FetchTV first look

CHOICE takes a look at an internet-based alternative to pay TV.
 
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01.Introduction

STB-with-Remote_web

FetchTV 
Price:
Dependent on plan
Contact: www.fetchtv.com.au

3 1/2 stars out of 5

FetchTV could be a great deal for you if you’re considering pay TV and already have a connection with one of the selected internet providers. If you don't, the costs of setting up might turn you off.

FetchTV uses your internet connection instead of a satellite dish or cable to transfer media to your TV (also known as IPTV). You'll need to be with a partnered ADSL provider such as Internode, iiNet, Optus or a variety of other ISPs to get access.

The data used for downloads doesn’t impact on your broadband quota most of the time, and it has multiple warnings for when it does.

Setting up

Installation is fairly simple, the quick start guide shows how to connect the TV, Free to air (FTA) antenna and the ADSL modem. It supplies all equipment necessary, including cabling.

If you don't have a connection for the modem near the TV, you can use an optional powerline adapter. We had to change our modem to the ISP branded model, which cost a bit more. Take this replacement cost into account if you already have a modem/router.

It takes a relatively pain free 30 minutes to hook everything together, get connected and viewing.

The STB has about 700 hours of standard definition TV recording availability on a 1TB drive. With three HD TV tuners you can record two channels and watch a third channel. It doesn’t work without the internet connection and subscription.

Plans on offer

There are basically two subscriptions available. Assuming you already have the ADSL connection and you choose to rent the set-top box (a 24 month contract), you’ll see a starter package ($15/mth) and the one with everything ($30/mth).

No contract period means you’ll have to buy the STB outright ($399) and have a lower monthly cost. The starter package doesn’t give you much bang for your buck compared with the smorgasbord, with only movie rental capability, the STB, apps, games and the free-to-air channels you already get.

The all you can eat package supplies:

  • 30 free movies per month
  • A number of lifestyle and other channels such as history, sci-fi, sport and music channels
  • You can also add specialised language channels in varieties such as Indian, Chinese and Korean for an extra cost per month as well as a sports package
  • Newer movie titles can be rented on either plan at $6 for viewing within 48hours
  • Sports coverage is fairly limited compared to other services, so if that’s your focus you probably want to look elsewhere
  • It also gives you access to a number of widgets on screen for social media

Ease of use

The ease of navigation can make or break a product like this. FetchTV’s remote is fairly good to handle:

  • The navigation through the electronic program guide (EPG) is fairly simple, laid out in a grid or list
  • Text on the EPG could be larger onscreen, though it’s not a bad effort
  • The remote control labelling for channel changing and volume is quite small and the buttons are closely spaced
  • There is low contrast on the labelling for the device buttons

This doesn’t break the deal if you are thinking alternatives to pay TV, but worth taking into consideration. Using the remote for logins to social networks is awkward, however you can connect a USB or wireless keyboard device to a USB port at the rear. The remote can also be programmed as a universal remote.

What's on the box

Content is king, as they say, and FetchTV does deliver a good deal of content with many subscription channels and 30 free movies on the more expensive packages Several extra movies are delivered weekly.

Downloading is a breeze. It starts the movie straight away when you want to watch. While you watch, it downloads in the background so you aren’t subject to the stop/start buffering effect.

Don’t expect high definition, it’s too much to ask even with high speed ADSL. Perhaps the NBN will change that in future. We are interested to hear that FetchTV plan on releasing an app to control the device in the near future.

CHOICE verdict

If you’re thinking about getting pay TV and already have a connection with one of these providers, this could be a great deal for you. If you don’t, you might want to look elsewhere given the cost to setup the ADSL connection, the hardware costs specific to the provider and the service itself, with or without buying the set top box.

 
 

 

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