I'm not sure what to make of this report in the Oz today that Telstra is planning on taking their transition from phone network to media company to the next level early next year by launching a set-top box to take on TiVo. Part of me loves the idea - getting legal content from the interwebs to your TV is still way too difficult for most people today, and if done right, a BigPond STB could be everything the Apple TV should have been. But then again, it is Telstra, and until we hear some firm pricing - especially for people not on BigPond's broadband network - we have to expect the worst.
The box itself, according to the Oz's source, will not just stream content from the net (like the Roku Netflix box from the US), it will also feature two TV tuners (no mention of whether they'll be HD or SD) and an EPG, and will stream both TV shows and movies from BigPond. And although this is entirely speculation on my part, considering BigPond has their music store as well, I expect it would offer music downloads as well, essentially making it an Apple TV with a TV tuner inside...The Australian article also offered up this exciting promise for gaming fans out there:
"The internet TV content market is expected to explode next year, with video rental chains, internet service providers, telcos, pay-TV companies, television networks and gaming console makers such as Sony PlayStation and Xbox all competing to deliver content to television sets."
Does that mean we'll see the launch of the Australian Playstation movie store or more video downloads through Xbox Live, like our US and UK cousins? Could 2009 be the year that we actually catch up with the rest of the western world in terms of VOD opportunities?
Unfortunately we won't know until sometime next year. But if this report about BigPond's STB is true, then it looks like it's going to be a good year for Aussie VOD anyway.