Streaming video on-demand (or SVOD for short) has really taken off over the last couple of years. With the introduction of Netflix to Australia in 2015, streaming services have become the new revolutionary media platform. And for good reason – there are no ads, you watch what you want (when you want!), and you get access to new-release shows and movies.
Out of these services, Fetch has emerged as a strong contender to supply all your streaming demands in one simple place. However, its appeal and main premise are a little different to Netflix or Stan – so read on to find out exactly what Fetch has to offer.
What is Fetch?
Fetch is an SVOD device used to stream from subscription services such as Netflix and Stan, but it’s also much more than that. After purchasing the Fetch Mighty set top box for RRP $449 – or RRP $169 for the Fetch Mini – Fetch gives you the opportunity to purchase a variety of ‘cable television’ streaming entertainment packs, starting at just $6 per month:
- Kids: Disney Channel, Nick Jr, Nickelodeon, Disney Junior etc
- Knowledge: Nat Geo, Food Network, CNBC, CNN, Travel etc
- Vibe: ESPN, MTV, Spike, E, Comedy Central etc
- Variety: BBC, SyFy, Universal, 111, TV Hits etc
Each pack costs $6 a month, or you can bundle all four together for a total of $20 per month. Bundling all four packs gets you over 35 channels, streamed over your internet connection.
You can also add special interest and world channel packs, including;
- Optus Sport: $14.99 per month
- beIN Sports: $19.99 per month
- Chinese pack (15 channels): $9.95 per month
- TVB Cantonese and Korean pack (5 channels): $15 per month
- Taj Mahal (25 channels): $15 per month
- Pinoy (8 channels): $19.95 per month
Of course, these packs aren’t mandatory to purchase. If you don’t want to pay for an extra subscription, Fetch TV is compatible with free-to-air (FTA) services such as ABC iView, SBS On Demand and Tenplay. For about a $500 initial price or less, Fetch TV has the capability of being your new home entertainment hub.
What broadband plan do I need for Fetch?
The beauty with Fetch TV is that you can buy the media player outright, and use your own ISP (internet service provider). Alternatively, there are six premier providers that offer the Fetch TV Mighty or Mini player in a bundle with a broadband plan:
- iiNet: ‘iiNet TV’ by Fetch – Fetch Mini player included at no extra cost on 24 month plans
- Internode: Premium TV bundle with no lock-in contract for $10 a month extra
- Aussie Broadband: Available from $10 extra per month on unlimited data plans
- Dodo: Fetch Mini player bundle from $44.90 a month, unlimited data
- iPrimus: Unlimited data & entertainment bundles from $80 per month on NBN plans
- Optus: ‘Yes TV’ by Fetch – Fetch & Optus Sport from $100 a month with unlimited data
iiNet Bundles with Fetch
iiNet offers Fetch TV packages on selected broadband plans. If you’re on a 24-month unlimited data plan, a Fetch Entertainment bundle is free to add to your account, although a $59.99 setup fee is required.
Fetch bundles include a Mini set top box, plus 30 pre-selected movies each month. You’ll then be able to add optional extras, such as Premium channel packs ($6 per month each, or all for for $20), sports and world TV packages, and multi-room access ($10 per extra set-top box, plus $59.99 setup). iiNet customers can also upgrade to a Fetch Mighty for an additional $340.
Overall, iiNet looks to be one of the cheaper providers to offer Fetch, but beyond the Fetch Mini you’ll still have to pay for an additional entertainment packs yourself.
Internode Bundles with Fetch
Little brother to iiNet, Internode, also has Fetch entertainment bundles – but this time you’ll pay $10 extra per month. So what does $10 get you?
- On NBN plans you’ll get the Fetch Mini and all the included content you’ve come to expect with Fetch. Plus you’ll get one included channel pack.
Alternatively, you can also get just the Mini for $5 per month if you’re not interested in channel packs. Unlimited data starts at $70, while top-flight unlimited NBN costs closer to $100, plus the $10 for Fetch.
Aussie Broadband Bundles with Fetch TV
Aussie Broadband customers can add Fetch to any NBN plan, with prices beginning at $10 per month for the Fetch Mini and $15 per month for the Fetch Mighty set top box. Multi-room is available for an additional $10 each month, as well as add-on channel packs (including Kids, Knowledge, special interest and world channels).
With unlimited data NBN plans beginning at $69 monthly (for standard Evening speeds), an unlimited broadband bundle with Fetch TV is available from $79 per month. Below are Aussie Broadband’s NBN options, without Fetch TV added on.
Dodo Bundles with Fetch TV
Another provider to offer Fetch TV bundles with broadband is Dodo. With Dodo, you can bundle in either a Fetch Mini for $15 extra a month, or a Fetch Mighty for $20 extra per month. This brings the cheapest bundle to $75 a month, or $85 on an unlimited data plan.
Dodo is pretty transparent in its bundle offerings, and tends to be on the cheaper end of the Fetch/NBN package scale. Below is what you can expect to pay for Dodo’s broadband plans, keeping in mind its Fetch TV bundles will add another $15 or so onto the plan per month:
iPrimus Bundles with Fetch
As a Vocus Communications stablemate to Dodo, iPrimus surprisingly has a very different approach to its sister brand. Plans with Fetch included start at about $90 a month and come with unlimited data. With this you’ll get the Fetch Mini box plus one channel pack, all on NBN 50 speeds.
Plans come with local and national calls as standard, and a 24-month contract. To set up Fetch you’ll pay a $55 activation fee, plus $15 postage and handling. For one of the more straightforward approaches to Fetch + internet, iPrimus stands out among the providers.
Optus Bundles with Fetch
Optus may be one of the first ISPs you associate with Fetch TV, as in the early days Optus was one of the early adopters of bundling Fetch TV with a broadband plan.
Broadband and Fetch bundles start at $90 per month, and include Optus Sport as well as one channel pack (normally $6 each month). Plans come with the Standard Plus speed tier as standard (NBN 50), with the option of a Premium speed boost for $30 extra per month.
Optus notably has the rights to English Premier League football, which is a great if you’re a soccer fanatic. Ordinarily, Optus Sport (which covers EPL) would cost $15 extra a month after buying the Fetch TV player outright. Entertainment bundles with Optus are not only convenient, but may also work out cheaper than if you sourced every component separately.
Fetch Mini vs. Fetch Mighty: what’s the difference?
There are two different types of players that Fetch offers: the Fetch Mighty, and the Fetch Mini. The key difference? One allows you to record TV, and the other doesn’t.
- With the Mighty player you can record live TV. It’s not just a streaming device; it also acts as your personal video recorder (PVR).
- The Mighty allows you to record up to six channels while watching another, and its intuitiveness means you can easily record all shows in a series.
- Fetch claims the one-terabyte hard drive is big enough for 585 hours of standard definition recordings, which is fantastic.
- The Mighty player also supports 4K Ultra-HD, and retails for $449.
However, if you’re not in the market for a PVR, Fetch TV has you covered with the Mini player. The Fetch Mini is available for $169 outright, and is basically the same as the Mighty – just without the PVR features. Unlike the 4K-capable Mighty, the Mini player only supports regular old HD – but that’s about where the differences end. If you’re looking to save on upfront entertainment costs, you may prefer the Mini, especially if you don’t plan on recording TV.
Both Fetch players feature the following:
- FTA ‘catch up’ services from ABC iView, Tenplay, SBS On Demand etc
- Built-in apps to watch Netflix, Stan (you’ll need to have your own subscriptions already)
- The option to buy the aforementioned entertainment packs, Optus Sport Pack (for Optus customers only) or beIN Sport pack for about $15-$20 each a month
- ‘Smart’ 7-day TV guide
- Pause and rewind live TV
For an extra $20 a month, you have the ability to purchase an entertainment pack, which includes over 35 channels. However, if $20 is a bit too much – or you can’t see yourself watching all the channels regularly – these packs can be broken down (as above) into four separate options, each costing $6 a month.
Channel packs are generally broken up into interest groups: for example, if you’re a sports fan you might like to select the ‘Vibe’ pack. All the usual suspects are there from what you’d expect with traditional pay TV, and extra packs like beIN Sports and Optus Sport can be added from $15 per month.
With both Fetch media players, you’ll also get these inclusions:
- Over 5000 movies to rent or buy.
- 30 free pre-selected movies a month (inclusion seems to vary).
- Integrated ‘Rotten Tomatoes’ reviews.
- Browse movies based on genre or cast/crew.
Fetch TV is also intuitively integrated with your Android or Apple smartphone, via a free app that also acts as a second remote control (and allows you to record programs remotely, if you’re a Fetch Mighty user).
Both the Mighty and Mini boxes also allow you to watch premium channels on-the-go, and watch shows and movies anywhere. Fetch TV really is an all-encompassing home entertainment hub, and it’s refreshing to see that, besides the lack of recording capability, there’s otherwise minimal compromise when opting for the cheaper Mini player.
Fetch vs Foxtel vs Apple TV: Who’s the winner?
SVOD is a huge industry, but there are several key players that tend to compete directly with Fetch TV in regards to streaming and home entertainment as a whole. They are Apple TV, the Foxtel Now Box, Telstra TV, and traditional Foxtel. Here’s a quick rundown of how they compare together below:
|Fetch||Foxtel Cable||Foxtel Now Box||Apple TV||Telstra TV|
|Pause/Rewind/Record Live TV||Yes (Mighty player record only)||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Catch-Up TV Integration||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Netflix/Stan integration||Yes||No||Stan only||Yes||Yes|
|Buy newly-released movies||Yes||No||Yes, via Google Play||Yes||Yes|
|Rent newly-released movies||Yes||No||Yes, via Google Play||Yes||Yes|
|Buy popular TV shows||Yes||Yes||Yes, via Google Play||Yes||Yes|
|Premium Channel Packs||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|On-the-go apps for watching||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Price Per Month for Equivalent Package||$26.25 (Mini player) or $36.66 (Mighty player) (Ultimate pack + player costs over 24-months)||$55 for Sports & Drama Combo no lock-in contract (not including iQ3 equipment fee and installation fees)||$25 for Foxtel Now subscription, plus $99 equipment fee (Foxtel Now subscription not mandatory)||No entertainment packages available (unit price available from $239 RRP)||Available from $99 on broadband plans with unlimited data ($90 plan plus $9 Telstra TV fee)|
Sources: Foxtel, Telstra TV, Fetch
The main differences between Fetch, Foxtel, Telstra TV and Apple TV lie in their costs, and what opportunity you have for entertainment packages, as well as how they act as a home entertainment hub.
Pay TV Value
As far as all-out entertainment goes, it’s hard to separate Fetch TV and Foxtel. Both equivalent packs offer a swathe of channels covering entertainment, drama and sport: for example, you can watch NBA games with both Fetch and Foxtel.
However, Fetch pulls ahead due to its integrated Netflix, Stan and FTA catch-up TV apps. Foxtel does not have this; instead, you’ll have to rely on another avenue to get these, such as Apple TV, which seems to be an expensive workaround for streaming these services.
If you do want to enjoy Foxtel, but have access to apps and free-to-air television, the Foxtel Now Box is an affordable alternative. Designed to be used with the company’s Foxtel Now streaming service, the Foxtel Now Box can be used with or without a Foxtel Now subscription. You’ll also get free-to-air and catch-up TV, and app integration from Stan, YouTube, Spotify, and Google Play (unfortunately, Netflix isn’t available).
Value for Money
Another main drawback is the cost of Foxtel. For an equivalent package to Fetch’s offering, you’re looking at spending a minimum of $49 per month through a traditional Foxtel plan (plus any installation costs).
Adding salt to the wound is the fact that Fox Sports lost EPL TV rights to Optus, so fans of English football may feel even less incentive to purchase a Foxtel package. Foxtel does provide coverage of games through a few clubs’ specific TV channels though, including Manchester United and Chelsea among others. However, the increased cost comes with the benefit of having these channels broadcast on TV, rather than streamed using the internet. Again, this is likely a non-factor for people with unlimited data plans, but for those with data caps, it is also a consideration.
Netflix, Stan and On-Demand Entertainment
Where Fetch TV mainly compares with Apple TV, Telstra TV, and similar products is the access to on-demand purchasing of TV shows and movies, as well as integration of streaming services like Netflix. If this is one of your main concerns – not the Entertainment packages mentioned above – then it may well come down to how comprehensive Fetch’s library is versus Apple’s iTunes, Telstra TV’s Box Office, or what’s available on Netflix or Stan. You may find you prefer one over the other; if you do go with Apple TV, you’ll also have access to the App Store and the opportunity to download games.
If you’re looking for an on-demand alternative to Foxtel’s pay TV packages, a Foxtel Now streaming subscription could be ideal. Foxtel Now allows you to stream a huge amount of Foxtel’s catalogue (including TV shows, movies and live sports) directly to your browser, mobile device, or TV (via the Foxtel Now Box). With prices beginning from just $25 per month for the base Foxtel Essentials plan, and premium packs from $10-$29 per month, it may be a cheaper way to get the Foxtel content you like on demand, without the expense and commitment of a ‘pay TV’ plan.
Set-Top Box and PVR Tools
Where Fetch wins out against Apple TV is through its set top box and PVR attributes. Apple TV does not have these functions, and you can’t watch live TV through it. However, Apple TV is a fair bit cheaper, though you’ll still have to pay for your preferred streaming services.
Foxtel does have a great PVR/set top box set-up in its ‘iQ3’ device, which is mandatory for all Foxtel subscriptions and carries an upfront cost when you go to purchase Foxtel.
- If you want all-out entertainment and pay TV packages but have a limited data allowance – choose Foxtel
- If you want cheaper pay TV packages and data is no concern – choose Fetch
- If you want a cost-effective solution for streaming and a large entertainment library – choose Apple TV, Telstra TV, or Foxtel Now Nox
- If you want English Premier League football – choose Fetch TV with the Optus Sport Package, or buy Fetch TV through an Optus broadband plan
- If you want ‘a bit of everything’ – choose Fetch TV, Telstra TV, or Foxtel Now Box
Fetch TV seems to offer the best of both worlds between Foxtel and streaming services, and is a cheaper option than most pay TV plans. While you’ll be relegated to streaming much of your content with Fetch, those with unlimited broadband connections will likely not notice any difference.
Is Fetch worth the money?
Fetch is a surprisingly welcome and refreshing change of pace in the streaming world. While it seems many people moved away from traditional pay TV outlets in favour of streaming services, there’s still a market for easy-access entertainment and sports packages. Simply, you can’t get live TV and sports with Netflix, which may be off putting for many potential customers (although sports fans can stream live content via Kayo).
On the other hand, a lot of people became disenfranchised with traditional pay TV, because they found they were perhaps paying too much. This left a void in the market with people looking for streaming, on-demand purchases, and entertainment and sports packages – all rolled into one simple set top box/PVR. This is where Fetch filled that void, and we suspect it’ll become increasingly popular in the future for those looking for an easy, bundled solution to all their home entertainment needs.