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Telstra TV2 helps binge watchers find their next addiction

Telstra's next-gen set-top box will let you search for shows across every Aussie streaming service, as well as catch-up and live TV.

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Telstra

Too many streaming services? Telstra wants to make it easier for you to trawl through all that sweet, sweet content and it's releasing a new set-top box to help you do it.

Telstra Thursday announced the upcoming launch of Telstra TV2 -- the follow up to its original set-top box launched in 2015.

The big selling point of the new device is it will let you find content across all of your streaming services -- including Netflix, Stan, Foxtel Now and Telstra's own Big Pond -- as well as free-to-air and catch-up TV.

There are no details on price or launch date, beyond the second quarter of 2018, but we do know it will also connect with a mobile app that Telstra says will "give users a linked experience at home or on the go," and customised viewing based on usage patterns.

The telco first launched its Roku-based Telstra TV in October 2015, purely for Telstra customers. At the time, Netflix and Stan had been in Australia less than a year, while other local players such as Ezyflix and Quickflix were already shuttered or on their way out.

But now that the streaming market has stabilised (Netflix and Stan have firmly planted roots and Presto has closed, to be replaced by Foxtel's revamped Foxtel Now) it's a good time for Telstra to leverage its massive base of connected customers and give them a central hub for exploring everything Australian TV and streaming has to offer.

The ability to search across every form of content (free-to-air, catch-up and streaming) is similar to the user interface offered by services such as Freeview Plus (using hybrid broadband TV technology) -- which lets you view free-to-air and catch-up TV in one interface, similar to a Foxtel EPG or Netflix catalogue.

We're also hoping Telstra's new search feature is as convenient as services like JustWatch -- a site that lets you search for particular movies and TV titles and shows you all the legal ways to access that title across Australia's myriad streaming and download-to-own services.

Australia has come a long way since the pre-Netflix days. With better streaming offerings and more free-to-air channels offering live and catch-up TV, it's high time there was a service that made it easier to wade through everything on offer.

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