Foxtel IQ5 Review – Where Pay TV Makes Its Case With The Streaming Generation

I still remember the joy of signing up for Foxtel when I was a teenager (or rather, when my parents signed up). Movies, cartoons, kids’ shows, music, and on-demand news were the promise, and for the monthly fee, not only did you get it all, but no ads.

Fast forward 20 odd years, and the premise of pay TV is a bit shaky; not only is it more expensive than keeping a few streaming services on hand, it really doesn’t have a unique selling point anymore. For starters, pay TV in 2021 is far from the ad-free experience – in fact, there could be as many ads as there is free TV on some channels. Want to watch a bunch of movies, cartoons, music, and more? Sign up for a few streaming services and they’ve got you covered.

Until recently, to compete with this, Foxtel required that you maintain a “historical” connection to its service, either with a satellite dish so that you could receive TV that way, or in some areas, an HFC cable connection. . Regardless, this requirement often puts Foxtel out of reach for many households – tenants often can’t get permission to install a satellite dish, and there are plenty of places you can’t really get. a satellite dish anyway (trying to install a satellite dish in an apartment? Does not work so well).

Foxtel’s iQ5 streaming box brings the service into the 21st century, avoiding the requirement of a satellite dish or cable connection for simple internet streaming, but is it enough to compete with our days ? Let’s see.

What is the Foxtel iQ5?

For $ 199, you get a two-part set of a streaming box and hard drive that plugs into your TV and uses your home internet (WiFi or wired, your choice) to provide you with the Foxtel content. This content comes at a price though – starting at $ 49 per month (or around 3 decent streaming services) and going all the way up to $ 139 for everything.

The fairly harmless black box is much smaller than previous Foxtel boxes and arguably better designed. The user interface hasn’t changed much from previous generations (it’s almost identical to the IQ4 and Foxtel Now streaming box), but unlike the latter, it combines streaming and recording, so you can record your shows when you want and watch them another time… but you can just stream them later, which makes the recording feature a bit… weird.

Setting up the iQ5 is straightforward; you don’t need a technician to visit you, unsightly lengths of coaxial cable, or anything far beyond a power outlet and HDMI cable. Plug it into power and your TV and – optionally – a satellite outlet if you already have one, and just follow the prompts to set up your account, internet connection, and preferences.

Foxtel’s iQ5 is entirely an auto-install product, and the setup is simple enough that your mom or dad can easily try it out. It also doesn’t require lightning-fast internet – Foxtel advises that a 25Mbps internet connection should be sufficient to stream 4K programming. You might want a faster connection if you want to use iQ5 to its full potential, as it can record two Foxtel programs and a free channel at a time, while watching a fourth.

If you’ve already installed satellite then there is an added bonus – Foxtel streams TV for free on its satellite signal, so if (like me) you run out of TV antenna you can still get FTA by satellite. Without, however, there is no FTA available unless you hook up an antenna connection.

Fast facts

Price $ 199 with hard drive or $ 99 without (available next year).
Subscription options $ 49 to $ 139
guarantee 2 years
Resolution Up to 4K, depending on subscription options
Registration 2 pay channels and 1 FTA channel simultaneously
Storage room 1TB (removable hard drive)
Requires Broadband Internet (Pay TV) or Satellite (Pay TV and FTA). If you don’t have satellite, you can connect an antenna for FTA.
Connectivity WiFi (2.4 GHz or 5 GHz supported) or Gigabit Ethernet
A / V Connectors HDMI (preferred), digital optical S / PDIF

Foxtel iQ5 Features

The gist of any Foxtel service is probably the content options, and there are plenty of them.

Starting at $ 49 per month, you get 50 channels of entertainment, drama, lifestyle, documentaries, reality TV, and more. This will give you a lot of what’s available on Foxtel, with a few notable exceptions – movies aren’t included, and neither does sports.

There are also various special offers:

  • $ 54 per month gets you HD movies, which is basically an additional $ 5 to the basic plan. Not only do you get the movie channels (which broadcast a range of movies on a set schedule), but you can also stream over 1,000 movies on demand.
  • $ 59 per month gets you the basic package with Sports HD – if you don’t watch a lot of movies, but prefer live sports, this is your best bet (although, unfortunately, Foxtel has lost the rights to the League. TO).
  • $ 84 per month gives you the Premium package which has almost everything: Basic package, sports, movies and kids channels.
  • $ 99 per month (on sale right now, from $ 139) gets you everything: movies, sports, kids, crime, history and home shows, and multi-screen (so you can watch Foxtel in another room via the application / Casting). As a bonus, it also comes with Netflix.

It’s not just about the content though. Foxtel’s iQ5 lets you record content, but .. I wonder in 2021 who would actually use this feature given that you can stream whatever you want whenever you want. Let’s say there’s a movie starting at 8:30 p.m. but you won’t be home until 9 p.m.… no need to record it, when you can just skip when you get home, hit the “play from home” button. start ”and watch it.

Streaming something to record it now, to watch it later, seems a little pointless to me, unless you are recording something on FTA TV that might not fit into the catch-up apps.

Foxtel’s iQ5 also includes a bunch of other apps and services – there’s already Netflix, ABC iView, SBS On Demand, and YouTube built into the user interface, and there are plans to bring Amazon Prime, Vevo and others too. There are some notable exceptions, however – there are no plans to bring Disney, Stan, Paramount + or the like.

This brings an interesting point; although Foxtel includes all of these additional features, chances are you already have them. Most smart TVs already have these apps built in, so one wonders why you would want to use them on Foxtel instead of just through your TV, especially when native apps may actually have better features (e.g. native HDR and Dolby Vision). , that Foxtel can but still does not Support).

In our place, we really didn’t use the Foxtel iQ5 to watch anything. other than Foxtel, because we already have Netflix, Amazon Prime and others set up on our Smart TV and the interface is a bit easier to use.

That said, there’s a lot to be said for putting everything in one place, and if that means – as it could be for you – that you can literally use a remote for everything, that’s probably not a bad idea.

Should you buy a Foxtel iQ5 and a subscription?

Foxtel’s problem isn’t – and hasn’t been for a long time, if ever – the quality of the hardware. The Foxtel iQ5 Streaming Box is a nice blend of design and function, and the Foxtel Remote Control has long been a powerful way to interact with your TV.

Rather, the question is whether Foxtel’s subscription fees are profitable. At $ 49 a month for basic service, many people may find that a combination of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney +, or Stan offers better value for the money. it almost depends entirely on what you like to watch.

Foxtel has a few exclusives, such as HBO and a slew of live sports broadcast rights, but if your sport isn’t included and HBO doesn’t mean much to you, Foxtel’s circulation is drastically reduced. In our household, for example, we watch A League Mens and Womens, and Foxtel doesn’t have the rights either. We tend to watch a lot of old TV programs, which we stream from a home media server. Kids watch a lot of Netflix and Prime content, but they don’t need Foxtel to do so.

For us, then, Foxtel doesn’t make much sense – I’m not sure we would get the value of the packages on offer. We just don’t watch TV much (although the last few months of work and home school have changed that balance a bit).

However, if you watch TV a lot (or want to), Foxtel is a great way to do it. If there is something in particular that you want to watch, you can “find” it and watch it. If you don’t know what you’d like to watch but just want to watch Something, there is almost always something moderately entertaining.

Disclosure statement

Foxtel allowed Ausdroid to keep the Foxtel iQ5 with a time-limited service preview for a few months.

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