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Australian Open goes HD and ad-free on mobile, but only if you pay

The Seven Network is leaping into the modern era of digital entertainment, but while that means you'll be able to stream tennis on your mobile, you'll need to pay for the good stuff.

If you want to watch Serena Williams ad-free and in HD, you'll need to pay for Seven's Australian Open app.
Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

You'll be able to watch the Australian Open in HD and ad-free this summer, but you'll need to pay $10 for the privilege.

The Seven Network has confirmed the tennis will be back on air in January, with the traditional TV broadcast being complemented by a "freemium" app. According to Seven, the app will let viewers "upgrade" their Australian Open experience, with 600 matches available to live-stream in HD, as well as select long-form full match replays and "less commercial content."

But there's a catch: You'll need to pay a one-off fee of AU$9.99 to get the app.

For everyone else, the regular 7Tennis mobile app (which has been updated for this summer) will offer 2,000 hours of live tennis for free as well as short-form highlights available on demand. But you'll get it in standard definition, and you'll be stuck with the ads.

The major networks have pushed hard to diversify out of linear broadcasting to get into the digital space with on-demand and catch-up apps on TV and mobile. It's a necessity, as Australians get accustomed to seamless streaming online. But Australia's big commercial networks were initially slow to the party, and early iterations of their on-demand services were cludgy compared to established digital players like Netflix.

Seven's Chief Digital Officer Clive Dickens says the new app will meet viewer needs.

"We have listened to our audience and not only do they think all Australian sport should be free but they also told us they would be willing to pay for additional features like HD Streaming, extra content and less commercials," said Dickens.

While you might have bought that brand new HD TV to get ready for all your sport in 2017, Seven's move into mobile could be a sign of things to come.

And with Seven going into the next few years with the rights to the AFL, Melbourne Cup, Winter Olympics and Commonwealth Games in 2018, we may see more HD content moving to mobile for a price.