Internet television in Australia
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Internet television in Australia is the digital distribution of movies and television content via the Internet. In Australia, Internet television is provided by five major pay-per-view providers, in addition to several niche television streaming services. Australia's five major free-to-air television networks all offer catch up TV of previously broadcast content to watch via the Internet or via podcasts - drawing on both domestic and foreign content. A feature of Internet television is that a user can view TV or video on demand. Some distributors provide content as downloads, whiles other streaming media; the main difference being that with downloads the end-user must have storage capacity for the content on their device and must wait for the download to be completed before the content can be viewed, while streamed content can be viewed almost immediately, but is not stored for a later second viewing.
Whether downloaded or streamed, video files over the Internet are usually metered in Australia, with most ISPs setting download quotas which can limit the downloads that a subscriber can make without incurring additional costs. ISPs also provide plans with unlimited downloads. Some ISPs offer downloads on a quota-free basis for partnered television services, which is also known as "unmetered" content.
FetchTV launched a cable-like subscription service in 2010, offering English and foreign-language pay-TV channels, some on-demand content and the functionality of a personal video recorder at a cost of about $20 to $30. The ABC has also held talks regarding its on-demand "iview" content being shown on Fetch TV.
iiNet launched the service in July 2010. Internode also launched an Early Adopters Trial program for a select number of customers in September 2010 with plans to release to the general public late 2010/early 2011 and Adam Internet announced their plans to launch the service only days after the Internode trial had begun. Note that FetchTV is NOT related to FetchTV UK.
- ISP iiNet announced an IPTV partnership with FetchTV in April 2010 to offer unmetered free-to-air and subscription channels along with a movie library and pay-per-view service. It has also indicated it is researching Internet Television offerings, in addition to possible FetchTV and TiVo deals.
FlipTV is an IPTV company in Australia delivering worldwide content via the internet direct to a home TV for viewing through television programming.
Bigpond Movies and TV
In February 2006, Telstra launched Bigpond Movies, a video on demand rental service. The service uses progressive download, which downloads a video (rather than streaming) and allows viewers to commence watching once enough of the download is completed and can then view the movie uninterrupted to its finish.
Bigpond Movies offers movies for rental and for purchase, as well as purchasing of TV shows from some networks. The service is only available on Windows PCs, certain LG and Samsung devices as well as Telstra devices such as the 'T-Box'. Bigpond Movies (and Bigpond TV) are available quota-free to Bigpond ISP customers, but not other Australian Internet users.
Telstra released "T-Box" in mid-2010, initially to Melbourne Bigpond cable customers. T-Box is a digital set-top box and personal video recorder with access to free-to-air TV channels and an ability to rent movies and TV episodes using Telstra home broadband. It can also access BigPond Internet TV channels and BigPond Movies, as well as apps like YouTube. The T-Box is no longer available for sale, being replaced with Telstra TV; but existing T-Boxes continue to be functional.
Foxtel Now launched an on-demand full-length internet download service in September 2009, as well as free "catch up TV" service, to Foxtel subscribers (broadband-only subscriptions are under consideration). Customers can only download content from the channels they subscribe to as part of their Foxtel subscription. They will also offer streaming video beginning when they show the Olympics.
PlayStation launched a Video on Demand service call Video Unlimited in February 2010. This was subsequently rebranded to PlayStation Video and offers movies and television shows for rental or purchase on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 consoles, Sony Bravia TVs, Sony Xperia mobile devices and Windows or Mac computers.
PlayStation also has partnerships with a variety of 3rd party video services and as of December 2016 offered access to Foxtel Now, Stan, Quickflix, Presto, AnimeLab and Australian TV catch-up services ABC iview, SBS On Demand, tenplay, 7plus and 9now as well as Netflix, YouTube and other international services.
Microsoft Australia launched a movie rental service in November 2009 for Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners, via the Australian Zune Video Marketplace. Movies are available in standard or high definition, and can be streamed or downloaded.
In August 2008, Apple Inc. computer began offering movies for rental and for purchase, as well as purchasing of TV show titles from ABC in the US, ABC Australia, the Disney Channel, MTV, and Channel 9.
Content is provided via the iTunes Australia Store and is viewable on iTunes on Windows or Mac, as well as on the Apple TV (a set top box), iPhones, iPads & video capable iPods. iiNet and its subsidiary Westnet offer iTunes content quota free.
CASPA on TiVo
In December 2009, TiVo launched a new service for downloading TV shows and movies to TiVo subscribers, named CASPA. CASPA was discontinued in December 2013 and replaced with Quickflix, a third-party service.
TPG customers can access IPTV channels like Bloomberg TV, Al Jazeera and Russia Today. It is the only ISP to offer streaming subscription TV channels direct to its subscribers. This is currently a free trial, and channels are sent unencrypted and viewed on customer's computers. It is only available to select TPG Soul exchanges. TPG have signed a licence agreement to air Foxtel channels on their IPTV service in 2015.
Catch up TV
Australia's five major free-to-air terrestrial television networks all offer catch up TV which enables viewers to stream previously broadcast content or to view the content online as it is being broadcast. Each network streams catch up programs, which is available for only a limited time, through their website, app, smartTVs or internet service providers, some of which offer quota-free downloads. The catch up services currently use IP Address Geolocation to ensure only Australian users can view the content and Adobe Flash.
The names given by the FTA networks to their catch up services are:
- The Australian Broadcasting Corporation — iview service to Australian-based users, Sony and Samsung internet connected TVs, and the iPad, showing earlier episodes of foreign and ABC produced content (quota-free on Adam, iiNet, Internode, Primus, and a number of other providers if streamed through using Flash - i.e. excludes internet connected TVs and iPad). ABC also podcasts some of its content on program-specific websites.
- SBS — SBS on demand.
- The Seven Network — 7plus, which launched on 27 November 2017.
- The Nine Network — 9Now, which launched on 27 January 2016.
- Network Ten — Tenplay, which launched on 29 September 2013.
Other streaming and download providers include:
- Bigpond Movies
- Dendy Direct
- Love Nature
- Quickflix — Quickflix started offering an Internet streaming service in late 2011. The service includes a limited number of television series. Quickflix was sold to US-owned company, Karma Media Holdings for $1.3m.
- YouTube Premium
- Traditional subscription television providers also offer non-Internet based PPV - Foxtel, Austar, Optus, and TransACT
- Reeltime.tv was setting up a movie rental service to its own set top boxes. It was placed in receivership in early 2008, and its assets purchased by EzyDVD to form their EzyDownload movie rental service. EzyDVD was placed into receivership at the end of 2008.
- Samsung confirmed in November 2009 that it would launch its own internet-delivered TV service to Samsung TV sets in Australia by the March quarter of 2010, featuring video content negotiated globally by Samsung and with local partners such as Channel Nine and nine.com.au. In April 2010, Samsung announced a content deal with Telstra's Bigpond TV, as did LG. In June 2011 Samsung TVs with the internet@TV/SMARTtv can install the ABC TVs iview app.
- Sony launched its Bravia Internet TV in February, offering access to Network Seven's 7plus Catch Up TV service, with plans to offer movie rentals. In April 2010 Sony announced that the ABC iview would also be available via Bravia Internet TV, and the Bravia Internet TV would be incorporated into Sony's upcoming S370 Blu-ray player - although access to ABC's iview will not be unmetered even for customers of ISPs which offer unmetered browser-based iview access. Access to SBS's catch-up IPTV was added in June 2010. Sony is also in discussions with TV networks to feature their programming along with Sony's international content deals. In addition, both services are currently available though Sony's PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 video game consoles.
- iiNet offer streamed content such as NASA TV via their iiNet Freezone to customer computers
- A range of new 'Over the Top' (OTT) streaming TV services came online in early 2015.
- Television in Australia
- Digital television in Australia
- Internet in Australia
- Australian Interactive Media Industry Association
- Subscription television in Australia
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