If you’ve been a Foxtel Play customer any time in the past – and especially if you’re currently enjoying the service with its recently introduced lower cost and simplified packages – then this month is an important one for you. Foxtel Play as you know it is about to change. But don’t panic! We all hate change, sure, but this is the good kind of change. With HD streaming, a new interface and Chromecast support, you’ll surely appreciate everything Foxtel Now has to offer.
The move to Foxtel Now is, on the surface level, a “rebranding” of the existing Foxtel Play service. But under the hood it’s actually a little bit more than that going on. The change brings huge benefits for both existing customers – even those already enjoying the HD version on their Telstra TV box – and new. So if you’ve always wanted to try out Foxtel’s streaming service, now’s the perfect time to jump in.
Foxtel Now is a whole new app
Foxtel Play’s various apps across multiple platforms have been functional enough for what they do, However, they’ve never really made it easy to find the content you want. Foxtel Now changes all that with a new app developed from the ground up to be as user-friendly as possible. It comes with an expanded and greatly enhanced search functionality so you can find the shows and movies you’re looking for across both live and on-demand streams.
The new app also brings the popular Recommended feature from Foxtel’s iQ3 box to Foxtel Now, with its behind-the-scenes cleverness able to intelligently recommend content for you based on what you’ve been enjoying already. With so many channels and so much programming on offer, it can be the perfect way to find that elusive “something to watch.” You know, instead of spending ages going through a program guide. You can see what’s popular across the entire Foxtel Now user community with the Trending section, too.
And for those with kids looking for shows and movies made just for them, the new app includes a special Kids section. You can access all the kids’ programming available in one place.
The new Foxtel Now app is available on Telstra TV and PS4, as well as iOS and Android mobile phones and tablets – and this is a big deal. Foxtel Play users previously had to use the Foxtel Go app to watch content on their mobile devices. In SD, with no way of getting those streams onto their TV. Until now.
Since Foxtel Now launched, there’s been talk of a stand-alone Foxtel Now streaming box that would make it easy to subscribe then “plug and play and stream away”. The Foxtel Now box is available for purchase for $99 with free shipping.
This one’s a pretty big deal. Foxtel Play got HD support on Telstra TV a little while ago, but that was the only device you could stream HD on. And even then, most of the Anytime catch-up content was still in SD. Everyone else had to be content with SD across the board.
All that changes with Foxtel Now, with full support for Chromecast on the iOS and Android apps. You can stream and play back on-demand content in HD on any big-screen HDTV that you plug a Chromecast into. This lets you sit back on the couch and channel-surf in HD. Or even binge-watch entire seasons of shows whenever it suits you, all with your phone or tablet in full control of what’s on the screen.
You can also stream full HD Foxtel on your PC or Mac for the first time with Foxtel Now. The service offers Google Chrome support, so you can watch in your browser. Or, if you prefer, you can send the video to your Chromecast.
Coming down the track are apps for Xbox game consoles and smart TVs. Until then, the existing Foxtel Play apps will continue to work fine on those devices. You’ll just be limited to SD until the new app arrives.
Some things stay the same
Long-time Foxtel Play users need not panic about the changes that are happening – they’re all good. The channel packs you’re paying for now won’t be changing at all. Foxtel Now has adopted those packs as their format as well, so the channels you’re getting now won’t change. Aside, of course, from the HD upgrades coming now and in the future. There’s no extra charge for HD, either. Unlike hardware-installed Foxtel, HD is a free bonus for those Foxtel Now customers that want to take advantage of it.
And with some big events on the way across the channel packs – including, of course, everything Game of Thrones – you’ll be able to enjoy them with better picture quality than ever before, across more devices.