Foxtel have officially launched the long-awaited iQ5 streaming box.
If you are an existing Foxtel subscriber, we take a detailed look at what this means for you.
Existing Foxtel Cable Subscriber
If you are currently a Foxtel subscriber that uses the underground or aerial cable network in your area to receive your Foxtel signal, this is going to be a mandatory upgrade for you.
Foxtel have foreshadowed that their services will be kicked off the Cable network in July 2023, so you have around 18 months to switch over to the new iQ5 box. This is why Foxtel have announced only certain customers are currently eligible for the ‘iQ5 pre-release’, prioritising the following subscribers:
- Existing cable customers who will need to migrate off their cable service by July 2023
- Existing cable customers who want to upgrade their box but cannot have a satellite dish installed
- New customers who haven’t been able to access a Foxtel service as they couldn’t have cable or satellite installed at their house
Your choice will be to receive the signal to the iQ5 box by either satellite or internet (ethernet cable or WiFi).
Whilst you should be OK to get the service over the internet, our recommendation is to pay the small additional fee (~$100) and get the satellite dish installed. This will give you flexibility to get the signal by either internet or satellite, and will mean you can still watch your favourite channels, even when there is an nbn outage in your area or the other members of your household are clogging up the internet connection.
Note that Foxtel have already flagged that to get live free-to-air TV channels, you will need an aerial installed and connected via the antenna input located on the back of the iQ5 box.
Given there are an estimated up to 500,000 subscribers using Foxtel Cable, this will be a huge task and expect there to be a rush on upgrades towards the start of 2023.
In the context of a block of apartments or multi-dwelling units (MDUs), it would be best to start planning earlier rather than later. Many Foxtel subscribers still do not have an internet connection and so expecting all Foxtel subscribers in the building to swap over to iQ5 (without a satellite signal source) may not be a viable option.
Existing Foxtel Satellite Subscriber
Existing Foxtel subscribers that receive their service over satellite will remain largely unaffected. You will have the option to upgrade to the iQ5 box (not immediately), but otherwise you can keep your satellite dish and infrastructure installed as is.
The big advantage to an upgrade to iQ5 for you will be access to ‘iQ software enhancements’ and streaming apps (although you probably have access to these already if you have an Apple TV or any smart TV). You should already have access to Foxtel’s 4K channels, so there is nothing new announced on that front as yet.
Again, you will need a TV antenna installed and connected to the back of the iQ5 box to receive the full array of digital free-to-air channels available (and not just the subset sent to your satellite dish). A free-to-air technician will be able to assist you with this setup.
The upgrade option will be available to you ‘later this year’. Given the teething problems experienced with the release of the iQ3 and iQ4 boxes (check out Product Review for some scathing reviews), our recommendation would be to wait for those teething problems to be sorted through. You have little to gain by getting an early upgrade.
New Foxtel Subscriber
If you are considering subscribing to Foxtel as a new customer, the iQ5 box definitely provides an easier installation option for you compared to previous versions (which have required a technician to conduct the installation on the most part).
However, there are other options available. Even other options provided by Foxtel. According to the new Foxtel price guide, the basic Foxtel Plus Bundle is $49 per month, plus equipment fees ($199 for the iQ5 with the Hard Drive), plus connection fee, and a fee if you don’t return the iQ5 box (ie you don’t own the box).
With most smart TVs these days allowing you to download an array of apps or by purchasing an Apple TV, you could subscribe to Foxtel’s own Binge and Kayo for $35 per month combined. This would also eliminate another pet hate of Foxtel subscribers, no advertisements!
It remains to be seen as to whether the new iQ5 streaming option will actually provide any significant advantage over the other long list of streaming only options available in the market today (eg Netflix, Stan, Stan Sport, Binge, Kayo, Amazon Prime, etc).
Free-To-Air TV Channels on Foxtel
As we have referenced numerous times, the iQ5 box will still require a free-to-air technician to install a new TV antenna or connect your existing TV antenna to the iQ5 box. This is the case if you want to receive all live free-to-air channels.
Whilst Foxtel Cable and Foxtel Satellite receive a subset of free-to-air channels (not via a TV antenna), to get all live channels, an antenna is required.
And to get any live channels using streaming only on an iQ5, you will need a TV antenna.
If you require any assistance with TV antenna installation, call the experts on 02 9549 0082. One of our friendly call centre staff can organise a free onsite quote to look into your individual needs.