If you’re not already one of the millions of Australians who’ve discovered and embraced the streaming revolution, there’s never been a better time to get into it. Over the past few years, streaming TV in Australia has grown massively, with companies big and small giving everyone a huge amount of choice and the ability to watch what they want, when they want, wherever they want. Streaming TV puts you in total control of what you watch – everything from can’t-miss drama like Game of Thrones to the week’s big AFL and NRL matches.
So much of the stuff we love to watch is on regular, scheduled TV channels – whether it’s sport, movies or TV shows. But thanks to the arrival of Kayo Sports and Foxtel Now on the streaming TV menu, you can catch your sports and shows whenever you like. But doesn’t that mean you need a smart TV? What if you’re perfectly happy with the TV you have right now and don’t feel like spending thousands just to be able to jump into streaming?
The good news is that you don’t need to spend big to put Kayo Sports or Foxtel Now on your big screen TV where they belong. Thanks to some clever and affordable devices – some of which you may even already have in your home – you can leave your TV where it belongs and bring the streaming to it without spending the big bucks.
Even if you currently don’t have any streaming friendly devices, there’s a solution that’ll work for your budget. Let’s look at some of the best ways to watch Kayo Sports and Foxtel Now, starting with the ultimate low-cost option!
If, like most people, you’ve got a laptop or desktop PC that’s got a HDMI video output socket built into it, then you might have the easiest and cheapest streaming solution right in front of you. All you’ll need is a suitable HDMI cable – make sure it’s long enough so you don’t have to bring the computer over to the TV – and a modern web browser like Google Chrome. From there, it’s as simple as loading up the Kayo or Foxtel Now web sites on the browser, starting playback on the sport, movie or TV stream you want, and going full screen. With this method, your computer is the “remote control” so it can be a little cumbersome, but you can’t beat it for price – quality HDMI cables start at around $10!
Telstra TV 3
This latest version of the hugely popular Telstra TV streaming box – designed and built by acclaimed US company Roku – is the most advanced one yet, with a whole heap of features to make all your streaming easier, including voice control via the smart remote control that’s included. Customised especially for Telstra Home Broadband customers, it’s best used with that service – and if you’re signing up for a broadband plan with them, in some cases they’ll give you the Telstra TV 3 for free, along with a bunch of Telstra Plus rewards points. Telstra TV includes built-in support for both Kayo Sports and Foxtel Now, and in the case of Kayo you can actually sign up directly on the Telstra TV, and have the monthly subscription conveniently added to your monthly Telstra bill. If you’re in the market for a new broadband plan, this is a great option to take since the device, normally $216, is effectively free!
Foxtel Now Box
This clever little device, which looks a little bit like a tiny space-age disc, makes for a particularly great experience if you’re streaming Foxtel Now, since that service is built right into its interface. Priced at a sensible $99, this little device packs a lot of power into its tiny black half-cone with the popular and versatile Android TV system at its heart. That means it runs all the apps you’d expect from an Android TV box – including the brand-new Kayo Sports app for that platform. And that’s not all – hidden inside the box is a built in Chromecast Ultra, letting you cast Kayo, Foxtel Now or thousands of other apps directly from your phone, tablet or computer to your big screen TV in full high definition quality. When it comes to options, this one’s got plenty of them, and an excellent remote control is included in the package.
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Though it’s one of the most expensive streaming devices in the market, it’s hard to beat the Apple TV for sheer power and versatility. Since it was redesigned by Apple a few years ago to support downloadable apps, the Apple TV has become the priority platform for many streaming services. Kayo Sports on the Apple TV provides the best user experience you can get for the service, with its effortless support for streaming four different sports at once and switching seamlessly between them. Whether you choose the 4th-generation Apple TV (around $209) or the latest 5th-gen Apple TV 4K (around $249) there’s enough power under the hood to make sure Kayo runs smoothly with a fast, fluid user interface. For Foxtel Now, an Apple TV app is still on the way – but in the meantime, you can cast Foxtel Now to your Apple TV using AirPlay from an iPhone or iPad using the Foxtel Go app that’s part of your subscription.
Google’s massively popular little Chromecast devices have sold in their millions, for good reason – they’re the easiest way to stream just about anything to your TV if you’ve got a smartphone, tablet or computer handy. It’s that versatility that makes them unbeatable for the incredibly low price – around $50 for the standard model and about $90 for the 4K-capable Ultra version. Kayo Sports streams to all Chromecasts, but for the best results you’ll want either the Ultra, or the latest 3rd-gen standard version. The reason is Kayo Sports’ high video frame rate – older Chromecasts need to switch to a slightly lower resolution (720p) in order to maintain a smooth picture. With Foxtel Now, you’re good to go with any Chromecast – just tap that “cast” icon in the app and stream away!
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They may be designed to play games, but the current generation of Playstation and Xbox game consoles are also rather good at streaming video too, with apps available for many of your favourite services. Foxtel Now has an app ready to install on your Playstation 4, while Kayo Sports has apps for PS4 and Xbox One just around the corner. Even if you have an Xbox One or an old PS3, you can still watch Foxtel Now on it with the legacy Foxtel Play app. So if you’ve already got a game console at home, that could be an easy no-extra-cost way of streaming to your TV that’s already plugged in and ready to go!
Aside from the popular devices mentioned above, there are plenty of other streaming devices that you’ll find on sale online and in stores – some better than others. There are many Android TV based streaming boxes around (such as the popular but expensive Nvidia Shield) and they’ll run the new Kayo Sports app for Android TV great – but make sure the box you buy is running Android TV, not the Android mobile/tablet version. For Foxtel Now, though, we’d recommend sticking to the Foxtel Now box if you’re looking for an Android TV device – it’s designed from the ground up for that service, and it’s both cheap and feature-packed.
Is It Worth It?
If you’re into the best of live sport from around the world, the latest in premium TV drama and movies and all the other goodness that comes from pay TV services, then streaming is the revolution you’ve been waiting for. Instead of having to install hardware at your home, you can just use a streaming device and get your live sport from Kayo Sports while you take your pick of TV, movies and more with Foxtel Now. And with both, there’s no downside. They’re cheap, there’s no long-term contract to tie you down, you can take them with you when you move – and you can easily try both of them free for up to two weeks to see if the streaming life is right for you.
In the end, you’ll save money and get more features (especially with Kayo’s brilliant interactive apps) and more flexibility. It’s very much a win-win situation, especially once you realise that you don’t need to put an expensive new “smart” TV on the credit card!
What people are asking about Foxtel Now
A way to watch Foxtel’s live channels and stream on demand without needing the installation of a satellite dish, Foxtel Now uses broadband internet streaming for its channels, and is watched via an app that’s available both for your TV and your mobile devices.
You can have up to five devices registered to use Foxtel Now at any one time, and you can stream on any two of those at the same time. You can remove and add devices to the list as often as you like.
Unlike some other streaming services, Foxtel Now’s mobile apps don’t allow downloading content for offline viewing. However, almost all shows seen on Foxtel Now’s channels can be streamed on demand at any time.
No – because Foxtel Now’s channel content is almost all available to stream on demand at any time after it’s aired, there is no need for a recording feature.
Foxtel Go is the app that all Foxtel customers use for viewing live channels and streaming on mobile phones and tablets – sign in with your Foxtel Now account and all your channels and content will be there for you. You can also use the new Foxtel apps on smart TVs or your web browser. Essentially, Foxtel Now is the service, and Foxtel Go is one way of accessing it.
There’s a total of 77 channels available on Foxtel Now, sorted into six channel packs. “Essentials” (the entry level pack) contains drama, comedy and lifestyle channels, with Drama, Movies and Sports available as add-ons. Kids and Docos packs are added when you subscribe to the All Packs bundle.
All subscribers to Foxtel Now get the base starter channel pack, called Essentials, by default. This pack contains several premium drama channels, comedy and lifestyle channels, and a range of general channels covering music, news and shopping.
While you can watch your Foxtel Now channels anywhere in Australia – making it the ideal TV service for frequent travellers – because of rights restrictions it can’t be used while you’re overseas. If you’re travelling outside Australia for an extended period, you can pause your subscription.
At the moment, Foxtel Now is only available in high definition for both linear channels and on-demand streaming. While 4K streaming isn’t available at the moment, Foxtel has suggested it might be a feature seen in the future.
All Foxtel Now subscribers start with the base Essentials channel pack, which costs $25 per month and provides a range of drama, documentary, lifestyle and news channels. On top of that, extra packs can be added including premium drama ($10), movies ($20), Sports ($29) and more.