Telstra TV: An entertainment game-changer?

Telstra has entered the potentially lucrative world of online streaming in a big way, announcing the launch of its new service – Telstra TV.

After partnering with Roku to produce the hardware, Telstra will be offering customers puck-sized devices that allow customers to stream shows from other providers straight to their television.

At the time of writing, Telstra TV will include three subscription-based streaming services: Stan, Presto and Netflix Australia, as well as access to Bigpond movies and a number of catch-up TV services which will be added after its release. This will replace T-Box, which only offered Presto and Bigpond Movies.

The entertainment industry has seen a strong shift towards online TV services in recent years, prompting media outlets to create new, more innovative on-demand services such as Telstra TV. Telstra is not the first to offer a set-top box streaming service; for some years now, Fetch TV and Apple TV have both offered broadcast and streaming services that include YouTube, Netflix, Stan and others, provided you have individual subscription to each streaming service.

Telstra TV is different to its competitors in that the Roku box bundles the services together, giving you access to all Australian streaming services under one subscription. Unlike Fetch TV and Apple TV, the Roku search feature will search across all streaming services for a particular title in one go, saving the hassle looking through each individual service.

Telstra Media Spokesmen, Joe Pollard, stated: “Australians have enthusiastically embraced video streaming as an entertainment platform and Telstra TV will differentiate Telstra as a provider of streaming content. Rather than restrict our customers’ choices, we want to host all the popular streaming video services on our platforms and make it easy for them to get all the content they want in the one place.”

The cost of Telstra TV

From its launch, Telstra TV will only be available to Telstra home broadband customers. There is not yet an announced price for the Roku box or Telstra TV subscription, though it is estimated the Roku box will cost around $109 unless it is bundled in a package. The subscription service will offer bundled streaming service packages that will be cheaper than subscribing to each service individually, Telstra says.

Those who subscribe to Telstra TV must remain wary of their data usage, as regular data charges will apply. Only Bigpond Movies and Presto remain unmetered under some broadband plans. Telstra’s broadband plans start at $75 per month, which includes 100GB of data per month on a 24-month contract.

Keep in mind that streaming services can chew through a lot of data. WhistleOut has calculated the average data usage for Netflix begins at 300MB per hour – at the lowest quality, to a whopping 7GB per hour in Ultra HD.

Telstra TV is due for release in October 2015.

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