If you're comparing broadband bundles from Telstra and Optus, one of the choices you'll coime across is whether you'd prefer a Foxtel subscription or Fetch TV. Telstra includes Foxtel on select plans, while Optus gives you access to a choice of Fetch TV devices.
Both Foxtel and Fetch TV are traditional pay TV services at heart - and even share some of the same channels - but they're quite different in terms of content, pricing, and delivery.
Foxtel vs. Fetch TV: The big differences
The biggest difference between Foxtel and Fetch TV is how the services are delivered.
Foxtel, for the most part, is a traditional pay TV service that you connect to via cable. Unless you're wanting to watch On Demand content, this means Foxtel doesn't require internet and won't use your data allowance.
Since Foxtel needs a physical connection to the cable network, it may require paid professional installation. If you're renting, this means you'll need permission from your landlord. If you live in an apartment, you'll need permission from your Body Corporate. If you're renting an apartment, you'll need permission from both.
If installation is an issue or you're in an area that can get Foxtel, you can sign up to Foxtel Now. Foxtel Now is a streaming service similar to Netflix. Since it's delivered over the internet, you'll need a reasonably fast, reliable connection and a decent download allowance.
Foxtel Now requires a minimum internet speed of 3Mbps for standard definition video and 7Mbps for high definition video. You'll use 1.4GB per hour when streaming in SD, and 3.2GB per hour in HD. Read more about broadband data usage here.
Fetch TV is an internet television service, and requires a constant internet connection. If you're getting your Fetch TV service as part of a broadband plan, there's a good chance it will be data-free. Otherwise, expect to use around 1GB of data per hour for standard definition, and as much as 3GB of data per hour for HD streaming.
Third party apps installed on your Fetch TV set-top box - such as Netflix, Stan, and any catch-up TV apps - will use data as normal.
Since Fetch TV uses your internet connection rather than a separate network, installation is as simple as setting up the Fetch TV set-top box and connecting it to your home network. It doesn't require professional installation.
Both Foxtel and Fetch TV require a set-top box, which is included as part of your subscription. Foxtel iQ3 and Fetch TV Mighty are able to record TV, and pause and rewind live TV. While Foxtel's iQ3 set-top box is all about Foxtel, Fetch TV's set-top box can also access Netflix, Stan, and a number of Australian catch-up apps. Fetch TV Mini - Fetch TV's cheaper set-top box - can pause and rewind live TV, but doesn't record.
Foxtel Now doesn't require a dedicated set-top box, and can be watched in a web browser on your PC or Mac, or through an app on your phone. If you want to watch it on your TV, you'll need a Foxtel Now Box, Telstra TV, Chromecast, or a PlayStation 4.
Foxtel vs. Fetch TV: Content
In general, there's definitely more to watch on Foxtel than on Fetch, but what you can actually watch will depend on what packs you subscribe to. There are a number of channels that are available on both Foxtel and Fetch TV, but in general, there's more premium drama and sports content available on Foxtel.
A standard Foxtel subscription only has access to the "Entertainment Pack", everything else is an add on. Here are the channels you can get with each package.
- Entertainment: Fox8, BBC UKTV, Arena, MTV, Universal Channel, TV Hits, 111 Funny, Fox Classics, Lifestyle, Discovery Channel, National Geographic, Disney Junior, Nick Junior, Boomerang, MTV Music, MTV Dance, V, Max, Smooth Arts, CMC, Foxtel Tunes, Fox Sports News, Eurosport News, Sky Racing 1, Sky Thoroughbred Central, Sky News Live, Sky News Weather, Sky News Business, Fox News, BBC World News, CNN, CGTN, CGTN Documentary, NHK World, Aurora, Bloomberg Television, CNBC, APAC, Aljazeera, RT, Expo Channel, TVSN, ACCTV, Daystar, SBN, Hillsong Channel, TRT World
- Sport: Fox Fooy, Fox Sports 501, Fox Sports 503, Fox Sports 505, Fox Sports 506, Fox League, beIN Sports 1, beIN Sports 2, beIN Sports 3, ESPN, ESPN 2, Eurosport
- Movies: Premiere Movies, Action Movies, Comedy Movies, Masterpiece Movies, Family Movies, Disney Movies, Romance Movies, Thriller Movies, More Movies
- Drama: Showcase, BBC First, 13th Street, FX, Binge, BoxSets
- Entertainment Plus: The Comedy Channel, SyFy, Style, TLC, A&E, E, Lifestyle Home, Lifestyle Food
- Docos: Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo People, History, Discovery Turbo, Discovery Science, Animal Planet, Crime Investigation, BBC Knowledge
- Kids: Cartoon Network, The Disney Channel, CBeebies, Nickelodeon, Discovery Kids, Disney XD
Out of the box, Fetch TV is a fairly basic experience. The only included content is access to 30 free movies that rotate on a monthly basis. If you want extra channels, you'll need to subscribe to a Premium channel pack. If you get Fetch TV through your telco, you'll get access to one Premium channel pack to start with.
The Fetch TV Premium channel packs are as follows:
- Kids: The Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Nickelodeon, Nick Junior, Cartoon Network, Disney XD, Cbeebies, Zoo Moo, Baby TV
- Knowledge: National Geographic, Nat Geo People, Nat Geo Wild, BBC Knowledge, HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel, BBC World News, CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, France 24, Aljazeera, EuroNews, Channel NewsAsia, NDTV 24x7, CGTN
- Vibe: E!, Style, Fashion TV, Comedy Central, Spike, Egg Network, MTV, MTV Dance, MTV Music, ESPN, ESPN 2, Edge
- Variety: Universal Channel, 13th Street, SyFy, BBC First, BBC UKTV, TV Hits, 111 Funny, MTV Classic, Music TV
beIN Sports and a number of foreign language packs are available as extra add-ons.
Foxtel vs. Fetch TV: Pricing
How much you pay for Foxtel and Fetch TV can vary drastically on what kind of subscription you're after, what channels you want to watch, and in the case of Fetch, who you're buying it through.
A basic Foxtel service starts at $26 per month for the Standard Entertainment package. Extra add-ons are are priced as follows:
- Sport: $29 per month
- Kids: $10 per month
- Docos: $10 per month
- Drama: $20 per month
- Movies: $20 per month
- Entertainment Plus: $10 per month
If you want to watch Foxtel in high definition, you'll need to pay an extra $10 per month. You'll typically need to sign a six-month contract when you subscribe to Foxtel, but the company will occasionally waive this requirement during promotions.
Foxtel Now can costs as little as $10 per month. With the exception of Movies and Sports, each channel pack can be purchased stand alone. You don't need to pay any extra for High Definition on Foxtel Now.
- Pop: $15 per month
- Drama: $15 per month
- Lifestyle: $10 per month
- Docos: $10 per month
- Kids: $10 per month
- Movies: $20 per month
- Sport: $20 per month
Bundling Pop and Drama together will get you a $5 per month discount.
Fetch TV pricing will depend on who you purchase a subscription through. You can choose to either buy a Fetch TV box outright and pay a monthly subscription fee, or alternatively, your broadband provider may be able to bundle it in as part of your service.
Fetch TV: A Fetch TV Mighty box is $399 outright, and you'll pay a $1 activation fee. A Fetch TV Mini is $169, with a $1 activation. Premium channel packs are billed at $6 per month, or alternatively, you can take all four for $20 per month.
Optus: Fetch TV is standard inclusion on Optus' $80 broadband bundle. This includes the Fetch TV Mighty and one Premium channel pack. Extra channel packs can be added for $6 per month, or you can grab all of them for $14 per month.
iiNet: You can add Fetch TV to your iiNet broadband plan for $10 per month. This includes the Fetch TV Mini and one Premium channel pack. Extra packs can be added for another $5 each, or alternatively, you can pay $25 per month for the set-top box and all four channel packs.
Dodo: You can add Fetch TV to a Dodo internet plan for $15 per month. This includes the Fetch TV Mini and one Premium channel pack. Extra channel packs can be added for $6 per month, or you can get them all for $20 per month. You can upgrade to Fetch TV Mighty for $5 per month.
iPrimus: Fetch TV is included as a standard feature in iPrimus' $80 Entertainment Bundle. This includes a Fetch TV Mini and one Premium channel pack. Extra channel packs can be added for $6 per month, or you can grab all of them for $20 per month. You can upgrade to Fetch TV Mighty for another $10 per month.
Internode: You can add Fetch TV to your Internode broadband plan for $10 per month. This includes the Fetch TV Mini and one Premium channel pack. Extra packs can be added for another $6 each, or alternatively, you can pay $25 per month for the set-top box and all four channel packs.
If you get Fetch TV as an outright product, Premium channel packs can be taken up on a no contract basis. If you get Fetch TV as a part of your internet, the service will probably be linked to your broadband contract. Any additional Premium channel packs can be added or removed month to month. If you're getting Fetch TV as an add-on from your provider, you should be able to get it with no lock-in contract.