App review: Foxtel Go for iPad
- 17 January, 2013 09:35
Foxtel Go is a new app that allows current Foxtel subscribers to watch various live TV channels and selected catch up programs on an iPad. The app is free to use and provides excellent quality video streaming, though the range of programs and channels on offer can be limiting depending on your tastes.
The layout and design of the Foxtel Go app is perhaps its best feature. The interface is both attractive and intuitive with stylish, descriptive text and a Windows 8 like "tile" interface that's heavy on images. There's a home menu with an overview of current available programs, a dedicated live TV section, and a catch up TV section that sorts programs by featured, genre, channels, latest, most popular and more. You can also search for any programs using the search box in the top right corner of the app.
To use the Foxtel Go app, users need to sign in with their Foxtel online username and password. A single Foxtel account can be used to log into two seperate iPads simultaneously, though you need a regular cable or satellite Foxtel home subscription to use the Go app and you can only remove one iPad from a Foxtel Go account per month. Unfortunately, customers with Foxtel on Xbox, Optus TV featuring Foxtel, Foxtel on T-Box and Foxtel on Internet TV can't use the service.
The Foxtel Go app is free but any data used is metered for all networks, including Telstra. Data usage is something to keep in mind — on Wi-Fi the app uses a maximum of 877MB of data per hour, while on 3G or 4G it uses up to 290MB per hour. The hefty data usage is put to good use though as the quality of video is excellent on both Wi-Fi and 3G/4G connections. Generally, both live and catch-up TV streams take about 10-15 seconds to buffer to the best quality.
Content is obviously limited to the packages you're subscribed to, so non-sport subscribers can't view any live or catch up sports channels, for example. There are 28 live TV channels to choose from in total as well as four Fox Sports Plus channels that stream live English Premier League football. There's no cricket or AFL, though, and it remains to be seen whether the app will stream live NRL matches in 2013.
Foxtel says it will add more channels to the Go service in the future. Some channels not yet available on the app include ESPN, Fox 8, The Comedy Channel and Discovery. Naturally, you can view an in-app EPG for all Foxtel Go channels. The content available is quite varied but the missing channels list is quite hefty so there's plenty of room for improvement.
There's unfortunately no way to stream the Foxtel Go app to an Apple TV system, and you can't watch Go content on your TV even if you connect the iPad using a HDMI cable. Users can remote record shows from Foxtel Go onto an IQ box, but it's not possible to record shows onto the iPad itself. There's also no way for the Go app to access saved recordings on an iQ box, which would be a killer feature.
The Foxtel Go app allows Foxtel subscribers to watch various live TV channels and selected catch up programs on an iPad. The app is free to use and provides excellent quality video streaming, though the range of programs and channels on offer can be limiting depending on your tastes.
Rating: 4.25 / 5
Developer: Foxtel Management Pty Ltd
Requirements: iPad with iOS 5.0 or later
Reviewed on: Apple iPad mini
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