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Review Summary

Overall - 80%
Functionality - 60%
Ease of Use - 70%
Value for Money - 90%
User Rating: 1.88 ( 59 votes)

Australia’s biggest cable TV company offers a versatile online alternative in Foxtel Play.

Not everyone who wants to get access to Foxtel can do so easily – if you’re living in an apartment building with no Foxtel cable or satellite access, for example, you’d be out of luck. Fortunately, Foxtel’s got a solution in the form of Foxtel Play – a service which lets you subscribe to Foxtel channel packages and watch them streamed live online (even on your TV, with a compatible device). There’s no waiting around for an install, either – sign-up is instant and there’s no lock-in contract to tie you down. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Foxtel Play upgraded to Foxtel Now in June 2017. However, Foxtel Play is still available on a variety of devices like selected smart TVs and game consoles, at least until Foxtel Now arrives on those gadgets as well. Let’s have a look at the juicy details about this extremely handy service.

Want to watch instantly & be able to cancel anytime?

Foxtel Now Internet TV is the answer. Check out the free trial.

 

Setup, Cost and Features

You don’t need to pay any setup or installation fee to get Foxtel Play because it’s an entirely different service to the traditional Foxtel cable TV subscription. You just need to sign up for an account on the Foxtel Play website, enter your credit card details and choose the package that suits you. You pay for the service on a monthly basis. However, you can change your subscription at any time for the next month’s billing cycle. You can cancel subscription to the service without incurring any penalty – that nasty thing known as apro-rata termination of service fee. And best of all, Foxtel Now offers a two-week free trial which includes all the packages, so you can try it out for yourself and decide which ones you want to keep.

You can get one of the five Genre packages on Foxtel Play for the minimum cost of $10/month. The five genres are Drama, Pop, Docos, Lifestyle and Kids. You can then add extra genre packages on your plan for between $10 and $15 each, with a combo pack of Drama and Pop available for $25 (you can try the packs out completely free, too – whether your taste is for exclusive premium drama, the latest lifestyle shows from around the world or high quality entertainment for the kids, there’s a two week free trial waiting for you!) This brings the total monthly cost to between $10 and $55. In addition, you can get one or both of the Premium Picks, which are Movies for $20 or Sports for $29, with the three new English Premier League channels available for $5 each, or for 1c each with the Sports package. Just remember that any of these premium picks can’t be had without getting at least one Genre pick. 17 base entertainment channels are included with any package.

No Lock-in

Channel packs can be added and removed without penalty whenever you like, with any changes applied as soon as the following month begins. And if you’re done with watching the shows or sports you wanted to see and want to take a break from Foxtel Play altogether, you can do that as well – just log in to My Foxtel Play and pause your subscription until you need it again. There’s no charge to do so, and no ongoing cost. And all your channels will be there ready to go when you want to start your subscription again.

Real Value

Foxtel Play offers good value to its customers if they know what they want to watch, and have enough time to watch every month. Foxtel Play is complemented by the Foxtel Go app for mobile devices, which allows you to stream all of your subscribed channels on your mobile phone or tablet. The current version of Go is compatible with iPhones, iPods touch, iPads, and a growing range of models of Android phones and tablets. It’s also available via modern PC or Mac web browsers.

Right now, it’s still not possible for subscribers to pick individual channels within the Genre packages at a lower price, but we’re hopeful this option becomes available soon. If you want to use Foxtel Play, you just need to sign up for the package that you want, and then install the Foxtel Play app on your Mac or PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 or 4, recent-model LG, Sony and Samsung smart TVs, or Samsung Blu-ray players. The new Play app supersedes the Foxtel on Xbox services and Foxtel on Internet TV. Subscribers of these services will still have access to Play with only minor changes.

Using the Play app on all types of devices is very simple. You just need to log in once and all your account details are saved. This includes your preferences like a parental control PIN. You can actually choose from a wide range of settings which you can change, but most of them aren’t really necessary if you just want to watch your favourite shows on TV. See how to use Foxtel Play on a variety of Devices.

As for content, there are plenty of great shows and movies available. In Spring 2017, for instance, you can stream A Place to Call Home Season 5, Arrow Season 6, Supergirl Season 3, The Walking Dead Season 8, and more.

Foxtel Now
Watch your favourite shows online, anytime, with Foxtel Play. Photo: Foxtel

Foxtel Play Screens

The main screen shows the most popular and newest content available to Foxtel Play subscribers. However, the items that they show are a general overview, and not all of them may be available to you depending on which packages you have selected. This means that you might choose a program from the items on the list only to find that you don’t have access to it. This isn’t really an issue, because you can easily watch whatever you want from the service as long as you are willing to pay to add the appropriate channel package to your account.

The Foxtel Play home screen displays two main panels: the Live TV screen, and Catch-Up. The Live TV part shows all the channels available on Play. The channels that aren’t included in your subscription are greyed out in the list. Foxtel offers a wide variety of content to its subscribers and most of them will watch content mainly from this list. Then there’s a section of the window which contains a half-screen guide, with an inset video stream of the channel you have selected. You can use this to view a more detailed now-next-later guide. However, doing so makes the inset video smaller. You can also choose the full screen option for the guide if you want to have a good view.

Foxtel Play Catch Up TV

Catch-Up is the other main panel in the home screen. It prominently displays the featured content. You can apply a number of filters on this section like searching alphabetically or by the channels you subscribe to restricting your selection to movies or TV shows. After applying the filters you like, you can then sort them according to the most popular or the newest videos.

Foxtel Play Live Streaming

It’s a pleasure to watch video-on-demand and live video streams on Foxtel Play. You just have to choose a new channel in Live TV and it buffers for a few seconds. The video flows smoothly on an average ADSL2+ connection, or through Telstra’s 4G network. We were able to watch the ‘Best’ video quality stream on both connections. The video quality is very high which runs close to near-DVD quality. The images are almost the same as free-to-air digital TV, although not yet to the same level as Foxtel’s cable HD channels. You may also opt to use the ‘Low’ bandwidth in the app’s settings to watch the most basic and bandwidth-friendly stream if you have worries about data caps. The device you use to watch videos has an effect on the quality of the stream as well – mobile devices on Foxtel Go can only stream videos at a lower bit-rate unlike with a PC or Mac on Play.

Not to be overlooked is the fact that you can share the subscription with your girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife, or any family member because you can use a single Foxtel Play subscription on two devices at the same time and also have the app registered to run on three devices. The same thing goes for a Foxtel Go subscription – it can be registered on three devices and used on two simultaneously. If you’re a couple, both with PCs (or Macs) and iPhones, you only need to have one Foxtel Play subscription.

Stream Sports Online

In addition to quality movies and other entertainment, Foxtel Play offers comprehensive access to your favourite sporting events on Fox Sports, ESPN, beIN and other channels. This year the fixtures available for streaming include each and every AFL match before the Grand Final, the entire NRL season before the Grand Final, world-class tennis, PGA golf, featured NFL and NBA games live online from the US each week, the world Rugby Sevens series, Socceroos World Cup qualifiers, Champions League, La Liga, every A-League match, international and domestic Cricket, World Surfing championships, every V8 Supercars contest, all F1 Grand Prix racing fixtures and much more! You can try out the full package of sports action completely free for two weeks thanks to Foxtel Play’s obligation-free trial offer.

Conclusion

The concept of Foxtel Play is really cool, making it one of the most appealing Pay TV offers on the market. It makes the shows that we like more accessible and takes away the need for a cable subscription which comes with a long contract. This can also put a stop to the illegal downloading of TV or movies because they’re now more accessible. However, getting the full Foxtel Play experience can really be very expensive. If you could share the bill with a partner or family member, and use Play and Go to their full extent, then it might still be a good idea to get the full package. It’s hard to find a flaw with Foxtel Play even when just paying for a couple of packages, like a daily dose of Nat Geo documentaries, live sports and the odd blockbuster. Without the hassle of a physical Foxtel installation, you have instant and easy access to the wide world of Foxtel without any lock-in contract to tie you down. Just choose one of the Foxtel Play free trial Offers.
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5 Comments

  1. CompareTV August 18, 2015 at 1:17 pm - Reply

    Hi Gabe,

    Sorry to hear that!
    Foxtel Play is a purely online self-service subscription, so you do need to deactivate the service yourself from their website.
    To deactivate your Foxtel Play service:

    – Go to http://www.foxtel.com.au/foxtelplay then login with your username and password then click on “Manage your package”

    – Click the “Deactivate” button located on the right hand side under the “My Selection” box

    – You will be transferred to the “Deactivate Service” page. Fill in the form and click on the orange “Deactivate” button.

  2. Sam April 25, 2016 at 7:14 pm - Reply

    I hate how shows run in the background when I’m browsing. It’s very distracting and chews up my internet on things I am not interested in. I want the ability to shut off shows running in the background whilst I peacefully browse or for it to not even be a thing in the first place like Netflix, AnimeLab or many other good streaming services.

    The main thing going for the service is the content however if Foxtel doesn’t work on it’s delicery of said content you’re better off looking for alternative methods of getting your content.

  3. Adam September 25, 2016 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    I won’t even think of subscribing until it comes in HD. It’s hard to fathom that any business can even contemplate giving their customers anything less than HD these days, if Netflix can provide this for $11 a month why can’t Foxtel?
    We’re living in the dark ages in this country, get your act together and provide us with us with a decent streaming product.

    • Michael November 2, 2016 at 12:19 pm - Reply

      Agree totally!
      Absolute rubbish if not in HD

      • Anthony Horan November 3, 2016 at 10:41 am - Reply

        Foxtel has said that HD is coming to to Foxtel Play in early 2017, so the wait is almost over!

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