No matter whether you prefer sport, movies, comedy, reality or drama on your TV, you’ve almost certainly found yourself streaming some on-demand shows at some point. Netflix alone has millions of Australian subscribers, Stan has over a million, and Amazon Prime Video is gathering new viewers faster than a roll of sticky tape. Sports fans even get an entire streaming service to themselves with the hugely popular Kayo. But there’s one thing those services have in common – they’re subscription-based. You have to pay every month to keep using them.
Sure, there are the free to air catch up apps accessible at no cost, but they’re only showing what you’ve already seen on TV the night before. And anyway, you’d need some way of viewing them – and other free services like YouTube – on your TV. Which means handing over some cash for a streaming device like Apple TV… even something simple like the Google Chromecast still has a price tag attached to it. In an ideal world, you think, TV is always free, and so are the devices you need to watch it. But that’s just wishful thinking, right?
Fibo TV Streaming Review
If you just nodded in agreement, prepare to be proven wrong. Because Fibo TV – a new streaming platform company based right here in Australia – wants to give you an advanced set top box so you can stream stuff on your big screen TV. For free. Yes, even the box is free.
So, what’s the catch? As you probably guessed, it’s advertising. Except here, in return for viewing some ads you’re getting a rather advanced streaming device, which still sounds like a bit of a bargain to us.
How Does It Work?
Fibo pays for the streaming boxes they’re giving away by the same thing that’s driven most freebies in the digital age – advertising. They promise that the ads you’ll find on the Fibo box will be relevant – specifically, there’s an ad played every time you power the box up, and various static banner ads as you navigate the interface. They specifically state that your actual streaming will never be interrupted by their ads (though obviously, the free-to-air apps will be inserting their own ads into what you watch).
What Do You Need?
At the moment, it seems the thing you’ll need most is patience. Fibo is based in South Australia, and is rolling out there before expanding across the rest of Australia. Part of this may be to do with the fact that they don’t just send you the box – they send a tech around to your place to set it all up. So while you can register to get a Fibo box now, unless you’re living in the Mount Barker, Gawler or Barossa regions of greater Adelaide, you’ll have a bit of a wait on your hands.
To use Fibo TV you’ll need a broadband connection with wi-fi (the box has no Ethernet port, apparently) and a smartphone. The latter is important because the Fibo box has no remote control – you need to use Fibo’s app to navigate your way around the interface, run apps and start streaming.
What Do You Get?
Once your sign-up has been approved and Fibo’s launched in your area, you’ll be sent a set top box free of charge. And this isn’t some rubbish, five-dollar relic that can barely run an app without falling over in a heap. Fibo has chosen the Android TV platform for their device and while we can’t confirm the manufacturer of the actual box, you can feel pretty safe in the knowledge that Android TV is an extremely powerful and versatile TV platform. Sony uses it on all their high-end TVs these days, it powers the Foxtel Now box, and it’s also used by one of the most admired high-end streaming boxes in the business, Nvidia’s Shield TV.
What we don’t know is how “locked down” the Fibo version of Android TV is. There’s a defined list of available apps the company publishes, but when it comes to games (which Android TV boxes can handle as well) they state you can install whatever you choose.
Fibo’s box does include a free to air TV tuner, so you can use it as your go-to device for general TV viewing as well as streaming.
What Services Are Included?
Aside from the free-to-air digital TV channels broadcast in your area, Fibo TV has on demand apps for all five networks ready to go. On top of that, though, you’ve got a decent collection of other apps, more than a few of which require a separate subscription to use. According to the latest information from Fibo, you’ll be able to use the following:
Netflix, YouTube, Google Play, 10 All Access, Tubi TV, Haystack TV, ESPN, TED, Fox News, Washington Post Video, Bloomberg TV, Red Bull TV, Arte, CBS Sports, Dailymotion, Huffpost, TiviApp Live IPTV.
Now, we’re noticing some glaring omissions there – like Stan and YouTube – but if the box permits access to the Google Play store you should be able to add them.
But then, there’s little to complain about when the box is completely free.
Contacting Fibo TV
If you’ve got any questions about the sign-up process, the Fibo streaming box or the service itself, you can give them a call on 1800 FIBO TV (that’s 1800 342 688) and choose option 3 at the prompt.