FetchTV fail: iiNet has just 10,000 customers


news National broadband provider iiNet today revealed that it had so far only signed up 10,000 customers to the FetchTV platform it launched in mid-2010, representing only a tiny success rate in converting its 824,000 ADSL broadband customers to the system.

FetchTV is a set-top box-based Internet television service which was first launched in mid-2010 through iiNet’s network, followed after by other companies such as Adam Internet and Internode. In September 2011 Optus also launched the platform, which is developed by the independent company of the same name.

Like rival platforms such as Telstra’s T-Box initiative, FetchTV provides a variety of functions to users. It can record and play back live television, and it also provides a number of streaming television channels to users, as well as TV shows and movies on demand, which can be paid for on an ad-hoc basis. The system also comes with a number of movies provides free to users and refreshed regularly.

When the platform was launched, customer interest in FetchTV was strong, with positive media reports written about the initiative and a number of ISPs expressing immediate interest in the platform. However, in its annual financial results session today, iiNet appeared to reveal it had only 19,000 FetchTV customers. iiNet chief executive Michael Malone later clarified that only 10,000 of those customers were on the FetchTV platform, with the rest being customers on the existing IPTV network of iiNet acquisition TransACT in Canberra.

Delimiter’s review of FetchTV in March this year found the platform was promising by flawed.

“Alongside Quickflix’s fledgling IPTV service, Telstra’s rival T-Box platform and hybrid streaming services available through Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3,” the review stated, “FetchTV remains one of the only decent options open to Australians for getting legal video on demand and IPTV content into your home and onto their television screens. Out of that batch, FetchTV is likely close to being the front-runner platform, due to the breadth of content it has available and the integrated nature of its set-top box, as well as its broad ISP support.”

“However, the service is far from mature. On a technical basis it still has a number of medium-level bugs, which are not show-stoppers but are annoying. And it’s biggest issue remains the availability of content through the platform. Put simply, when browsing the service, many people will find it hard to find any content they actually want to watch, rather that simply tolerating if they are really bored. There is some great content available — but you’ll usually pay more for it when you find it.”

“FetchTV is continually improving its service, and we think that in several years it may become a powerful and complete system. But it’s not there yet.”

Other IPTV players in the Australian have traditionally struggled to attract substantial customers, as FetchTV has with iiNet. Perhaps the standout success is Telstra’s T-Box platform, which is similar to FetchTV. In late March, Telstra revealed that it had provided more than 300,000 units of the T-Box to customers. The platform is bundled to customers on a much cheaper basis than FetchTV.

Malone did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the future of the FetchTV service with iiNet. Separately, the company announced strongly positive financial results today (PDF), with revenue up 19 percent over the past 12 months to $831 million, and net profits and earnings also up substantially. “Our scale, combined with our culture of service and product leadership have provided the foundations for our growth,” said Malone in a media release today. “These attributes place us in a unique position to continue growing in an evolving market for telecommunications services in Australia.”

I remember having several huge arguments with iiNet and FetchTV over the IPTV platform. On one memorable occasion, at an iiNet press briefing in 2010, I got into a huge argument with the company’s then-chief technology officer Greg Bader about whether FetchTV would take off and even made a bet of some kind about it (I can’t remember what the precise terms were). Similarly, I remember a few tense conversations with FetchTV chief executive Scott Lorson.

My frustration with FetchTV has always been that it provided a service which people fundamentally didn’t want. What Australians have always wanted from IPTV boxes is to be able to instantly download whatever TV shows and movies they wanted (specific titles) at a competitive price. What FetchTV provides Australians with is a service with a bunch of largely mediocre content paid for with top dollar. The difference, when you’re trying to find something decent to watch, is subtle yet profound. And as I wrote in 2010, iiNet launched FetchTV at a price three times that of Telstra’s T-Box. Little wonder nobody took it up.

The argument which has always been presented to me was that FetchTV was a service which would rival pay TV services Foxtel and Austar, but at a much more competitive price, and with some bells and whistles removed. My counter-argument to that was that nobody I knew (I’m 31 years of age) was signing up for pay TV now — so why would they sign up for FetchTV, given it had crappier content and wasn’t that much cheaper? Unfortunately for iiNet and FetchTV, it looks like I was right.

Today, I call for iiNet to back away from the failed FetchTV experiment and look elsewhere for its content bundling options. The company which has been really successful with this model internationally is Netflix; perhaps iiNet could look to bring Netflix (finally) to Australia. Or perhaps it could partner with local Netflix wannabe Quickflix. But whatever it does, it needs to make a decision on FetchTV quickly; because this is one stinker which is rotting on the vine.

Image credit: fetchtv


  1. Without sport it will never take off. Sport is the jewel in the crown for Pay TV operators.

    • Totally agree Paul. Don’t know the stats but you’d have to think most people that pay for foxtel do so primarily for the sport.

    • If I could afford Foxtel I’d only want sport, but then the wife wants other things, so end up having the get the full package to satisfy everyone, grr :(

      • I’m in the opposite boat – if I wanted Foxtel, it’d be for the non-sport channels.

        Then again, having watched a little bit of what’s shown on pay TV these days, I think we’re better off without any of it… ;-)

    • Agreed. I have the Optus version and have tried of a few of their subscriptions. Ended up keeping it on the base package which makes it simply a PVR.

      There is a clear lack of sport content (other than Sentanta channel) if they can somehow strike a deal with Foxtel to distribute (NRL, ALF, A-League games) etc I would look at keeping it.

  2. I’d say one of the biggest issues is that iiNet only let you pickup the subscriber channels if you’re on an iiNet DSLAM, so when you take into all the people on Telstra Wholesale (myself included), there is a large number of people who can’t get FetchTV via iiNet even if they wanted it.

    However I do have a FetchTV box via Optus using my mobile account, and it runs all the streaming quite happily from Optus even though I’m on iiNet as a provider in what’s classified as a regional area provider wise, go figure.

    I will say though I’m surprised more people are taking this up, the FetchTV box (or at least the one I got) has 700MB allocated to free to air recordings, and has 3 in build tuners, and is quite easy to use. Not too bad compared to what’s available off the shelf and considering I’m only paying $10/month for 2 years to own the box outright.

      • There has to be an iiNet DSLAM in the exchange to start, the only ones in my local are Telstra hence why I’m on wholesale. If there were iiNet DSLAMs in the exchange then I would be on theirs by default as they wouldn’t use wholesale in those exchanges.

  3. What made FetchTV and even bigger pile was that for a lot of the iiNet and Internode user base it really was only a buggy PVR because for linear channels, it required multicast (using multicast, while technically superior, was the wrong decision).

    I am glad I didn’t waste my money going down the FetchTV path and kept with my ever reliable TiVo.

    • Care to explain how multicast was the wrong decision? I don’t know about you, but I would prefer not to have thousands of streams of identical data clogging up the backhaul from my exchange…

      • Multicast is a superior technology , no doubt, but two reasons made it a stupid decision for Fetch

        a) Multicast isnt available on telstra hardware, knocking out a massive proportion of australian exchanges with only telstra hardware

        b) You could argue that this is telstras fault but real world examples (including renai’s own review) show that setting up multicast is a massive hassle, with changing line profiles etc

        c) No one really cares about a channel based way of watching tv now (or certainly not people who go with isp’s like iinet and internode and subscribe to an iptv service) people want on demand like Netflix. If fetch spent its money on negotiating with video on demand services instead of with channels (which it does do a good job of) it would probably be more successful

  4. I think the comment about mediocre content is right.
    Both iiNet and Telstra really only offer very mainstream movies and family fare.
    Surely most families are on Foxtel.
    The IT crowd want more savvy programming.
    Like Tezz above, I’m on a Telstra line, and I would assume my iiNet connection is not fast enough to support proper tv watching. Youtube is hit and miss at best.

    For online TV we need better infrastructure (yay…NBN!) and innovative programming.

  5. Don’t discount the impact FetchTV had on the #iiTrial.

    Offering a legal way for customers to obtain content [even with a poor business model / offering] played a part in demonstrating that iiNet doesn’t support copyright infringement.

    • @Matt

      Agree. It likely costs iiNet, Optus, Adam etc. next to nothing to *offer* FetchTV (ie. they’d just get a % of revenue from actual sales). It was always just part of a ploy to pretend they don’t support file sharing.

      • Correction… FetchTV hadn’t launched before the iiTrial and wasn’t considered in evidence. FetchTV was discussed in news articles around the appeals, but not evidence.

        Freezone was available, and iiNet made the same points, just not from FetchTV.

  6. As user of FetchTV for about 18 months now, the things that kill you with it are

    1. Requirement of BoB1 (now BOB2) when it first came out. Fine to require BOB1, but I was FORCED to buy BOB1 as my iinet supplied modem wouldn’t work that I had brought less than 12 months before hand! Left a very bad taste in my mouth, but I’m an earlier adopter I pushed ahead and spent more money on an overpriced belkin POC.

    2. The hardware needs better specs. Great amount of tuners, but slow CPU makes moving around the box feel slow, the early GUI was nasty looking and really slow, the early versions has scheduling issues. The later updates are much better, but still doesn’t feel as fast as it should.

    3. Locked to iiNet, these boxes don’t work at ALL without an iiNet connection, if you leave iiNet, the box you brought outright (along with your iinet modem) become useless door stops! They won’t even boot up.

    4. Bandwidth overheads hurt, each channel recording requires about 2mbps, so recording 2 pay channels and you loose 4mbps of your ADSL speed, as I sync at around 6ish mbps, that leaves me with 2mbps for surfing, nice….. (not an issue if I had better ADSL2 sync speeds or NBN!)

    5. Relating to bandwidth, even iiNet can’t provide shutter free streaming on its network for tv streams during peak times, been ongoing for months now (http://www.iinet.net.au/status/fault.php?id=2059394). What use is a STB paytv service that shuttering during the evening when you WANT to watch it?

    6. Support is useless, every time you ring them, the first thing they want you to do is hard reset the box. Wiping all your recorded shows, all your content and all your scheduled recordings. Basically its hard reset the box and if that doesn’t fix it, we will send you a new box and if that doesn’t fix it we don’t know! Even when a know ticket for shuttering is listed on the website, they still try to get you to hard reset your box when calling up to advise its still an issue.

    I could go on, but these are the top 6 issues……

      • Well point 4 is clearly a NBN advertisement, hence my comment not an issue if I had NBN!, but point 5 is a internal iiNet network traffic issue that I don’t know if the NBN will address for them. Clearly someone at iiNet hasn’t heard of QoS? :)

  7. I looked into it, but because I couldn’t get Foxtel in my area the channels on offer were pathetic and not worth the price.

    Same as the XBL streaming service (if you can’t get Foxtel in your area you’re not allowed to purchase it, never mind the fact it’s an over IP service).

    And they wonder why people pirate TV… they aren’t willing to sell us what we want!

    • That is no longer true, anyone, in any area that has sufficient speed on the ADSL can now get Foxtel on XBox, and I mean anywhere, that changes a few months back.

  8. Yup as there isn’t much worth watching on TV and that includes pay TV its basically worthless to me.
    After really watching much less TV I am enjoying life much better these days…..

  9. I’m so glad i’m not the only one who has looked at Fetch and thought , why would i want to sign up for this service?…

    If we could pick individual chanels or TV shows on either a pay per view or subscription basis without hugh monthly fees just for having access to content thats “filler” then sure.

    The content industry needs to by-pass ISPs or make agreemtns with ISPs for “freezone” so we can sign up to things like NBA/NFL season pass for streaming. I’d happily pay for Sky/ITV F1 coverage if it wasnt against local boracasting rules :)

    • The content industry needs to by-pass ISPs or make agreemtns with ISPs for “freezone” so we can sign up to things like NBA/NFL season pass for streaming. I’d happily pay for Sky/ITV F1 coverage if it wasnt against local boracasting rules :)

      umm.. you can sign up for NBA/NFL streaming if you want it. I’ve signed up for NHL streaming for about the past 5 years and a former colleague of mine signed up for MLB streaming.

      There is no geo-blocking of any major US sport, you just go to the respective website of the sport and hand over a few $’s and stream away.

      For reference a 720p NHL game @3000k which lasts around 2.5hrs uses around 3.5-4GB per game.

  10. i thought fetchttv only worked on the off-net connections? ie you cant get this via a telstra wholesale line. do iinet have 824,000 off-net subscribers?

  11. Stop being so tight on connection requirements iiNet. i.e.: Sync.

    I have T-Box on a 3Mbps connection and works perfect without a glitch (99.98% of the time).

    I’m sure if iiNet stop being tight, I will change to iiNet for my ADSL and get Fetch TV.

    • But what are you doing Jarrod with the T-Box and your 3mbps connection? All FTA with the T-Box is done locally and from memory you can’t ‘record’ any of the IPTV channels, do you watch many of these?

      So if you are recording and watching FTA channels only, you don’t *NEED* much bandwidth, hence 3mbps connection would be fine.

  12. I don’t quite agree to be honest – your primary complaint seems to be around content. Yet my other half is quiet happy to use the movie rental feature on a regular basis.

    The box works well, there seems to be plenty of current movies on there (very handy since our local DVD shop closed about a year ago) and the latest interface update made it much nicer to use.

    Considering the scale of the carriers that have Fetch, I’d say 10,000 units is pretty good actually. I understand that comparing to Telstra is all well and good, but you’re comparing a bundle extra with something that is an optional extra with iiNet and others.

    *shrugs* Maybe we have different perspectives but I think 10,000 is a good result.

  13. I moved from Telstra to Internode just to get fetch TV, I don’t really care for the sports on Foxtel so that didn’t bother me at all, and for $19.95 a month I am happy, it’s chicken feed for a great PVR, with the MTV channels, Discovery and Nat Geo channels, only thing I would like to see are a few more channel like, Arena, Fox 8, or that style of programming. Also if they had TV shows where you could rent each episode, well I’d probably be willing to pay a couple of bucks each for those also. I rent a new release movie probably once every 2 weeks, and the HD quality of those is sensational. At the end of the day, yes they need to improve, but I get a feeling it’s not being pushed much by fetch or ISP’s, I only know of one other person other than myself with it. I think you’ll find the majority of the population have never heard of it, brand recognition means everything, they don’t have this.

    • I’m with you Simon, I’m happy with the content at the price I’m getting it at, but would like a fast box, that isn’t as buggy. Plus the option for some more channels at respectable pricing.

      • Agreed, I would be willing to pay up to $30 a month if Fetch added some better content. Anything more than this and I think it’s getting a little rich no matter how good the content. I can’t believe what people are will to pay with Foxtel, their pricing is absurd, the rest of the world laugh at what Aussies pay for this. I don’t actually know of anyone that has foxtel anymore, all my family and friends disconnected foxtel a couple of years back and non of us have any intention of pay that sort of money. Most are using the pay per view model, eg renting movies on XBox, Apple TV, TBox, Fetch etc.

  14. I’ve got FetchTV thru Adam Internet and as soon as my contract expires, i’m throwing the piece of junk back at them. Waste of time.

    So many problems with line issues, modem compatibility for the FetchTV service, i only plug it in now when i reboot the box leave it unplugged most of the time and simply use it as a PVR. What i’ve encountered sounds like a similar situation to what Level380 mentioned above, the Adam Internet people often provide the same advice when having issues “try rebooting it” – or you find they simply don’t reply.

  15. I wont be TOLD what ADSL equipment I must use by any ISP.

    More so why would I buy into Fetch when I can tap into Unblock US and pay $AU8 a month for Netflix?

  16. Did we read the same Results presentation? Given you haven’t cited your source of the figure of 10,000 I can’t tell how you’ve made a mistake.

    On multiple slides they listed 19,000 customers (up 16,000)


    I pirate off the Internet because its quicker and cheaper than doing it legally.

    • Aside from the rubbish and ancient content, the other major issue is your internet speed, you really need 10mbps+ for it to work properly and most ISP’s set the cut-off at 8mbps for the full FetchTV version.

    • And piracy will become more rampant (than it already is) because of restrictions and red tape that currently restrict anyone from having access to content they would happily pay for.

  18. Ultimately these pay tv providers want a sustainable income providing stream.
    However the consumer wants to be able to pick and choose or tailor their content as required.

    I have had Foxtel and would never get it again – simply the annoyance of taking a smaller “plan” and then seeing every station blocked was enough to finally cut it completely. We get royally ripped off with the costs of these services, and cannot choose exactly what we want.

    That entire experience was enough top sever the service in our household, and it will never return in any paytv format. We do not miss any shows and can resource alternate ways of viewing ( be it got to a venue or hey see it live…)

    in our current climate of spiralling costs, paytv has no place in our home. If they charged for free to air, I would do away with that as well.

    • I pay decent prices for monthly streams of other content — $20 or so a month for StarCraft II matches from Korea, $20-$30 a month for Quickflix, $6.95 a month for Crunchyroll anime etc. I don’t see why the traditional movie and TV production houses don’t set up something similar. I’d definitely pay, say $7 to have a Game of Thrones episode when it’s released etc.

  19. Seems like I am in the absolute minority who is perfectly happy to pay $20 a month for BBC World + a good enough PVR.

    The rest of the content is just added bonus for me.

    I thought there would be enough people like me who don’t care about sport which should have made Fetch at least a popular niche, but it looks like I was wrong.

  20. I thought about getting it mainly for the PVR but $480 is not that that cheap for a PVR and it has a heavy dependency on iiNet connection to work. I don’t waste my time watching reruns of shows that were reruns when I watched them as a kid in the 80s so I find most pay TV content pretty much worthless.

    Ultimately though, BOB was the deal breaker. I’m not about to trade in my ASUS RT-N66U for a second rate Belkin.

  21. There is also the fact of iTunes to consider. You can buy individual TV shows on this service for AU$2.99, or AU3.49 for HD and no ongoing subscription fee.

    Just look at how popular prepay phones are. No matter how nice it is for the bottom line, given a choice people don’t want subscription services. And in a capitalist country they probably will have a choice.

  22. I am an iinet customer and would love to take on fetch tv.
    Despite numerous conversations with iinet, the only way I can have fetch TV is to lock in to the Bob Modem.

    I already have a modem that is of better quality and exceeds the standards of Bob however I am unable to use this to receive fetch tv.

    There are many of us in this position, and iinet is aware of it, however it has always been made clear that iinet will not move on its current position of No Bob, No fetch tv.

    Until this stance shifts fetch tv will struggle within iinet.

  23. I’m also an iiNet subscriber. I live in an apartment block with poor TV reception. I’d be interested in FetchTV if the freeview channels came over the internet connection but they don’t. The boxes have a coax connection for an antenna.

  24. Good idea, they just have crap content and at price that would be top dollar if you could watch the content you want.

  25. They need a main event style channel so we can put on Payper View events like UFC etc.

    Plus I’m on a Telstra port and Fetch lite looks to be…. well worthless at best.

  26. Unfortunately you need a fast enough reliable connection & not be a wholesale customer.

  27. I was interested, until I worked out I’d need a set top box – I don’t want a god damned set to box, I already have a media solution in place and a set top box wouldn’t integrate with it.

    When they can work out a way to do it without a set top box, I’ll look again.

    • Services like Fetch need to be accessible via other platforms. i.e XBOX, Playstation, Roku, WDTV etc

  28. Hell, I don’t think Australia has any comparable service to other countries both on content and price, the only reason we have Foxtel is because my wife really enjoys a few channels and we managed to negotiate a custom price with them.
    I myself hardly watch Foxtel I get most of my entertainment from streaming from US tv networks and Netflix all up for $12,50 including VPN and all I can eat , we have a long long way to go before Australia can even get close to offering this.
    When I was with IInet I did not even consider their Fetch tv offering I considered it way too expensive for very little content and as for sport once every 4 years is the only time my wife and myself are interested.

  29. Agree with above comments about the BOB. I’ve had nothing but trouble with all the BOBs I’ve received, and my family members also. Finally gave it up and bought a proper modem.

  30. I receive an excellent service via Channel BT. Always on time, no ads, select whatever I want to watch, for a very good price!

  31. BoB2 should replace BoB1 for anyone with Fetch TV, since it resolved quite a few issues for me.

    If Foxtel let me hide unwanted/unavailable channels as neatly as Fetch does, it might be more tempting – let’s face it, they DO have the content. But damn it, paying for Foxtel and still getting ads just feels like fraud. That used to be the whole premise of PayTV vs. Free to Air.

    Definitely agree with the other comment that Fetch should be reachable for browsing content and playback on the home network via android & iOS devices. Maybe recorded content could be encrypted and then synced to such devices, thus supporting playback when the user is roaming outside the home?

    PS: if iiNet released a stand-alone PVR firmware for the Fetch box (i.e. without the IPTV component) it might be more attractive to invest in owning a set top box so you don’t just have a paperweight for upon leaving iiNet,

    • So, is that figure of 10,000 across iiNet and Node (each) or is that combining the two companies?
      If that is a combination of the two and at a guess iiNet would have had the larger numbers over that two year period, it must of been a poor and dismal result for Internode then.

    • It isn’t hard to see why more people haven’t taken it on, as many people are cutting back on unneeded expenditures to pay off debt and doing something Aussies haven’t done in ages and that’s increasing their savings. People are getting smarter with money and at the moment Fetch TV it isn’t a critically needed service. Your right, they need something like Netflix in order to take on more customers, but I can’t see it making much of a difference in the current climate of political and media induced doom and gloom.

  32. My folks love it. They’re not sport watching types, so the music channels, TV episode content and recording functions suit them just fine for the price.

    It’s not for me (for a lot of the reasons others have stated – I’ve very much been spoiled by Steam and the like for gaming and I want a similar system for TV shows / movies), but that seems to be a generational thing more than anything else.

    • Matthew, since you work for iiNet are you able to advise why iiNet requires people to use the Bob modems in order to subscribe to Fetch?

      As I stated above I’m with iiNet on a Telstra DSLAM and have a Fetch box via Optus and it works quite happily, so I know it’s not a backend sort of issue, it seems more like iiNet is forcing peoples hands to pay for a modem they don’t want/need on top of the price of Fetch.

  33. The problem is that content providers simply refuse to let Australia have significant amounts of up to date TV made available for online streaming. Netflix alone has more than all Australian online stores/services combined, including Fetch, iTunes and Bigpond.

    For now the best option for Australians is to get a US Netflix account and use that. If the 800,000 iiNet customers did that, maybe then the US content cartels will reconsider their stone age restrictions.

    • Its some of the problem, the other main one is that these channels sign ‘deals’ with the paytv companies that basically only allow that channels content to be shown on that companies paytv network, which basically locks out new players that come into the field like fetchtv from getting the channels people want, without the channels people want, no customers.

      Basically paytv companies have created a monopoly of the content, and can charge whatever they want!

      If the ACCC wanted to put a stop to monopoly of content locked to providers they could! (and should!)

      • I’ve emailed senator conroy about content lockout in the IPTV space previously and was advise that his department is examining this issue.

        I pointed out to him that allowing exclusive content rights in the IPTV space would be bad for competition on the NBN and bad for consumers. I likened it to ppl having to viewed paid subscriptions to different brand video stores to just to access content from different movie studios.

  34. maybe they should do a deal with apple and stick an app on the Apple TV.
    After using an Apple TV for the last 9 months, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to normal television and i sure won’t be getting pay tv or anything similar. I “might” add a netflix style service though. Good article.

  35. If Michael Malone can’t fathom why it isn’t taking off faster, it’s no surprise it’s not taking off faster.

    If you fail to understand (the market’s|your customers’) needs and wants, your technology and platform is irrelevant.

    • +1

      Can’t agree more.

      I illegally download shows and movies on a weekly basis. An example being Game of Thrones which is not on Free to Air TV in Australia and I refuse to purchase Foxtel for just one show. Game of Thrones has had over 3 million illegal downloads per episode, per week. How much lost revenue is that, because some TV/ISP exec doesn’t understand their audience?

      Provide me with either an on-demand or downloadable option at a reasonable price and I’ll purchase it. My prediction is that DVD and BluRay will be dead formats in the next 5 to 10 years. The TV/Movie execs rather than adjusting to the demands/desires of their audience are prolonging the death of DVD/BR because they don’t understand the download market.

      I’d also predict that in 10 to 20 years cinemas will go the way of the DVD, BluRay and VHS. I haven’t been to the cinemas in almost 2 years.

      Get with the times, on-demand is the new medium, just don’t overcharge for it. There is no packaging, there is no DVD production, no distribution via trucks in cardboard boxes, to be unpacked by pimply teenagers on a shop floor.
      Just give me a website to connect to, where I can use my Paypal account and let the downloads begin. Imagine how much money Bit Torrent would be earning if for every show downloaded you paid $1, for every movie you paid $5.

      • You give BluRay and DVD 5 to 10 years? That’s generous, with the rate it’s dying at now I think you’ll find they’ll both be pretty much gone before 5 years is out, perhaps around as a very niche thing. I don’t know ANYONE who bought in to BluRay, and well DVD players are in every house, but with iptv being simplified so much now that it’s bringing the mum and dad users in, with devices like T box and Apple TV, I think we’d be shocked at the sales/rental figured of these physical formats. I actually don’t have any DVD rental store close to me now, all the ones that existed have closed down. The next 5 years are going to be interesting, watch this space :)

  36. I am a very happy Internode Full Fetch TV subscriber as is my parents. We have never looked at Foxtel as it has always been way too expensive for what it is and never felt we has or should spend the time to get the full value of a subscription. To me $19.95 a month is a no brainier for a good PVR with a few linear channels and on demand movies and TV shows. True the amount of channel has not increase a whole lot as yet and it still limited in genera I find I can always find something interesting to watch between the live content and that which I have recorded off the FTA and linear channels. I am also extremely confident a lot of this content shortcoming will start to dissipate in the relatively short future and I would not be surprised to see at least 10 to 20 extra formerly exclusive Foxtel channel on Fetch TV by the end of the year.

    I have been a subsciber for getting close to 2 years now after starting on the Internode trial and over the time there have been the odd bug but nothing that major and it was a whole lot more reliable than the Myth TV box we were using before. The best thing of being on Internode is that they are a lot less restrictive on modem choices. While they do have a select few they would prefer you to you they will not stop you from using another compatible one if you are willing to try and work out some problems yourself. I have also found that the support have always been very helpful and knowledgeable and even willing to interact with use users on Whirlpool.

    I certainly do not see any chance of Fetch TV dieing in Australia in the next few years. True the uptake is a lot slower that I am sure all would have hoped and expected it is still going ok for a product that is still heavily under development. You do also need to remember that while Fetch TV is being developed in Australia the ultimate aim is to release it all over Asia by its parent company and I would doubt they would let it fail if they can help it.

  37. This reminds me of NCR’s first attempts to bring retail to the web. Their demo shopping site looked and felt rather like Google Street View, but instead it was a Mall View. You clicked your way around the mall until you found the shop you wanted, then clicked on the door to go inside, and then clicked on the shelves. Technology wise it was really impressive for sometime in the 1990’s, as it was done in HTML 3 or so, probably with a few OCX’s thrown in.

    At the time I was dumbfounded by the singular lack of imagination of it’s designers. There wasn’t even find a search button for products. Apparently they thought people would want to shop on the internet just the way that did in the physical world, happily ignoring all the extra abilities of the new medium. Actually it was worse than the physical world because decades ago the internet was god awfully slow and the site was picture heavy so you would walk around a physical Mall fast than you could click around this virtual one.

    Move forward 20 or so years and here we go again. Apparently the makers of FetchTV thing you want to watch TV over the internet in exactly the same way you would watch broadcast TV. There are only a few on demand channels. Add to that live channels are really heavy users of the internet, making it not so useful for other things…

    The world has already moved on, and at the technologically aware part of it has. Very few people I know watch live TV any more, except for sports. The rest we record on our PVR’s, and watch when there is some free time. No one wants to have a limited number of choices in a fixed time slot. That was a compromise forced on us by by the technology. Why in gods name would anybody copy that compromise over to internet TV?

    What I can’t get on TV I get from, err, other sources. I would very much like those sources to be legit. Someone suggested iTunes, but it ain’t a realistic option. It looked like it cost an average of $3 per show, and at around 40minutes/show 1 hours viewing a day that works out to be $135/month. At that price it ain’t going to happen.

    But at $20/month that allowed me to download 5 hours/day from a huge catalogue it would happen. And to put $20/month into perspective, if every Australian household the NBN plans to connect paid $20/month the yearly total income ($1.4B) would exceed the income of 7, 9, 10 and Foxtel combined. Well I think it would. 7 is currently doing the best, and its income 2011 was $225M according to Seven West Media’s annual report.

    Sometimes the future seems to take forever to arrive. And it doesn’t look like Malcolm Turnbull is trying get it here any faster, either.

  38. As I’ve stated many time. Fetch TV has choosen deliberately business model that requires a large setup fee, with ongoings and huge black box

    Over the past year that has changed with addition of mobile services for fetch. Just not an application version that you can download to a console or any other device

  39. I recommended one of these to my non-techy sister, and its working well for her. I see it as a good alternative to a PVR as she mostly uses it to record and timeshift free to air tv. For that scenario, I think its good value – and she reports it is working well.

    • I get all my non-techy friends and Relo’s a TiVo, cant beat them for ease of use and PVR functionality + the EPG data is the best out there and is included free with the TiVo for its lifetime.

  40. Never known anyone in this country to have a Tivo, they are a massive fail here compared to the states. The cost of buying one is insane here, and it’s not even the current version. Why the hell anyone would want to fork out that sort of money for a PVR is beyond me.

    • That’s rubbish, the TiVo320 is actually the best selling PVR model in Australia, ever!

      I have 2 myself (upgraded to 1TB) and if you go to the DTV Forums Australia and search for “TiVo” you’ll find it to be a major topic of discussion (over 600 topics with TiVo mentioned in them):

      PVRs, DVRs, HDD & DVD Recorders: http://www.dtvforum.info/index.php?showforum=8 (search in here for 677 results)

      In the main TiVo Thread alone you’ll find over 4,000 posts spanning from May 2007 to January 2012:


      Feel free to withdraw your incorrect statements at any time!

    • I’ve had a Tivo for about 3 years, bought the 160GB version and have added the 1TB external drive to it in the interim.

      Sure there may be cheaper boxes out there but when it comes to TV watching I have pretty much one requirement, I want it to be simple and work well, and the Tivo does that.

    • Yeah, especially when it purposely omits the ad skip function for the Australian market like we are all fools, that was the deal breaker for me when I purchased a PVR

      • You get used to using the FF function very quickly and it isnt an officially supported function even in the USA (it’s a hidden easter egg).

    • If you google hard enough, there was a bunch of people who imported US Tivos and made them work in Australia! Including hardware mods to replace the turner with a turner that would work in our country.

      The TiVo has a *HUGE* following!!

      • I agree the TiVo has a huge following, but not in Australia because the local device is so backward/outdated. If I could import one of the current models from the US and replace the tuner as you have said, then I’d buy one also, interesting.

        • Again you have no idea what you are talking about, why not continue by declaring the earth is flat?

          You can only convert the old analogue TiVo’s to work in Australia.

          • I am not pretending I know anything about the tuners in the TiVo, I was responding to the above advice. Thank you for clarifying though :)

          • I had a play around with in Harvey Norman, the sales rep himself bagged it out. I want a box which has multiple legal video streaming stores/sources, let me think, like the TiVo in the states, also something that works a little smother, I found the whole experience very ‘clunky’ to be honest. The thing is I am all for TiVo, as you may have noticed, just not the the unit that we get sold here in Au with a ridiculous price tag attached to it. Generally obsolete models are sold at a lower price (yes it is obsolete to the rest of the world) to move stock and make way for updated units, but it looks as though TiVo Au have no intention of doing that here, perhaps we are a dumping ground for them, such a pitty.

          • You found it clunky? Really?

            Fair enough, it’s the smoothest PVR I’ve ever used, if it’s clunky to you then you’re expectations must truly exceed what’s out there in the market.

          • ROFL, Nardly Normal sales droids are infamous for their complete lack of AV knowledge, in fact one of my favourite time wasting games is “bait the HN guy” all while pretending to be an ignorant consumer just after a “big TV” and a “DVD player”! It’s even more fun when you hang out around the AVR’s and ask them questions they cant answer or try to BS you on!

            And btw, my TiVo’s, with no mods at all, using the installed TiVo Desktop Plus Software can play every single file format that my PC can (I use the CCCP codecs) with no issues at all – the TDP Software transcodes on the fly direct to the TiVo (using MPEG4) with no PQ loss and supports DD5.1 as well.

            This has the benefit of me being able to use the skip back and FF/RR features plus if I need to stop a movie (or TV Show) part way thru my TiVo remembers where I was up to when i resume the next day (or whenever).

            Some other nice things the TiVo does which other “dumb” pvr’s cant is self manage your storage, If you like to record daily chat/comedy/news shows, you can tell it to only keep the last 5 shows and delete the others when the space is needed.

            I quite like Michael Douglas Movies too and and have setup a “wishlist” series record that looks at EVERY single guide listing for shows/movies that contain the actor “michael douglas” and then records them.

            I also like the underbelly series and cant be bothered setting up a series record for every series as they come up so I simply setup a single “wishlist” series record that looks for “underbelly” in the title of shows and then records them when found.

            I could go on but the simple fact is, even the now obsolete TivoHD model as far more advanced than any other brand PVR on the market in all key areas!

  41. It’s such an old box, take a look at Tivo in the states, thats what a tivo is meant to be. It doesn’t do anything here compared to what it should do, wow a PVR, that is well, pretty much just a basic PVR. The cheapest model is $499 for a small storage space, woo hoo, such a bargain.

    • Yeah we always take ages to get the good stuff, the TiVo Première is the latest and greatest (me want).

      You’re ignoring that the yanks need to add $199USD to the price of a TiVo to get the lifetime EPG data that is bundled into the Aussie versions.

    • Again you have no idea what you are talking about, why not continue by declaring the earth is flat?

      You can only convert the old analogue TiVo’s to work in Australia.

  42. Even if you add $199 to the this premium quad tuner TiVo, you’re still looking at a device thats $448, still cheaper than our most basic basic outdated model. If TiVo here actually added things like, Quickflix, Bigpond Movies and others as they have done in the states, then there would be a compelling reason to look at one, but for now TiVo here is just a borathon if you ask me.

    • can you please use the reply function so the conversation is properly threaded!


  43. “you can tell it to only keep the last 5 shows and delete the others” & “my TiVo remembers where I was up to when i resume the next day (or whenever).” Something the fetch box does also. I agree with your HN baiting remark, they have a tendency to BS just to get a sale, although I am not sure why he didn’t BS to get a TiVo sale, perhaps there is little commission in it for them or something.

    • ” Something the fetch box does also.”

      That was just a basic example, the TiVo (thanks to it’s EPG data quality) has far more advanced features than most PVR’s out there (and the patents to match).

  44. When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get
    three e-mails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that service?


    • In the email, click this wonderful thing called “Manage your subscriptions”……. Then follow the bouncing ball.

  45. As a satisfied subscriber of iinet Fetch Tv from last 4 months , I can totally say that the service is reliable and strong. It really depends on your internet connection as well. I am regularly getting around 8mbps speed which is sufficient for the service to run smoothly.
    Regarding the comments on price difference btw foxtel and fetch, I wanted to share why I did sign up for this rather than foxtel.
    My main interest is the indian package and here I am paying $40 for fetch tv and indian package included which is super as the only indian provider in australia is vision asia which charges around $68/mnth.
    So far I reckon its a great deal if you want multicultural channels.
    Go for foxtel if you want sport.

    • Sorry Nick….Positives were short lived with this lot. Charged for movies selected that didn’t down load and constantly having drop outs. Last 2 nights having watched a movie half way though only to have it drop out is simply not acceptable.

      Looks like video shops are not dead after all.

      I am cancelling my Westnet (iinet) and Fetch subscriptions. Extremely poor service

  46. ps…the recording option is a waste of effort as TV channels don’t follow the schedules ie 7.30pm or 8.30pm shows/movies start usually 10 to 15 minutes later so the ‘smart’ recording technology of Fetch goes by original scheduled time not actual time. Cleverly starts 10 minutes early but you usually miss the end of the program…how dumb are these guys?

  47. Hi Steve, I hate to point out the obvious but why don’t you add additional recording time under settings, I have mine record and additional 30 minutes after the scheduled time, I have never missed the end of a program once with this handy feature. Are you sure fetch are dumb?

    • By setting up a 30min post buffer on recordings, basically means the box doesn’t record everything I require due to only being able to record two channels at once!

      While I do get the end of one show, I miss out on recording others cause of the buffer.

      What needs to happen is sadly some gov ruling that TV networks need to stick tot he PUBLISHED times. There is no reason for these pre recorded shows to run 15mins late (or even 2 mins late!!) The shows are pre recorded, they know how long they run for, the ads are inserted. What happens is on popular shows, more ads are inserted to pad them out, making them run over time!

      Only live records have any valid excuses to ran late. everything else should be locked into the published schedules!

  48. Hi Simon

    If the set up records 10 minutes before automatically then logic suggest that the set up could be for 10 minutes after also. So the system advertises recording televisions programs automatically but we have to make manual adjustments to ensure those programs are recorded? So we are actually not recording programs at all but are recording pre set times. Probably a tad hard for you to follow but I was under the belief I bought a set and forget system not one that I had to manually adjust. (that how it was marketed anyway).
    But you are right. I am dumb for believing these guys could deliver. Tried again last night to download and watch the movie I have been previously charged for…guess what….yep…half way through it crashed again.
    Another wasted evening

    • Thank you Mr Patronising, usually a sign of ones insecurities. As I pointed out I have never missed the beginning or end of a program yet with this method, what do you expect for $10 a month?

    • Since Fetch gets it’s schedule from what the TV networks provide to it, how then is it it’s fault if the program you are trying to record runs over?

      I’ve got a Tivo as well and it’s in the same boat (along with every other PVR), they need to rely on what the TV networks provide schedule wise to them and work off that, I don’t know of any PVR that adjusts automatically if a show is running over.

      As for downloading the movie, well that’s a different issue and since it’s internet connection related would be an entirely separate problem.

  49. Re the TiVo and Fetch comments. I was pretty disappointed no dlna support on my Optus provided fetch. Why bother with a pvr when windows 7 media centre gives you all the same functionality plus ability to act as streamer/downloaded and run a browser, iTunes, vlc etc. Thinking of ripping out the hard drive on the fetch and sticking it in my PC to use as storage. Fetch is as pointless as Apple TV.

    • Tom, while I agree with some of what you say, Fetch/Apple TV/XBox/Foxtel etc are for the masses, someone like my mum is not exactly going to set up a Windows machine for these purposes, nor would I to be honest.
      It’s just convenient and easy to set up, many of us can’t be bothered with all that stuffing about, something you may find easy, but the majority can’t/don’t want to.
      PS: I wouldn’t be ripping the hard drive out, it’s not your box, unless you bought outright ;)

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