 November 2012. Originally, it was only available on iPad, but from 20 February 2013 it was also available on iPhone, and later on Mac, Windows PC and selected Android devices. Foxtel Go was launched after the success of its London 2012 app, which simulcast 8 live high definition channels that were also offered on the standard Foxtel service.
Access to the Foxtel Go app is free for residential customers with a set-top box and a Foxtel or Foxtel Now subscription, allowing access to any channel that they are subscribed to. Only five devices can be linked to an account during any given month with only two being able to view content at the same time.
Unlike Mobile Foxtel (provided by Telstra) – which only provides a loop of selected shows – Foxtel Go offers a live simulcast of s subset of channels available through the traditional cable and satellite services. The service also has no time limits; Mobile Foxtel offers only 15 minutes of programming per session, or a maximum 200 minutes per month.
The channels currently available to subscribers are:
Essentials – Fox Showcase; Fox Hits; Fox8; Fox Funny; BoxSets; Fox Arena; Lifestyle; MTV; MTV Hits; Club MTV; NickMusic; Max; Country Music Television; MTV Classic; Sky News; Sky News Weather; Sky News Extra; Sky News UK; Fox Sports News; CNN; Fox News; BBC World News; CNBC; Bloomberg; NHK World-Japan; Fox Comedy; TLC; E!; Lifestyle Food; Lifestyle Home; Foxtel Arts.
Drama Plus – UKTV; Fox Crime; BBC First; Universal TV; Fox One; Fox Sci-Fi; Fox Sleuth.
Kids – Cartoon Network; CBeebies; Nickelodeon; Nick Jr.; Boomerang.
Sport – Fox Sports, Fox Cricket; Fox League; Fox Footy; ESPN; ESPN 2; BeIN Sports 1–3.
Movies – Premiere; Kids; Action; Comedy; Romance; Family; Drama; Hits; Thriller; Greats; LMN; SBS World Movies.
Docos – A&E; History; National Geographic; National Geographic Wild; Discovery Channel; Discovery Turbo; Animal Planet; Investigation Discovery; Crime + Investigation; BBC Earth.
The Foxtel Go also offers an on demand service for most channels listed above including sports channels.
Foxtel Now (formerly Foxtel Play) is an internet television alternative to the traditional Foxtel subscription, offering customers a no lock in contract subscription starting at $10. The service offers over 50 live channels and hundreds of hours of video on-demand content across 6 subscription packages.
The service is available across a range of devices such as computers, TVs and video game consoles. In addition, subscribers have access to Foxtel's Foxtel Go app expanding access to smartphones and tablets.
On 4 October 2016, Foxtel announced that a new look Foxtel Play streaming service will roll out from December 2016 and that Foxtel Play will be a simpler, cheaper and more flexible IP-delivered product.
As part of a company wide rebrand in June 2017, Foxtel announced that from 7 June, Foxtel Play would be renamed Foxtel Now and would gain HD streaming and Chromecast support with a lower starting price of $10 per month (later increased to $25 per month).
Foxtel's magazine is Australia's most-read paid-for monthly magazine, with a monthly reach of about 700,000. It is published for Foxtel by Medium Rare Content Agency, and distributed to Foxtel subscribers (who choose to pay for this service) by via post.
Kayo Sports (branded as just Kayo) is Foxtel's subscription streaming service for its sports content. The service was launched in November 2018 and offers both live streams and highlights packages from Fox Sports as well as ESPN, beIN Sports and Racing.com. In addition to this, a multiscreen feature is also available, allowing subscribers to view multiple live events simultaneously.
Binge is Foxtel's entertainment focused streaming service that was launched on 25 May 2020. Set up to compete with the likes of Disney+, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Stan, the service features content from major networks and studios including HBO, Warner Bros., ViacomCBS, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures, FX and the BBC. The service also features a selection of live streamed linear Foxtel cable networks including FOX One, LifeStyle, Fox Arena and BBC First.
- Foxtel Digital
- Foxtel On-Demand
Foxtel announced their high definition service, originally called Foxtel HD+, on 30 January 2008. It became officially available on 19 May 2008 at a nominal price of $10 AUD despite similar "HD" resolution broadcast channels already available on free-to-air television. HD+ launched with four channels; BBC HD, ESPN HD, Fox Sports HD and a timeshared documentary channel for Discovery HD World and National Geographic HD programming. Foxtel Box Office also began simulcasting in high definition.
On 15 November 2009, another ten high definition channels were launched; Fox Sports 2 HD, Fox Sports 3 HD, Fox8 HD, Movie One HD, Showcase HD, Showtime Action HD, Showtime Premiere HD, Starpics 1 HD, Starpics 2 HD and W HD. BBC HD was relaunched as UKTV HD and the timeshared documentary channel was split into full-time versions of Discovery HD World and National Geographic HD. The pricing and packaging of the HD+ channels was also revised.
BBC Knowledge HD, MTVN Live HD, Nat Geo Wild HD and Speed HD launched almost a year later on 1 November 2010. ESPN 2 HD and Lifestyle HD launched on 1 March 2011. A&E HD, Fox Footy HD and FX HD launched in late February 2012. Eight new high definition channels for the London Olympics began broadcasting on 25 July 2012. Foxtel launched eight new high definition movie channels on 1 January 2013, replacing the five existing high definition movie channels from Showtime and The Movie Network. The new channels included Action/Adventure HD, Comedy HD, Drama/Romance HD, Family HD, Masterpiece HD, Premiere HD and Thriller/Crime HD. Main Event HD began broadcasting on 3 September 2013.
Syfy HD launched on 1 January 2014. Foxtel added Disney Movies HD on 10 April 2014. UKTV HD was replaced with BBC First HD on 3 August 2014. On 3 November 2014, nine new high definition channels were launched; 13th Street HD, Arena HD, BoxSets HD, Eurosport HD, Fox Sports 4 HD, Fox Sports News HD, History HD, Universal HD and World Movies HD. Speed HD was also relaunched as Fox Sports 5 HD at the same time. Binge HD launched on 5 October 2015. Sky News National HD began broadcasting on 1 December 2015, with Sky News Business HD beginning on 19 January 2016. Foxtel Arts HD began broadcasting in March 2016. On 1 April 2016, Sky Thoroughbred Central HD launched. Sky News Election Channel HD launched on 1 May 2016. Foxtel added another high definition movie channel with More Movies HD launching on 1 July 2016.
In response to Optus Sports winning the rights to the English Premier League, Foxtel launched six new high definition sports channels on 15 May 2016. These included beIN Sports 1 HD, beIN Sports 2 HD, beIN Sports 3 HD, Chelsea TV HD, LFCTV HD and MUTV HD. Sky News Election Channel HD was replaced with A-PAC HD in January 2017. Movie Greats HD was added on 23 March 2018. Sky News UK HD launched as a standalone channel on 27 May 2018 with A-PAC HD also rebranding to Sky News Extra HD. Fox News Channel HD launched in November 2018.
A retransmission of the free-to-air networks' high definition channels is also available to high definition cable subscribers and satellite subscribers with an iQ3 set-top box or later. These channels include ABC HD, SBS HD, SBS Viceland HD, SBS World Movies HD, 7HD, 7mateHD, 9HD, 9Gem HD and 10 HD.
On 1 October 2009, Foxtel launched an online download service which allows all cable and satellite customers to access Foxtel content via their computer. The service were free for customers, who can download programmes from channels within their subscription package. There were one live streaming channel, ESPN3, while the remainder of the service provides episodes of programs from 38 channels. Then CEO, Kim Williams, highlighted that Foxtel planned to expand its live streaming channel range later in the year to coincide with the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and the launch of thirty new channels for Foxtel Digital and HD. This service has been the source of great controversy as there was no support for Linux, Mac or any 64 bit Windows Operating Systems, leaving many users unable to install the client. Foxtel Download was discontinued in September 2012, with the service no longer being available to subscribers.
Launched in late 2006 to coincide with Telstra's NextG 3G Mobile phone network, Mobile Foxtel (previously Foxtel By Mobile) offers 33 standard channels of programming for a small subscription fee, optimised for mobile devices. the channels on the service were: Sky News National, Your Money, CNN, Fox Sports News, Fox8, The Comedy Channel, MTV, E! Entertainment, Fashion TV, Discovery Mobile, Disney Channel, Eurosport, Union Extreme Sports, Cartoon Network, TV1, National Geographic, ABC, SBS One and Eurosportnews.
With the exception of CNN, Fashion TV, Eurosportsnews, Eurosport, Fox News, BBC World News and Fox Sports News, which were direct simulcasts of the actual channel and Sky News channels which are taken from the Sky News Active service, all channels are pre-produced loops that do not directly correlate to the full scale satellite/cable channel. There were a limit of 200 minutes per month, with 15 minutes per session, may apply to the service, although this has not been strictly enforced.
The service was discontinued on 27 July 2016.
Foxtel on Xbox 360 and Internet TV
Foxtel launched in November 2010 for the Xbox 360 games console, offering 38 channels, catch-up television and on-demand movie streaming. It requires both an Xbox Live Gold subscription and a Foxtel subscription. Samsung Smart TVs received the same service at no additional cost in July 2012. This has been replaced with Foxtel Now.
In 2014, Foxtel launched a movie streaming operation Presto, which was initially priced at $19.99, but was halved a few months later. Presto was spin-off a television streaming service with Seven West Media in early 2015.
Foxtel announced the Presto service will be closed in January 2017, and customers moved to a Foxtel Now service.
In August 2018, Foxtel launched a streaming VOD (video on demand) movie service called FoxFlicks. This service is available to subscribers who have either the movie pack or platinum pack with the new iQ4 set-top-box. It has since been rebranded as Foxtel Movies.
In December 2006, airline Virgin Australia (then known as Virgin Blue) announced a partnership with Foxtel and Austar to introduce a "Live2Air" service on most flights by mid-2007, providing live satellite TV to passengers via the in-flight entertainment system. The Live2Air system offered 24 Foxtel channels and was only available on selected Boeing 737 aircraft, and was phased out beginning in 2012.
Foxtel devices are manufactured by Pace plc on behalf of Foxtel - they have manufactured a variety of devices including:
There is a variety of Foxtel standard units. These lack the recording features of the iQ models, but can be connected to a VCR or DVR. Foxtel has phased out the standard boxes for all new installations and provides the iQ3 or iQ4 instead. The additional features of the iQ models (such as recording) can be deactivated if the customer does not wish to pay for them, in effect making them operate as if they were a legacy model.
Foxtel launched Foxtel iQ in early 2005. It is a timeshifting personal digital recorder in which subscribers are able to record programmes onto a hard drive inside the set-top unit for later viewing. Foxtel iQ includes a feature called Series Link, which lets the viewer choose to record all future episodes in a given television series (availability is limited to certain programmes). Foxtel iQ also allows viewers to use live rewind and pause features during television programmes. Two new services, On Demand and Remote Record, launched in 2007. Remote Record was launched on 1 January 2007 and allows users to log into the interactive TV guide on the Foxtel website and then command their iQ at home to record shows, while On-Demand was launched on 8 February 2007. This service is based on Sky+, which was launched on News Corporation's UK television platform Sky in 2001. There are currently two models of Foxtel iQ, with identical functionality to the user but different audio-visual output abilities. Both models have two tuners, allowing users to record two programmes (or record one and watch one) simultaneously. Pace plc are the set top box provider for iQ, of which they claim that the cable version of iQ is the first DVB-based cable digital video recorder.
The updated version of the original iQ unit is physically smaller, however allows for better quality recordings and HDMI up-scaling as well as an Ethernet Port to allow Box Office downloads. It can also order On-Demand titles without the need of the phone line connected to the model. These boxes are referred to as the iQ 1.5, to differentiate them from the original iQ boxes. As of 1 March 2017, these boxes are no longer available to new customers.
The second-generation iQ2 box was launched alongside the Foxtel HD+ service in mid-2008. Equipped with a 320GB HDD, iQ2 is capable of recording 30 hours of HD and 90 hours of SD content and offers, double that of the original iQ. The unit also offers HDMI connectivity.
The iQ2 is equipped with four tuners, allowing users to record two programs at once while watching a third live. The fourth tuner is reserved for on demand content.
As of 2011, 75 per cent of Foxtel subscribers are using an iQ series unit, 40 per cent are using Multi-Room, and 40 per cent are using iQ2 (and therefore, HD).
On 2 November 2011, Foxtel started notifying subscribers of the option to upgrade (at an additional one-off $200 upgrade fee) to a 1TB model with 4 times the recording capacity. As of 17 August 2020, these boxes are no longer available to new customers.
Foxtel's third-generation model, iQ3, was first referenced by CEO Richard Freudenstein in March 2012, and was released to customers on 23 March 2015. The iQ3 contains increased internet connectivity with the inclusion of Wi-Fi and the ability to re-watch certain broadcast programmes to the start using on-demand technology. The iQ3 includes a 1TB HDD (3x the capacity of the previous iQHD) and a bluetooth remote. After the release, many customers had complaints due to the unstable nature of the iQ3 graphical user interface and additionally accused Foxtel of releasing an 'unfinished product'. Foxtel denied such claims along with rumours that up to 2,000 iQ3 boxes were quickly launched in response to market rival Netflix launching in Australia in April 2015. As of November 2015, instability issues are yet to be resolved. However, an iQ3 software update in late 2019 allows integration with Netflix titles when connected to a television unit with an application for the service.
Foxtel's fourth-generation model, iQ4 was launched in August 2018 and is 4K compatible. Foxtel launched Foxtel 4K—a dedicated 4K channel on October 7, 2018, with the broadcast of the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
Advertising on Foxtel
When Foxtel was launched in 1995, advertising during programmes was banned under Australian Government legislation for the first two years. Foxtel has since significantly increased advertising across its platform, although still today legislation prevents Foxtel and other pay TV businesses from earning more than 50 per cent of their revenue from advertising. Sometimes, viewers are exposed to up to 5 minutes worth of adverts for every 8 minutes of programming. Certain programming on select channels are ad-free such as films or live games on Fox Sports, as well as select premium networks such as Fox Showcase.
Legislation affecting Foxtel
The Australian anti-siphoning laws also prevent Foxtel and other pay TV suppliers from acquiring exclusive rights to specific sporting events such as cricket, golf, tennis and the football codes. Under the legislation pay TV licensees are prevented from bidding for major sporting events until a right is acquired by the ABC, SBS, Seven, Nine and Ten networks. In 2009, the Minister for Communications announced a review of the legislation. In an Olympics year, the Australian anti-siphoning list runs to over 1300 events and is one of the longest in the world.
Third party access
Foxtel prevents users from using their subscription card in a third-party decoder, and requires all users to watch the service on a supplied set-top box, included with the subscription, however some users have reported being able to watch certain channels on a computer with a DVB-C card and using sasc-ng to decrypt the video content using card readers to read the decoding keys stored on the card used in Foxtel's iQ.
On 24 May 2012, Foxtel merged with Austar, resulting in Foxtel gaining Austar's shares in XYZnetworks (which Foxtel closed and created Foxtel Networks), as well as their shares in Main Event. The channels owned by Foxtel include:
- Fox Sports Pty Ltd
- Fox Classics
- Fox Crime
- Fox Funny
- Fox One
- Fox Showcase
- Fox Sci Fi
- Fox Sleuth
- Fox Comedy
- Foxtel Movies
- National Geographic
- Crime + Investigation
- Nickelodeon (35%; joint venture with ViacomCBS)
- Fox Kids (2021-present)
- Foxtel Arts
- Main Event (66.6%; joint venture with Optus Television)
- Channel V Australia
- Fox Kids (closed in 2004)
- Foxtel 3D (closed 27 August 2013)
- Lifestyle You
- Country Music Channel (now CMT)
- Foxtel Smooth
- The trading name of NXE Australia Pty Limited
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