Telstra launches HD movies on demand


The nation’s biggest telco has thrown a spanner in the works for rivals hoping to compete with its BigPond Movies video on demand service, announcing today it had switched on high definition downloads on some platforms for some content.

Previously, Telstra’s online library — available through its T-Box internet video set-top box as well as through direct download and selected television sets — had been “DVD-quality”, as are the libraries of most players in the IPTV market — although some sites such as YouTube are already capable of delivering HD-quality video online.

However today Telstra’s quality got upsized.

“We are adding more and more HD titles to our catalogue and down the track customers will be able to select at purchase whether they want to watch a movie in DVD-like quality or in high definition,” said Telstra’s head of IPTV Ben Kinealy in a statement.

The catch is that so far, the high definition movies are only be available through selected LG television sets and LG Blu-ray devices with internet connections, although the T-Box will receive the HD content “in the month ahead”.

In addition, customers will pay more for the extra fidelity – normal films cost $3.99, but the HD movies will go for $6.99, with the same seven day rental period, which allows customers to watch the film as many times as they want inside 48 hours after they watch it for the first time.

The news comes as the market for internet video services in Australia is continuing to heat up, with companies like fetchtv providing services that broadband providers like iiNet have started to sell to their users, and content owners such as Foxtel giving consumers more options to view the content — such as through Microsoft’s XBox or Sony’s PlayStation platforms.

Image credit: Telstra


  1. This is good news, particularly as the content is unmetred. A bit on the pricey side, given how cheaply you can pick up Blu-Ray rentals now, but the convenience of HD movies on demand is pretty awesome.

    I wonder what their definition of HD is though? Low bit-rate 720p or well compressed 1080p? And will the sound be 5.1?

    With our TV networks continuously scrapping HD in favour of over-compressed SD channels, it’s good to see Telstra taking the lead with HD IPTV. I hope this is the beginning of a competitive IPTV market, where we can finally access the HD shows and movies that we want to, at the click of a button.

    This to me is one of the strongest reasons for the NBN to continue. We desperately need that bandwidth for these kind of services to provide quality content in a reliable high speed way.

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