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Foxtel Play gets a revamp, just don't expect streaming prices

After calling it quits on Presto, Foxtel has reworked its IPTV offering, Foxtel Play. But when it comes to prices, this ain't no subscription streaming service, and you could still pay up to $100 per month.

More than just streaming: Foxtel Play offers live TV and flagship content like Sports.

Foxtel

After giving the world of streaming video a solid college try, Foxtel has thrown in the towel on Presto, choosing instead to focus its energy on a revamped version of its IPTV offering Foxtel Play.

But while the pay TV provider has previously said the new Foxtel Play would be priced to compete with streaming players such as Netflix and Stan, don't expect all-you-can-eat TV and movies for one low fee. If you're looking for the new Presto, you're playing in the wrong ball game.

And, importantly, if you've been hanging out for HD content on Foxtel's IPTV app, you'll be disappointed. Foxtel Play has so far only streamed in standard definition, and while the company says it is "looking at upgrading" to HD streaming, there's no set date for launch.

With Presto set to be shuttered, Play will be Foxtel's only entertainment service delivered via broadband. Presto was subscription video on demand, pure and simple, offering TV or movie packages AU$9.99 per month, or a combined TV and movies package, known as Presto Entertainment, for AU$14.99.

Foxtel Play, on the other hand, is the service Foxtel has long used to deliver pay TV over an internet connection to customers who cannot be served by traditional cable, or those who don't want the lock-in pay TV contract.

Play combines live Foxtel channels with catch up content, movies on demand and series-linked TV shows.

Despite the differences between the two services, Foxtel is keen to get Presto subscribers to make the switch ahead of Presto officially switching off in January 2017, comparing the new Play to big names like HBO Now in the United States.

The lowdown

Devices: You don't need a Foxtel box to get Play. You just need to download the Play app on a compatible smart TV, console, laptop or PC, and then use your regular internet connection to stream content (as you would with Presto or Netflix). Foxtel has also said it will launch a new puck-style set-top box to support Play and other streaming services, similar to Telstra TV.

Pricing: There are five entry-level tiers themed around different genres, starting at AU$10 per month. Sports and Movies are then added on to one or more of these entry-level streams.

  • Kids -- $10
  • Lifestyle -- $10
  • Documentary -- $10
  • Drama -- $15
  • Entertainment -- $15
  • Drama & Entertainment -- $25
  • Sport (add-on tier) -- $25
  • Movies (add-on tier) -- $20
  • English Football Club channels -- $5 each

Content: According to Foxtel, Play subscribers "will have access to all linear channels in the tier along with all of the on-demand, catch up and library content available to that tier plus mobile and tablet access via Foxtel Go."

Obligatory "Game of Thrones" information: That one show that you claim is the only reason you want Foxtel? The HBO channel, Showcase, will now be available in both the entry-level Drama and Entertainment packages, meaning you can get your Westeros hit for $15 per month.

Existing customers: You'll be switched from the old pricing to a comparable new pricing tier in December when the revamped Play officially launches.

The new channel and pricing structure for Foxtel Play (click to enlarge).

Foxtel

While Foxtel says the new base tiers are priced to compete with streaming, it's clear that you'll be forking out more for a broader pool of content. And with the full complement of channels, including Sport and Movies, setting you back AU$100 per month, this is certainly no Presto replacement.

For Australians that have always wanted Foxtel but haven't been willing to fork out for a contract or a set-top box, the changes to pricing may be a welcome way to get Foxtel with less fuss.

But for Presto customers who have grown accustomed to paying $10 to $15 a month, Netflix or Stan could become their new home of entertainment.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. AEDT: Added detail about standard definition streaming.