Review was updated on 19 October, 2020
Though the pay TV landscape in Australia is dominated by Foxtel, there’s an alternative option for pay TV that more and more people are discovering. Fetch TV combines Free to Air & Subscription TV channels, streaming services, catch-up apps, a movie & TV store and (if you go for the Mighty option) a class-leading DVR in a service that delivers its content to you via broadband internet, rather than satellite.
Fetch TV Review
In a world already filled with small black boxes, the latest Fetch TV boxes could be dismissed as just more kit to clutter up your living room. So, do the features make Fetch TV a worthwhile addition to your home entertainment system?
The boxes themselves (both “Mini” and “Mighty” versions) are compact and quite attractive, with “floating” panels which almost make it appear that the box is flying apart in front of your eyes. The box has no buttons on the front, so you’ll be relying totally on the remote control to navigate the interface. The remote can also be set up to control many TV brands, or the Fetch box can be controlled by a programmable universal remote, such as a Logitech Harmony or similar.
In this Review
What is Fetch TV?
With its wide range of functions, Fetch TV is primarily a streaming TV service, which is also a digital TV tuners (for watching and recording free-to-air channels), and a movie purchase and rental service. Because it’s designed as an app platform, Fetch’s boxes can also offer access to most of the major free and paid streaming services, from Netflix to ABC iView and everything in between.
The Fetch boxes require an internet connection to function even for broadcast TV, as they obtain the TV Guide from the Fetch servers rather than over the air from digital TV broadcasts (this is so it can manage both Free to Air and subscription channels through a single TV Guide interface). The Free to Air channels are obtained from a conventional TV antenna, not the internet connection, so you’ll still need an antenna cable to watch and record the FTA TV channels.
The Fetch boxes can use either an ethernet or Wi-Fi connection – though if you can do it, Ethernet is the better option, as most home Wi-Fi set-ups cannot maintain the bandwidth and quality of service that streaming video over two or more channels concurrently would demand.
There is also a free companion app, enabling you to watch selected entertainment channels, movies, and Free to Air recordings on your phone or tablet, as well as scheduling recordings remotely.
Fetch TV Channel Packs
At the core of the Fetch TV experience are their channel packs – four main ones, as well as a selection of specialised packs for those who want international TV channels or premium sports. When obtained through your internet provider, the Fetch TV service usually comes with your choice of one of the four main channel packs, with the option to add additional ones at $6/month each. Titled “Vibe,” “Knowledge,” “Variety” and “Kids,” the packs offer a good cross-section of premium TV channels, with sport mostly found on channels in the Vibe pack, news and docos in Knowledge, drama and reality TV in Variety.
Those who buy a Fetch box outright at retail don’t get any channel packs by default – however, the price of $6/month each remains the same; all four can be had for a discounted $20.
In addition to the paid channel packs, Fetch TV offers broadcasts (and catch-up streaming services) from all the major networks via your TV antenna. The integration of catch-up apps means you don’t need to worry about recording a lot of content on the free to air networks, as much of their popular broadcast content is available on catch-up for weeks after broadcast. (For longer-term viewing and especially for HD picture quality, though, you’ll want to set up recordings from the TV Guide). Catch-up services are easily accessed from the Main Menu.
Fetch TV also has a native YouTube app, and native Netflix, Stan and hayu apps plus Prime Video and 10 All Access. Those require separate subscriptions, of course, but do make the Fetch TV box a one-stop media hub for most of your family’s viewing.
What Sports are Available?
While Fetch TV doesn’t have a dedicated sport channel pack, you’ll find both ESPN channels in the “Vibe” pack which will give you a solid 24/7 dose of international sport.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg for sports fans, as Fetch allows you to add special interest channel packs that open up access to a lot of premium sports. Optus Sport, now available regardless of which internet provider you’re with, opens up exclusive access to Premier League, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Nations League and UEFA Euro 2020 football for $15/month.
Expanding the sport menu even further is beIN Sports which, across three channels, offers global Football, International Rugby, and Tennis, including LaLiga, Serie A, Bundesliga, EFL Championship, the Wallabies & All Blacks’ Spring Tours, 6 Nations, Davis Cup and the WTA Tour. It costs $20/month.
Those who miss the Eurosport channel will be thrilled to find it available via Fetch, where $9/month gets you that channel’s acclaimed coverage of cycling, snooker, winter sports and athletics. And UFC fans will find all the big fights available live on a pay-per-view basis.
What Shows and Movies are Available?
It’s movies and TV shows where Fetch really shines as a service, providing comprehensive access to a vast amount of content on the one device, with movie and TV show rental on tap for those who need the latest. With some providers, you also get 30 free movies every month (chosen by Fetch) in their “Movie Box” section – a new movie every day!
Fetch TV’s movie library offers most first-release titles at the same time as they become available on other sources (iTunes, Google Play, etc). There is also a reasonable back-catalogue of films – recent releases are well-supported, but don’t expect to find much in the way of classics or World movies. Movie rental prices range from around $5.95 for a new release, $6.95 for an HD new release and from $2.95 for a back-catalogue title. Many titles are also available for purchase, with prices comparable to other online movie stores.
Users can also buy TV series, either as single episodes, or entire series. Game of Thrones, for instance, is available to purchase, as is the highly acclaimed Big Little Lies. Fetch users can also purchase series like Suits, Brooklyn Nine Nine, Ballers, Outlander, Veep, The Walking Dead, The 100 and more.
Fetch vs Foxtel Now and Kayo Sports
Of course, Fetch TV isn’t the only option if you’re looking for premium TV entertainment and sports delivered via the internet. There are some very real alternatives in the form of Foxtel Now and Kayo Sports that might be worth weighing up when deciding where to spend your money.
For general TV entertainment, Foxtel Now is certainly loaded with options – and works in a very similar way to Fetch TV in terms of its separation of channels into themed packs that you can add to your service. While the cost of entry with Fetch is just the box – either outright from a retailer or as a monthly-fee option from your internet provider – Foxtel Now is designed to work on streaming devices you may already have, and has a base channel pack costing $25/month that you can’t opt out of. Foxtel Now offers substantially more channels than Fetch, including some showing content exclusive to Foxtel such as the premium dramas from HBO and FX. It’s a reliable, popular service that offers more than Fetch – but costs more as well.
For sports, Kayo has become the go-to destination for fans of over 50 different sporting codes, and for an all-inclusive $25/month it represents astonishing value with its wall-to-wall live and on-demand sporting coverage, all of it in high definition. Kayo has access to the resources of Fox Sports, as well as beIN Sports, so there’s no shortage of first-rate action. However, fans of English football will not find it on Kayo – that’s exclusive to Optus Sport via Fetch. And Eurosport is now a Fetch exclusive as well.
Last audited 09 November 2020
Fetch TV Features
The hard drive on the Fetch Mighty is a respectable 1TB, which allows you to record and store over 500 hours of standard definition TV to watch at your convenience (or rather less HD content). The Fetch Mini has no hard drive at all – it can only stream from the internet and receive live TV channels, though if it’s on the same home network as Mighty it can access recordings on that device. The Electronic Program Guide is simple and straightforward, and the excellent remote control doesn’t suffer from being overly complicated either.
Peeking through the panels is a bright blue light, which tells you that the device is on, has an internet connection, and whether or not it is recording. In a dark room, the light can be distracting if it is close to the TV screen – you may want to cover it with masking tape or position the box out of the line of sight, particularly if watching movies in the dark.
The User Interface is modern and simple to navigate, with all the main functions grouped under clear and logical sub-menus.
Fetch TV Plans and Pricing
Fetch TV’s two boxes can be rented from several ISPs, or can be purchased as a retail product from a number of retailers such as JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman. Bundled inclusions and subscription offerings vary depending on where your box comes from. If you are tempted to buy a second-hand Fetch TV box, be very careful to check whether it is an ISP-sourced set-top box or a retail box, as the ISP boxes are coded to the ISP’s network, and will only work with an internet connection provided by the original ISP.
Bundling Fetch TV with Internet
Several ISPs are on board with Fetch, including Optus, Dodo, iPrimus, iiNet, Internode, Westnet, and Aussie Broadband – all of which are offering their own deals. If your existing ISP has a Fetch TV offering, that will probably be your simplest choice; otherwise, you can look at purchasing a retail Fetch Mighty, which sells for around $449, or a Fetch Mini at about $169.
In the case of many ISPs, you can opt for a bundle that includes everything you need to get connected online and start watching Fetch TV – NBN broadband connection, Fetch TV box, channel pack subscription and 30 free movies each month. With any of the ISPs that offer Fetch TV, look for either the option to add Fetch to a plan, or for bundles that include it (such as Optus’s “Internet Entertainer” bundles).
Fetch TV is able to handle the billing itself if you’ve bought a box at a retail store; they charge a $1 one-off activation fee to ensure that your box will function as a PVR, catch-up service, and digital receiver.
Last audited 18 November 2020
Review Summary – It’s Pay TV for the Internet Age
We see Fetch TV as one of the top TV subscription services on the market; it easily combines Free to Air channels, catch-up services, movies and TV series, and online content (including Netflix and Stan) all in the same interface. Another bonus is the mobile app coverage – meaning you’ll never have another boring train ride to work, since you can watch on mobile devices via Wi-Fi and 3G/4G.
A possible downside to Fetch TV for some consumers is the way they have teamed up with several ISPs to subsidise the hardware and allowed them to take control of the billing. This has led to a pricing system which is a little bit inconsistent and sometimes not even clearly advertised by the ISP. One way to combat this is to buy the box outright from a retailer and let Fetch TV handle the billing.
All in all, though, Fetch TV is a great value, feature-packed alternative for pay TV, built around a seriously impressive piece of hardware that’ll end up being the centre of all your TV entertainment.
Fetch TV Pros and Cons
What People Ask about Fetch TV
No – that’s the great thing about Fetch TV. The only installation needed it to connect it to your TV antenna and your internet via wi-fi or Ethernet, and that’s it – you’re good to go. It’s quick, simple, easy and you can take it with you if you move.
No – and you most likely never will. Fetch is, in many ways, a direct competitor to Foxtel and Foxtel Now, providing a pay TV set top box but using broadband internet to deliver channels. If you’re keen to try Foxtel Now, we’d recommend picking up either the Foxtel Now box or the Telstra TV 3.
No – as a Foxtel company, Kayo is unlikely to ever be made available as a Fetch TV app, a side effect of the competition between the two companies. For Kayo access on a TV, we’d recommend either the Apple TV 4 or the Telstra TV 3, both superb devices for Kayo and many other streaming services. If you’d rather not spend too much, though, Google’s Chromecast does the trick in conjunction with your smartphone.
No – it’s up to you to subscribe to the streaming services you want to use on the Fetch box – and of course, you can bring your existing subscriptions and start streaming Netflix, Prime Video, hayu, Stan and others on your new Fetch box.
Yes, absolutely – as long as you have the Fetch Mighty box. That powerful device lets you record multiple channels at the same time. The Fetch Mini doesn’t allow recording at all, but contains a small amount of memory so that you can pause live TV for up to around half an hour, or rewind and replay as needed. You can also browse and stream recordings from a Fetch Mighty on the same home network.
The Mighty is one of the most powerful video recorders on the market, able to record up to six channels at once while you watch a seventh. You’ll never miss a show again!
Fetch recommends that you avoid buying a second hand box, because the previous owner will likely have registered it to their account and ISP, and that can’t be changed. If the seller bought their box outright from a retailer, then you can use the box – but you’d want to be 100% sure or you’ll end up with an expensive paperweight!
Yes – if you purchase a Fetch Mini or Mighty outright at a retailer, you can use it with an broadband provider once you’ve got the box set up and activated. Of course, a broadband plan with unlimited data is almost mandatory, since Fetch’s channels all work via continuous broadband streaming.
Yes! Fetch has a free app for both iOS and Android that you can download and pair with your Fetch box. Then you’ll be able to stream TV from it – including your recordings – anywhere you are. You can also download purchased or rented shows and movies to your phone to watch later without using precious mobile data.
No – the rights to HBO in Australia are owned by Foxtel, so you’ll find HBO’s shows there as well as on their on-demand streaming service Binge. You can still purchase HBO shows from the Fetch TV store, though.
While it’s a case of “never say never,” Disney doesn’t seem to have any plans to bring their app to Fetch TV for the time being.
You can use Fetch’s Mighty and Mini without an internet connection to watch free-to-air broadcasts and recordings, but only for a few days. After that you’ll see a message that the box is locked, and you’ll need to connect it to the internet to keep using it.
Yes – all of Fetch’s premium channels are delivered via broadband internet streaming, so they use data for as long as you watch them. Of course, other apps such as Netflix also use data. We’d recommend a broadband plan with unlimited data if you’re going to use Fetch TV.
If you’re getting Fetch TV via an internet provider like iPrimus or Dodo, you don’t need to worry about data usage – it’s only available on unlimited-data plans. If you’re buying the Fetch box yourself, it’s best to use it on an unlimited plan to avoid excess charges, since all Fetch premium channels are delivered via streaming.
If you get your Fetch box from a provider like Dodo or iPrimus, the box is only able to be used with their network – it’s a part of your internet plan. If you’re likely to switch internet providers in the future, the best option is to buy the box outright – Fetch boxes bought at retail work with any provider.
To order a replacement remote, sign into your Fetch account on their web site, head to “Account Settings” then “Hardware Replacement” and select “Remote Control”.
To restart your Fetch box, go into Settings and head to Device Info, then Options, and choose Fetch TV Box Restart. If you’re unable to access menus, try turning off power to the box, waiting 30 seconds then powering it up again.
Turning subtitles off and on is easy – just press the Text button on your Fetch remote! It’s right above the Apps button.
If you’ve purchased a Fetch box second hand and found that it’s locked, unfortunately there is no way to unlock it – it’s likely owned by the ISP that originally provided it.
You need to make sure that the cable from your free-to-air antenna is plugged into the back of the Fetch box – then just scan for available channels during the initial setup of the box, and you’ll then find those channels in your Electronic Program Guide to watch and record.
Unlike Foxtel, Fetch TV doesn’t come with any default channels. However, most ISPs that provide Fetch also give you a choice of one channel pack at no extra cost (and often, 30 free movies a month as well). You can look at the various channel packs and what they include – as well as the speciality channels available – on the Fetch web site.
Yes you can – just plug a USB drive into the Fetch Mighty or Mini and play a wide range of different video, audio and even picture files. Or play your own media from anywhere on your home network.
While it’s an Australian company that’s operated for a decade now, Fetch TV is operated in partnership with Malaysian pay TV company Astro All Asia Networks.