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Foxtel announces new features, upgrades website

Foxtel has upgraded its website with full-screen video and better EPG search facilities, and will be followed by new Foxtel features over the next 12 months.

Foxtel has upgraded its website with new features including full-screen video and better search facilities, and is the first of a series of changes leading up to the company's next major launch in October.

Each page on the new site features a video player which includes previews of first-run shows and Box Office content, but the new search should also appeal to many existing customers. The search bar now links into the Foxtel Guide and customers are able to program an IQ directly from there. Content is also now searchable by genre (Movies, Sport, etc) and subgenre (Cricket, Thrillers, etc) for up to 14 days in advance. You can also Series Link from it.

The site also gives customers access to their Foxtel account online and services like billing, checking or changing technician appointments, ordering movies and Main Event, as well as using direct debit.

Foxtel chief executive Kim Williams said: "With our new website, foxtel.com.au, we are taking customers in a bold new direction in the online world".

Williams added that Foxtel will "make announcements in the next 12 months than we ever have before". These will include a doubling of HD channels, external portability of content via the iQ2Go service and downloads come October.

Foxtel added that similar changes will happen in October with the on-board Foxtel guide, which will include thumbnails and enhanced search.

Many of the the new Foxtel services will be dependent on the launch of an Optus satellite which will give the company more bandwidth in a content sharing deal between the two companies.

Meanwhile, all of the free-to-air channels have announced new multichannels which are designed to allow a "free" alternative to subscription services like Foxtel.

When asked, Williams said only some of these new channels would be available on Foxtel this year, and that Seven's multichannel service (due to be announced in the coming weeks) wouldn't be available till October due to "bandwidth restrictions".

The new Foxtel website features full-screen video and show previews (Credit: Foxtel)