Foxtel and Microsoft have announced five subscription packages for the Foxtel on Xbox 360 service set to launch in November. It will offer users of the Xbox 360 Live service access to 30 channels of Foxtel content over the internet, without paying for a Foxtel installation or set-top box.
The basic Get Started package will cost "less than" AU$20 per month, with additional channel packages adding AU$10 each per month to the subscription.
In addition to a mix of live streamed content and catch-up TV, all subscriptions include access to Foxtel's On Demand content of movies and TV series. Fees for renting On Demand programs range from AU$5.95 for new release movies down to AU$1.95 for children's TV episodes. Foxtel claims that its On Demand library is scheduled to grow to 5000 movies and TV episodes by the end of 2011.
|Package ||Live streamed channels ||Catch-up TV|
| Get Started || FOX8, MTV, Nickelodeon, Channel [V], LifeStyle You, Discovery, National Geographic Channel, TV1, SKY News, Fox Sports News and CNN,|| Fox8, MTV, Nickelodeon, Channel [V], LifeStyle You, Discovery, National Geographic Channel, Sky News and CNN|
| Entertainment || MTV Hits, MTV Classic, [V] Hits, UKTV, Disney, The Comedy Channel, Discovery Turbo Max, Nat Geo Adventure, Universal Channel, BBC Knowledge, and Sci Fi || UKTV, Disney, The Comedy Channel, Discovery Turbo Max, Nat Geo Adventure and BBC Knowledge |
|Sports|| Fox Sports Play, ESPN, Eurosport and Fuel TV ||No catch-up service¹|
| Showtime || Showcase and Showtime Premiere || Showtime Premiere, Showtime Comedy, Showtime Drama, Showtime Family, Showtime Horror and Showtime Action |
|The Movie Network|| Movie One and Movie Two || Movie Extra, Movie One, Movie Greats, Starpics, FMC, and online channels Movie Comedy, Movie Action and Movie Drama |
¹While there is no catch-up service per se, Fox Sports Play is an Xbox 360 unique channel that will be programmed to feature a collection of Australian sports programming including Hyundai A-League Football, Barclays Premier League Football, Rugby Union Spring Tour, KFC Twenty20 Big Bash, India vs. New Zealand Test Cricket, Live Boxing, ATP World Tour Tennis Finals and more.
Registrations for the service open in early November on Foxtel's website providing you are in a metropolitan area of Australia covered by Foxtel, and you have a subscription to the Xbox Live service as well as a broadband connection with speeds of at least 1.5MB per second.
Editor's Update: When this service was first announced in May, we were under the — incorrect as it turns out — impression that one of the benefits would be that it would make Foxtel content available in areas not currently serviced by the subscription TV provider. Today we've confirmed that to get Foxtel on Xbox 360, you must register an address that it is within the postcode boundaries currently serviced by Foxtel.
Foxtel also confirmed that the service will use up to 800MB per hour when viewing live television at the "optimum quality", while catch-up TV and video on demand streams will vary in line with the length of the content.
It seems the decision on whether this somewhat less expensive service is right for you will come down to whether you are already paying the Xbox Live subscription (AU$8/month), can't snag one of Foxtel's free installation offers, don't really want HD content, and aren't concerned about potentially blowing out your broadband plan data caps.