Should you tune in to Telstra TV?

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Since exploding onto the scene around the start of 2015, streaming video on demand services have taken Australians by storm. Streaming video on demand refers to subscription TV services such as Netflix and Stan – and if you’re looking for a no-fuss way to watch the above on your television, Telstra TV may be your answer.

review of telstra tvWhat is Telstra TV?

Telstra TV is a bundled TV content service provided by Australia’s largest telco, and available exclusively to Telstra broadband customers. If you’re already a streaming video viewer – or you’re getting ready to dip your toe into the brave new world of Netflix, Stan and more – Telstra TV is the easy way to bring all your home entertainment together on one device.

Connect to Telstra TV, and you can easily search across live and on-demand film and TV content, and switch between free-to-air and streaming services from a single screen. It’s a user-friendly alternative to smart TVs, offering a simple-to-navigate home screen with easy access to on-demand video apps and live television.

The Telstra TV device is basically a re-branded version of the ‘Roku’ – a popular streaming and media player in the U.S. It’s provided on selected Telstra broadband bundles from about $99 per month (including your broadband plan), or for $192 as a stand-alone product.

With Telstra TV, you can easily watch shows and movies from:

  • Netflix
  • Stan
  • Foxtel Now
  • YouTube
  • Kayo
  • Hayu
  • Telstra’s own BigPond Movies

As well as live and catch-up content from all Australian free-to-air TV networks:

  • ABC iView
  • SBS On Demand
  • Nine Now
  • Yahoo 7+
  • TenPlay

Telstra TV gives users easy access to both paid subscriptions (Netflix, Foxtel Now, Stan, etc.) and free TV, like the ones mentioned above. It’s basically a simple way to start exploring streaming TV and on-demand entertainment, although you will need to purchase subscriptions to paid services such as Netflix  separately (the exception being sports service Kayo, which can be bundled in with your Telstra broadband plan).

To connect Telstra TV, you’ll need a compatible television with an HDMI port, and antenna to access free-to-air channels. You’ll also need a broadband connection of at least 3.5Mbps, but Telstra’s NBN options should provide more than enough speed for buffer-free streaming.

Overall, Telstra TV does have a range of perks, including:

  • It’s a one-stop shop for all your TV and streaming needs, and allows you to search simultaneously for titles across free-to-air and streaming services .
  • No wires or computers; it integrates perfectly with your TV, just like a standard set top box, and you can use your own mobile phone as a remote control.
  • It’s available bundled-in with eligible Telstra broadband plans.
  • Bonus subscriptions are occasionally included; currently, Telstra is offering a 24-month Foxtel Now subscription via Telstra TV on its two-year $99 Unlimited broadband plan.
  • It’s run on an existing, successful platform (Roku), and offers automatic app updates (unlike smart TVs).
  • It now works with Google Assistant, so you can use smart devices such as the Google Home to control your Telstra TV via voice.

Which broadband plan do I need for Telstra TV?

Telstra TV is currently only available to Telstra customers. You can choose to bundle in the device with a two-year broadband plan, or buy it as a standalone purchase. If you’d like to buy Telstra TV by itself, you’ll pay $192 outright, but will enjoy all the features you’ll find on a bundled broadband-and-streaming plan, including integrated live, catch-up and streaming TV.

NBN plans with Telstra TV

Telstra TV is currently included on Telstra’s Unlimited + Streaming plans, with prices beginning at $99 per month (plus a one-off $99 setup fee). For this price, you’ll get unlimited data on the Standard Plus Evening Speed / NBN 50 tier as standard. This provides a maximum download speed of 50Mbps, though Telstra says typical peak speeds are more like 40Mbps.

A Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) boost can be added for an extra $30 each month (or $129 in total). Unlimited calls national are also available from $10 extra per month, and right now customers on this plan will also receive a bonus Google Home mini and a 24-month Foxtel Now subscription.

Telstra’s $99 Unlimited + Streaming plan is listed below, along with other featured Telstra broadband options.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Telstra Logo

Essential

  • Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25)
  • $99 connection fee for new customers
  • Unlimited local, national & mobile calls included

min. cost $1,755 over 24 months

100GB Max Data**/billing period $69Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Unlimited

  • Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50)
  • $99 connection fee for new customers
  • Unlimited local, national & mobile calls included

min. cost $2,235 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $89Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Unlimited + Streaming

  • Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50)
  • $99 connection fee for new customers
  • Unlimited local, national & mobile calls included
  • Telstra TV & 24 Months Foxtel Now included

min. cost $2,475 over billing period

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $99Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

ADSL & cable plans with Telstra TV

If you’re not yet in an NBN-ready area, you can connect to Telstra TV via the telco’s ADSL2+ and cable plans. Telstra’s cable and ADSL prices once again start at $99 per month for unlimited data on a two-year plan, with included Telstra TV and a 24-month Foxtel Now subscription.

As with NBN plans, a $99 set-up fee applies for new customers, but you’ll get a Telstra Smart Modem included free of charge. If you’re looking for an ADSL/cable and streaming bundle, 24-month contracts come as standard – to go on a month-to-month contract, you’ll likely have to sacrifice most of the extra perks, including Telstra TV.

How does Telstra TV compare?

The combination of Telstra TV, and a home broadband plan bundle, is definitely one of the more convenient ways to access paid streaming TV and movies. However, depending on your data requirements and content consumption habits, you may prefer other similar options.

Apple TV, Fetch TV, and the Foxtel Now Box exist as the primary competitors to Telstra TV, as they each combine a device with a remote (and streaming capability) right out-of-the-box.

Telstra TV Fetch TV Apple TV Foxtel Now Box
Price From (RRP) $192 $169 $249 $99
App Integration Netflix, Stan, Bigpond Movies, Foxtel, YouTube, catch up services Netflix, Stan, YouTube, FTA TV, catch up services Netflix, Stan, Presto, HBO Premium, YouTube, as well as Apple Airplay and screen mirroring Foxtel Now, Stan, YouTube, FTA TV, Spotify, Google Play, catch up services
Packs & Bundles Can be purchased outright or bundled with Telstra internet from $99 Channel packs from $6, can be bundled with Optus or iiNet internet plans No, retail only Can add Foxtel Now packs

For maximum convenience, you can’t go past Telstra TV. As far as work on your own behalf, Telstra TV keeps everything simple: you can bundle it with your monthly broadband, as well as home phone, a 24-month Foxtel Now package, and even Kayo sports streaming.

Apple TV

review of streaming services chromecast

In comparison, Apple TV seems to be the best device for accessing apps and the world of Apple and iTunes. Not only do you have access to the likes of Netflix, you also have access to the huge iTunes library of music and movies, as well as Apple’s comprehensive App Store – so you’re no longer limited to your smartphone for gaming. This is all available to browse and buy via the remote, or through the Siri voice-activated assistant, which is integrated into Apple TV.

Foxtel Now Box

The Foxtel Now Box offers a similar plug-in-and-play functionality, and is priced at $99 outright (although you may be able to grab it at a discount if you buy at the right time). This device allows easy streaming of Foxtel Now (Foxtel’s own video-on-demand service), as well as free-to-air channels, and selected apps including Stan and YouTube. The major downside is that the Netflix app is not yet available on the Foxtel Now Box, which is likely to turn off many potential buyers.

Fetch TV

Finally, Fetch TV features a similar setup, but has its own subscription packs available, offering channels like ESPN, MTV and so on. Prices begin at $169 for the Fetch Mini, but to be able to record live TV you’ll need to shell out $449 upfront for the Mighty box. You’re also able to bundle your Fetch with an eligible plan from Optus, Dodo, iiNet, Internode, iPrimus, Aussie Broadband, or Westnet, as listed in the below table.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Dodo Logo

Unlimited Plan – Turbo

  • NBN Standard Evening Speed (NBN25)

min. cost $1,560 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $65Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
iiNet Logo

NBN50 Liimitless

  • Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50)
  • Fetch TV included

min. cost $1,919.76 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $79.99Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Internode

NBN Gold Unlimited

  • Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50)
  • $15 upfront fee

min. cost $1,934.76 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $79.99Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Optus Logo

90 Plan

  • Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50)
  • $99 upfront fee
  • Includes Fetch TV + channel pack and Optus Sport

min. cost $2,259 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $90Advertised Data^^/billing period
iPrimus Logo

Entertainment Supercharged

  • Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50)
  • $55 activation fee + $15 P&H

min. cost $2,400 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $100Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Is Telstra TV worth the money?

Telstra TV comes as part of a larger home entertainment bundle, which is available from $99 per month on eligible Telstra plans. If you’re in the market for a new broadband plan anyway (and aren’t willing to settle for less than unlimited data), then Telstra’s bundle might be a no-brainer.

Convenience will likely be a key selling point for the Telstra TV; the consolidation of most streaming outlets into the one unit, and the ability to package TV with broadband, is bound to attract plenty of buyers happy to combine it all on a single account.

However, if you can’t justify the extra cost for convenience, there are several other means of obtaining the best on-demand streaming and home entertainment – be it opting for a smart television, or using devices such as Apple TV, Fetch TV, and Foxtel Now. All of these options are well worth looking into, but at the end of the day, Telstra TV offers convenience and ease of use that’s hard to beat.

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