Foxtel Now, previously known as ‘Foxtel Play’, is an online streaming video on-demand service that allows you to easily watch your favourite Foxtel shows with no contract, from $10 a month. Find out if Foxtel Now is worth the money and how it stacks up to Netflix, Stan and Fetch.
What is Foxtel Now?
Foxtel Now is the latest in a line of streaming services to try to tackle the Netflix juggernaut. It joins the likes of Stan and Fetch to make a ‘gang of four’ main streaming services in Australia. Traditional Foxtel requires installation of an iQ3 box and is like traditional TV. Traditional Foxtel also incurs set-up fees, and usually comes on a contract. Foxtel Now does away with wires, and you can stream it just like you would Netflix. There are no contracts, no set-up fees and no hardware installations. Think of it as Foxtel for the 21st century.
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Shows on Foxtel Now
You can watch all of your favourite programs found on regular Foxtel, including:
- The Walking Dead
- Game of Thrones
- Modern Family
- American Dad
- The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
- Mr. Robot
- True Blood
- The Wire
- True Detective
- Ray Donovan
- Keeping up with the Kardashians
- Curb Your Enthusiasm
Countless other shows are also available, and beyond that, Foxtel Now also excels in sports broadcast, including:
- NBA, NFL, MLB on ESPN
- NRL and AFL through Fox Footy
While Netflix and Stan may get older seasons of TV shows, to keep up with the latest seasons you’ll likely have to buy a Foxtel Now subscription.
Foxtel Now Packages & Prices
After a 2-week free trial, Foxtel Now starts at $10-$15 a month, and there are five ‘Starter Packs’ to choose from. You can choose just one or all of them if you really wanted to. Packs include:
- Docos – $10: Discovery, Nat Geo, Discovery Turbo, Nat Geo People, Crime Investigation, A&E, BBC Knowledge, History Channel, Nat Geo Wild
- Kids – $10: Disney, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Nickelodeon, Nick JR, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, CBeebies, Discovery Kids
- Lifestyle – $10: Lifestyle, Arena, Lifestyle Home, Lifestyle Food, E!, TLC
- Drama – $15: Showcase, BBC UKTV, TV Hits, BBC First, Universal Channel
- Pop – $15: Showcase, FX, Fox8, Comedy Channel, MTV, 111 Funny, Arena
- Sports – $29: Fox Sports 501, 503, 505, 506, 507, Fox League, Bein Sports 1, 2, 3, ESPN 1 & 2, Eurosport
- Movies – $20: Premiere, Disney, Masterpiece, Action, Romance, Thriller, Family, Comedy, More
- Sports & Movies packs must be bundled in on top of any of the other packs.
As the names suggest, these packs feature channels around a general interest group, with home renovation shows and the like on Lifestyle, cartoons on Kids, compelling TV series on Drama, and so on. From there, you have the option of adding on a Movies or Sports pack, which are only able to be purchased if you add on a ‘Starter Pack’ first.
- If you want to watch sport, the minimum cost would be $39 a month, for example.
- This represents the cheapest legal way to catch all AFL and NRL games live on a full-sized TV screen.
The Movies pack includes hot films that have just exited cinemas, while the Sports pack is really the only way to see all regular-season NRL and AFL games live. Beyond that, the Sports pack also includes the Australian Supercars Championship, Super Rugby and Formula One.
How can I watch Foxtel Now?
Foxtel Now is a streaming service. As such, you probably require a speedy internet plan to handle the rigours of streaming. Beyond that there are several devices with which you watch Foxtel Play:
- Smartphone, tablet or PC/Mac
- Google Chromecast
- Telstra TV
- Sony PlayStation 3 and 4
- Xbox One
- Smart TVs, including:
The biggest convenience with Foxtel Play is the sheer amount of devices you can stream it on. All you pretty much need is an internet connection and you’re good to go. Here’s a summary:
What internet plans are good for streaming Foxtel Now?
If you feel your current internet plan doesn’t cut the mustard, or you’re coming to the end of your contract and looking for something different, it may be time to consider a new provider.
- For NBN, it’s recommended that for streaming you purchase at least an NBN Tier 2 25/5 plan.
- ADSL speeds max out at around 24Mbps downloading, which is ideal for streaming but peak times may see much slower speeds
Above all, if you’re going to be doing a lot of streaming, an unlimited data plan may be the best option for peace of mind. However, your usage may vary and in all likelihood you could get into a cheaper plan with a data cap.
Telstra Broadband Plans with Foxtel Now
In an exclusive partnership, Telstra has teamed up with Foxtel to offer free Foxtel Now packs on many of its plans. With Telstra you can get up to three months of Foxtel Now, and get the choice of Pop, Drama or Kids packs. Many plans also include Telstra TV, with unlimited data starting at $99 a month.
NBN Plans for Foxtel Play
Below are some of the cheapest unlimited NBN 25 plans you can get. However, keep in mind, while they are cheap, they may attract set-up fees, extra modem costs and the like. Unlimited Tier 2 plans start around $60 a month, and providers such as Mate Communicate, Flip TV, Hello Broadband, and Barefoot Telecom all offer fairly cheap plans.
Not fast enough?
If you desire something that has the potential to be much faster, NBN 100 plans generally start at around $80 per month for unlimited data. NBN providers such as SpinTel, Barefoot Broadband and Mate all offer competitive plans. MyRepublic is also worth a look into, and all providers tend to offer VoIP calls for between $0-$10 extra per month.
ADSL Plans for Foxtel Play
For those on an ADSL connection, the good news is that you can get a pretty cheap unlimited plan. However, you’ll have to watch out for those set-up fees and even line rental, which is still a pesky extra cost on a lot of plans. Line rental can cost over $20 so it can pay to do your research. Providers such as Dodo, AusBBS, Barefoot and Mate are all among the cheapest unlimited providers.
However cheap these providers may be, it could be worth going with a plan you know is rated well for streaming speeds. Netflix periodically ranks ISPs that perform the best with its service, and we imagine it’d be much the same story with Foxtel Play. For a while now, Exetel has come out as top dog, toppling over Optus, which still ranks pretty respectably. Both providers have plans across NBN and ADSL connections, and tend to offer unlimited data from $60 or so a month, with speed jumps from $10 extra.
How does Foxtel Now compare to Netflix and Stan?
Foxtel Now differs between these two streaming giants for one big major reason – you can stream live TV. Netflix and Stan don’t allow you to do this.
- Base price for Netflix starts at $9.99, in which you get one stream, up to $18 a month for four streams
- Stan is a flat-fee of $10 a month, in which you get three streams
- Foxtel Now starts at $10 a month for one pack
Netflix and Stan streak ahead in terms of convenience and cost. Once you pay your fee, all content is available; with Foxtel Play you need to buy packs. However, the question remains – even if you get access to all that content with Netflix and Stan, do you actually want to watch that content? Many users may complain that even with their huge libraries, they can’t find anything good to watch. This is because of licensing fees and TV rights.
Foxtel is still king for premium content here, and gets first-run access to shows like Game of Thrones, and other HBO shows. Where it also streaks ahead is with live TV. Netflix and Stan don’t have live TV, and don’t have rights to NRL or AFL games, or any sports at all. However, the cost to get this premium content is often higher than the base $10 price. For live sports, you’ll need to pay a minimum $39 a month, which is prohibitive for a lot of people.
- For cheap entertainment, choose Netflix and/or Stan
- For premium content, choose Foxtel Now
- For live shows, NRL and AFL, choose Foxtel now
Choosing between the three is a matter of what content you want to watch, what you’re willing to pay, and whether you’ll get benefit out of live TV and sport.
How does Foxtel Now compare to Fetch?
Speaking of live TV, Foxtel Now’s main competitor in this regard is Fetch. See below for a quick rundown of what each service’s strengths and weaknesses are.
|Base Cost||$10 a month for one pack, no set-up or player fees||$99 for Mini Player, $1 activation fee|
|Pack Costs||$10-$29 a month||$6 for one, or $20 for all four per month|
|Pause and Rewind?||Pause up to 30 minutes, no rewind||Yes/Up to 15 minutes on Mini Player, with rewind up to pause time|
|Record?||No||Only on Mighty Player (RRP $399)|
|TV Guide?||Yes, same as Foxtel’s||Yes|
|Movies on Demand?||Yes||Yes|
|Ways to Watch||Over 10 ways to watch||Fetch media player or mobile app only|
|Streaming on the Go?||Yes||Yes|
|Catch Up TV?||No||Yes|
|NRL and AFL?||Yes, through Sports pack||No|
|Stan and Netflix integration?||No||Yes|
|Max Initial Cost||$104 a month (all of the packs combined)||$420 (Mighty Player, Activation and all channel packs)|
Source: Respective service websites
As it stands, Fetch has the more prohibitive set-up costs, as Foxtel Now is an internet application and all controls are through there, while you’ll need to buy the hardware to access Fetch. Ongoing costs tend to be lower with Fetch, however, as packs start at just $6 a month.
- For example, you can watch NBA, NFL, MLB and Major League Soccer on ESPN for just $6 a month
Unless you have a burning desire to watch Game of Thrones, NRL or AFL, Fetch’s entertainment packs are stronger and cheaper here. The cost to watch live sport also starts at $39 a month for Foxtel Now, whereas you can watch ESPN-covered games for just $6 a month with Fetch.
- Unfortunately, due to broadcasting rights, if you want all AFL or NRL games live then you pretty much have no choice but to go with Foxtel Now
This $39 minimum cost can be prohibitive. It is, however, a fair bit cheaper than the traditional Foxtel service.
Alternatively, if the player costs for Fetch are a bit prohibitive upfront, several ISPs offer Fetch bundles from about $10 extra per month on top of your plan. Optus, iiNet and Dodo all offer this. Optus’ plans start at $80 a month, while almost any plans with Dodo and iiNet are compatible, and Fetch is able to be bundled for about $10 extra.
Is Foxtel Now worth the money?
Foxtel Now is a more convenient – and slightly cheaper – option compared to regular old Foxtel, but be aware the competition it’s up against may offer cheaper deals.
- Fetch is a close match, but you have to pay for a media player upfront
- Netflix and Stan are cheaper options but lack live TV, sports and premium content
However, keep in mind that even with Foxtel Now you will have to be willing to cough up extra for said premium content. If you want Game of Thrones, packs start at $15. If you want live sport, be prepared to pay up to $39 per month.
- Except for AFL, NRL and Game of Thrones, you could get most of what Foxtel Now has to offer with a Netflix or Stan subscription, and a Fetch pack, in total costing about $16 a month… or $30 for all of Fetch’s packs plus a Stan subscription.
- Fetch hardware costs from $100-$400, which is prohibitive but in the long run it could be worth it, and your provider may offer to bundle it in with your plan for a nominal fee.
In any case, Foxtel Now represents a convenient way to get Foxtel without any hardware. All you need is a solid internet connection and a capable device, such as a computer. However, for premium content, be prepared to pay a premium price.