The Foxtel Now box. 

Foxtel today unveiled a streaming device for its low-cost, internet-delivered service Foxtel Now, which will also provide access to the free-to-air channels and their catch-up platforms as well as Stan and Google apps.

The Foxtel Now box will cost $99 and will go on sale, initially via Foxtel’s website, on Friday, and the marketing campaign will start on Sunday.

Foxtel CEO Peter Tonagh told IF he hopes at least one major retailer will start selling the device before Christmas.

Tonagh said he is in discussions with Netflix to make its service available but that will hinge on whether the US streaming giant is prepared to market its app via Google Play Store. “The only barrier to carrying Netflix is Netflix,” he said.

At the trade launch in Sydney today the company spruiked the box’s broad functionality including a continue watching feature, previews, new this week, movies, dramas and full season boxed sets.

Tonagh said there has been an “incredible” response since Foxtel Now launched in June, offering five entry level packs including Drama and Pop for $15 per month or $25 for both. Lifestyle, Docos and Kids each cost $10 per month.  Movies are available for $20 in addition to an entry level pack and the Sports pack costs an extra $29, all without lock-in contracts.

He declined to reveal take-up numbers ahead of News Corp’s quarterly results announcement.

“Foxtel Now has already proven to be a hit with customers, offering the most flexible and affordable way to experience the best choice in live sport, new movies, TV and complete seasons. With today’s launch, that experience gets even better,” he said.

“For the first time, Australians can watch Foxtel on their TV with a Foxtel designed set top box that is completely powered by the internet offering a no lock-in contract, affordable and flexible way to see Foxtel’s exclusive content both locally produced and from the world’s best entertainment brands. Self-installation is easy, removing the need for a technician. Simply bring the box home and sign up to Foxtel Now to start watching.”

The box has a built-in Chromecast function enabling viewers to beam movies, music and photos from Android or iOS mobile devices, PCs or Macs straight to their TV sets.

Tonagh added that Foxtel would curate the content of the Google apps available via the box to ensure none offered pirated material. Foxtel Now comes with a two-week free trial.

At the launch Foxtel screened a short but highly impressive clip of Picnic at Hanging Rock, which will premiere on showcase in 2018. Tonagh hailed the FremantleMedia Australia production as “almost certainly the hit of next year.”

Tonagh hailed the 11 AACTA Awards nominations for the Foxtel co-commissioned Top of the Lake: China Girl and nods for the platform’s other shows including Wentworth as cementing acclaim for its Australian programs


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