Foxtel vs Freeview - Who Wins?

Foxtel vs Freeview: Putting Pay TV and Free To Air to the Test

Foxtel vs Freeview: In one corner you have the big, bulking champion heavyweight of all things TV. In the other, you have the challenger, the pretender, with just enough confidence and determination to create an upset.

Foxtel has dozens of premium channels and exclusive coverage of some of the best sporting events in the world. 

Freeview is free-to-air for all households in Australia. It may not have the big names and big shows of its shinier opponent, but the platform offers a decent mix of entertainment and sports.  

Foxtel vs Freeview — What’s the Difference?

The question we want an answer to is –  Which of these two pulls out all the stops?

Here are the brass tacks: Foxtel has over 90 channels. Even at its most basic, the service offers 54 channels that cater to everything from kids’ TV and movies to drama and documentaries. The platform invests heavily in producing and acquiring the best content in the world.

If soaps are your one true love, you can romance them all day and all night on Foxtel. If you are a hardcore sports fan, you’ll find coverage of every major event that matters on one of their many dedicated sports channels, plus sports news channels. There’s also the option to live-stream popular sports to compatible mobile devices using the Foxtel app. 

If you choose the full channel package, you may never leave your house again. We are serious. Here’s why: Headline shows include the latest season of the zombie hit, The Walking Dead. Then there is the griping murder mystery, The Undoing, that starts A listers, Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman. For fans of YA drama, Euphoria takes you deep into the lives of the high school students dealing with all issues teenage. 

On the other hand, Freeview offers channels from a variety of broadcasters.  With one caveat – it is not worth watching 24/7.  At the time of writing, it’s 8:45 a.m., and the best picks are the shopping channel, an unbelievable amount of kids’ TV, and news in Chinese, Arabic, English, and Russian.

Granted, early morning isn’t the best time of day for high drama and entertainment. Looking ahead to prime time, we see back to back episodes of The Big Bang Theory on channel 99, Gone In 60 Seconds on Channel 7, and a whole host of solid British and American TV shows from the last decade.

What does Foxtel Get You For the Cost?

The basic Foxtel pack, Foxtel Plus, costs $49/month for 54 channels, giving you a taste of all available genres. If there’s an area you’re particularly interested in, such as movies or sports, these can be added for an additional price. If you want everything, Foxtel  has the “Platinum Plus” Pack will set you back $99/month.

For the full list of channels that you can get under each Foxtel channel pack, check out the table below:

Freeview, as its name suggests, is free. You don’t have to concern yourself with any monthly packs or renewals. 

Does Foxtel Have Exclusive Sports Content?

Australians love their sport. Any comparison between Foxtel vs Freeview wouldn’t be complete without a look at the quantity and quality of their respective sports coverage: 

Football on Foxtel and Free To Air

Fox Sports will broadcast and stream every match of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 Season, as well as the Hyundai A-League 2020 Finals Series.

ABC TV, the official free-to-air broadcast partner, will air delayed broadcasts of one Elimination Final, one Semi Final and the Grand Final. 

Cricket on Foxtel and Free To Air

Fox Cricket delivers every Test, ODI, T20I of the Australian cricket calendar.. Don’t miss a single moment with the Live coverage. Fox Cricket is available via Foxtel and Kayo,

Channel 7, on the other hand, broadcasts free to air cricket with several ad-breaks due to television rights. 

Rugby and Racing on Foxtel and Free To Air

Foxtel, once again, will bring you the very best of the rugby leagues and international matches. Freeview will showcase selected matches. The same holds true for racing as well. You will find Supercars on free to air TV. 

When it comes to sports, Freeview TV can be described as solid, but not dazzling; good, but not inspiring.

Foxtel vs Freeview — Experience and Features

This is where things start to become a little more interesting. The latest iteration of Foxtel hardware — the iQ4 box — is a thing of beauty. It’s black, it’s smooth, it looks like it should be in a science fiction movie. You can record hundreds of hours of TV, as well as view catch-up TV and pause and rewind live TV; all accessible through a Bluetooth remote control. The iQ4 is simply amazing.

Just when you think Freeview will be knocked out, the challenger lands a stunning one-two and gets back into the fight. Here’s how: there’s a semi-official body which sets the rules on what can be branded and sold as a Freeview box. That body is called the Freeview Initiative.

To gain certification as part of the initiative, your hardware has to be able to receive transmissions in both standard definition and high definition. Sounds great, but unfortunately another requirement is that all recording-enabled hardware has to be incapable of skipping over adverts on recorded content. That’s a bummer.

A range of devices – from Sony’s PS4 to the recent Fetch TV as well as numerous small-brand personal video recorders — have been able to bring Freeview to your TV for years. It’s your choice: Play by the rules and buy a box endorsed by the initiative, or watch through an unapproved device and skip the ads.

What you miss out on with non-Freeview hardware is the special electronic program guide (EPG), which in its latest form on hardware certified as “Freeview Plus” will let you browse the program guide, choose what you want to record, view catch-up TV from all of the Free-to-air channels, and a lot more. It’s incredibly user-friendly and very sleek. 

It’s also something you’ve been able to get, more or less, with Foxtel. The platform offers the Foxtel Go app to all subscribers. This handy little app runs on most mobile devices and lets you take the best that Foxtel has to offer with you, wherever you want to go. Check out the table below for the complete list of Foxtel Go devices.

Freeview has their Freeview FV app that lets you browse and stream all the available channels. However, with some networks (like Nine) the network’s own app is required to actually stream live TV or catch-up.

Foxtel vs Freeview – Who Wins?

Whether you choose to go for Foxtel or Free-to-air depends on how much you love TV. If you’re a casual viewer, we imagine that you’ll be quite happy to stay with Freeview. After all, it’s free, it’s easy, and the content is pretty good.

If you’re the kind of person who loves TV, and find yourself waiting with bated breath for the latest content, you should, without hesitation, choose Foxtel. Take a moment and compare the latest Foxtel deals.

Foxtel vs Freeview has a clear winner for now. In the future, a new champion may emerge.

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