Fetch TV Review: Guide to the Free to Air, Pay and Catch Up TV Service


Summary

Our Verdict

Fetch TV


Though costs can add up if you want everything, Fetch TV is a great pay TV alternative, with excellent devices you can't get anywhere else.

 
Overall 88%
Content
Usability
Value

Review was updated on 14 September, 2020

Fetch TV combines Free to Air & Subscription TV channels, Catch Up TV, PVR, and a Movie & TV rental service. The question is… does it do a good job in all these areas?

The Facts

  • Free trial offer: N/A
  • Pricing options: Premium Channels are $6/month per pack
  • Top streaming apps like Netflix and Stan can be used on a Fetch TV box
  • Streaming devices: Mini & Mighty set-top boxes
  • Support: Phone, Web Form, Email

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?

Fetch TV boasts a plethora of functions. It is primarily a PVR and a catch-up TV service, which also offers four digital tuners, and a movie purchase and rental service.

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.

What makes Fetch TV different?

Fetch TV boasts a plethora of functions. It is primarily a PVR and a catch-up TV service, which also offers four digital tuners (for recording six channels simultaneously while watching a seventh), and a movie purchase and rental service.

The Fetch box requires an internet connection to function, as it obtains 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 box 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.

Add-on packages can boost the number of available channels, and there is a free companion app, enabling you to watch selected entertainment channels, movies, and Free to Air recordings on your phone or tablet.

What are Fetch TV’s Best Features?

  • Time Shift — Watch your favourite shows when it suits you, with pause, rewind, record and catch-up TV (not available on the Mini)
  • Stream On the Go — Enjoy entertainment on the go with the Fetch TV app. Set recordings, watch movies and TV shows plus download purchased movies and TV shows to watch when you’re not connected to data
  • Access to Latest Releases — Buy or rent the latest releases, plus access 30 free pre-selected rental movies each month
  • Access to Premium TV — Choose to add premium channels with something for everyone. Or buy the latest shows like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead in the TV Store

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What content does Fetch TV deliver?

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 SuitsBrooklyn Nine NineBallers, OutlanderVeepThe Walking DeadThe 100, and more.

Fetch TV receives all digital Free to Air (FTA) channels, in both SD and HD. In addition to all of the FTA channels, Fetch offers a unique broadband-delivered subscription TV service, with 50 extra channels. The FTA and Subscription channels are accessed through a single combined TV Guide, and PVR recording and playback functionality works identically regardless of whether the content is FTA or subscription-based.

As for paid channels, for only $6 a month Fetch TV will deliver premium channels tailored to your interests. These are built into four packages: Kids, Knowledge, Vibe, and Variety. You can also get them all for $20/month. For special interests, Fetch TV offers channels like beIN Sports, Eurosport, UFC (pay per view), and Horse & Country for a monthly fee. Customers who sign up for Fetch TV through Optus can also add on Optus Sports for access to Premier League games. Plus, Fetch TV has World TV packs available for $9.95 – $19.95/month.

Fetch TV Channel Packs

Pack/channel/bundleNumber of ChannelsHighlights
Kids7Boomerang
Nickelodeon
Cartoon Network
Knowledge20National Geographic
BBC Earth
Discovery Channel
Vibe11MTV
ESPN
Comedy Central
Variety9BBC First
BBC UKTV
Universal Channel
Ultimate47Nickelodeon
Discovery Channel
ESPN
BBC First

In addition to the TV and Movie offerings, Fetch TV offers catch-up services from all the major networks. This means you don’t need to worry about recording a lot of content on ABC, SBS, Seven or Ten, as much of their popular broadcast content is available on catch-up for about two weeks after broadcast. (For longer-term viewing and especially for HD picture quality, though, you’ll need 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 the addition of 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 about sport/movies/TV shows?

While Fetch TV doesn’t have a dedicated sport service (aside from the Optus Sport service which is delivered via the Fetch TV platform but only available to Optus customers) you’ll find both ESPN channels in the “Vibe” pack which will give you a solid 24/7 dose of international sport.

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 – from Free to Air TV to subscription streaming services, from TV catch-up to original internet content, and 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!

Alternatives to Fetch

Streaming TV & Movies Plans

Plan
Inclusions
Price
Basic
  • New customers: 14 day free trial
  • Basic
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • Watch on 2 devices concurrently
  • Watch Live NRL, AFL, Super Rugby + more
  • $25/mth
$25/mth
$25/month after 14 days free trial; no lock-in contracts.

Basic
  • New customers: 14 day free trial
  • Basic
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • Stream in SD on a single device
  • 10,000+ hrs of the best shows
  • $10/mth
$10/mth
Min Cost - $10/month after 14 days free trial

Essentials pack
  • Essentials pack
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • 25+ channels: Lifestyle, Drama, Comedy, Entertainment & more
  • 20+ channels of premium drama, kids, & documentaries
  • $25/mth
$25/mth
Min Cost - $25 over 1 month

Pay Per View
  • No Subscription Fee
  • Pay Per View
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • Latest releases from the cinema
  • Huge library of movies & tv shows
  • $/ days
$/ days
You can only purchase TV shows, not rent them.
Min Cost - Depending on title

Monthly Subscription
  • 30-day free trial
  • Monthly Subscription
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • New docos added weekly
  • Watch on your TV with Chromecast and AirPlay
  • $6.95/mth
$6.95/mth
$6.95/month after 30 days free trial

Last audited 09 September 2020

User Experience

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 a 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.

How to access Fetch TV

Fetch TV can be rented from several ISPs, or can be purchased as a retail product from a number of electrical retailers. Bundled inclusions and subscription offerings vary depending on where your set-top 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.

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.

Fetch TV is able to handle the billing itself if you’ve already bought the retail box; they charge a $1 one-off activation fee to ensure that your box will function as a PVR, catch-up service, and digital receiver.

Fetch TV also offers a free smartphone / tablet app (available on iOS or Android), which allows you to program your DVR remotely, and even watch some Fetch TV connect on your mobile device.

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Fetch TV Pros and Cons

The Good

  • Offers catch-up services for free-to-air channels, plus native streaming apps like Netflix, Stan, hayu
  • Can be customised based on channel packs
  • Fech’s TV Store also offers the latest TV and movie releases
  • Can be easily bundled with a number of broadband providers

The Gotchas

  • Rather inconsistent pricing if you’re getting Fetch through an ISP

How to Bundle Your Broadband + Streaming TV

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.

As it uses your internet connection to run its subscription channels, you’ll need decent broadband speed in order for it to be reliable, and a hefty data plan to cater for all those movies you’ll be watching. (Some ISPs who offer Fetch TV don’t meter Fetch TV data or have “unlimited” broadband packages; check with your ISP). 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 explained in 60 seconds

What People Ask about Fetch TV

  • Do I Need a Technician to Install 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.


  • Can I Get Foxtel Now on Fetch TV?

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.


  • Can I Get Kayo on Fetch TV?

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.


  • Are Any Streaming Subscriptions Included?

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.


  • Can I Record on Fetch TV?

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.


  • How Many Channels Can the Fetch Mighty Record at Once?

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!


  • Can I Use a Second Hand Fetch TV Box?

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!


  • Can I Use Fetch TV With Telstra?

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.


  • Can I Watch Fetch TV on My Phone?

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.


  • Can You Get HBO on Fetch TV?

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.


  • Is Disney Plus Coming to Fetch TV?

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.


  • Can You Use Fetch TV Without Internet?

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.


  • Does Fetch TV Use Internet Data?

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.


  • How Much Data Does Fetch TV Use?

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.


  • Can I Use the Fetch TV Box with Another Internet Provider?

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.


  • How Do I Get a Replacement Fetch Remote?

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”.


  • How Do You Add Apps to Fetch TV?

Unlike more conventional streaming boxes, you can’t add extra apps to your Fetch TV box – the apps are chosen and developed by Fetch and all are installed by default.


  • How Do You Reset the Fetch TV Box?

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.


  • How Do You Turn Off Subtitles on Fetch TV?

Turning subtitles off and on is easy – just press the Text button on your Fetch remote! It’s right above the Apps button.


  • How Do You Unlock a Fetch TV Box?

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.


  • How Do You Watch Free to Air TV on Fetch?

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.


  • What Channels Come with Fetch TV?

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.


  • Can I Play my Own Videos?

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.


  • Who Owns Fetch TV Australia?

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.


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