The nearly half a million subscribers of the popular Foxtel Now streaming service will need to make a minor change to the way they use the service this week, as Foxtel begins the retirement of Foxtel Now’s apps.
For a long time, Foxtel has effectively run two streaming (IPTV) versions of its Foxtel service in parallel. Foxtel Now is, of course, the streaming-only service that anyone can sign up for, allowing them to stream live Foxtel channels and a huge library of content on demand, without needing a satellite or cable installation.
Meanwhile, subscribers to Foxtel’s set top box-based service – via satellite or cable – got free access to the Foxtel Go app and web site, which is essentially just a version of Foxtel Now for hardware-installed Foxtel customers.
The changes made this week signal the beginning of what appears to be a winding-down of the Foxtel Now brand – possibly in advance of a long-rumoured Kayo-style entertainment streaming service to replace it. But the hundreds of thousands of existing Foxtel Now customers need not worry – prices are not changing, and no services are being shut down.
As of this week, this first change affects all Foxtel Now customers who access the service via the Foxtel Now apps on iOS and Android phones and tablets. They should download the free Foxtel Go app instead, and log in to it using their existing Foxtel Now username and password. Aside from some minor cosmetic differences, the apps are essentially exactly the same, and all the features offered in the Foxtel Now app will now be available in Foxtel Go.
Foxtel Now customers who used the service’s web site to stream on desktop and laptop computers, meanwhile, should switch to using the main Foxtel streaming site at watch.foxtel.com.au where all subscribed channels will be available.
Foxtel says it will completely shut down the Foxtel Now app later this year (and the Foxtel Kids app will follow it early next year) so Foxtel Now users do have some time to make the switch.
On streaming devices such as smart TVs, Telstra TV, Playstation 4 and the Foxtel Now box, the Foxtel Now and Foxtel Play branded apps will continue to function as normal; this change affects only customers who use their phone, tablet or computer to access Foxtel Now.
Foxtel says the reason for the change is simple. “Moving over to Foxtel Go makes it easier for customers to access all of their content in the one place, regardless of their Foxtel service or subscription type. It also provides less confusion in app stores, gives customers access to the latest features and improvements, and better stability.”