Foxtel Australia today announced "Foxtel New Generation", with a raft of new features scheduled for a November 15 launch, but downloadable content will be fast-tracked to kick off from Thursday, October 1.
"Download" was the word that kept rising above the bulleted list of new features, with Foxtel Download packaged free for Foxtel subscribers. Find out more about it here. Foxtel CEO Kim Williams said there would be 400 hours of content available to download at launch and that this would increase in the coming months.
Pricing for Foxtel Next Generation subscriptions ranges from $72 to $135, with plenty of new options to consider.
30 new channel choices including themed movie channels; new sports and doco channels; 12 new channel brands; 15 High Definition Channels including four dedicated HD sports channels and six HD movie channels; eight new timeshift channels; 10 new HD channels; a new movie service with 16 dedicated movie channels; new iQ value packs including one with an iQ for free; Foxtel Download; a new Foxtel guide for iQ and updated guide for iQ2; new search features with iSuggest for iQ and iQ2 subscribers; Record Me; a new Foxtel Box Office, Movies on Demand, with up to 40 recent release movies; and new localised services for Sky News and an improved Weather Active.
Usability features that stood out were Record Me, which makes it a cinch to program a recording by responding to an icon screened during a promo, and iSuggest, which brings movie posters in an iTunes-like interface as a way of making easier choices of content, which are categorised as: Must See, Sports, Knowledge & Adventure, Drama & Lifestyle, Kids & Music, and HD.
From October 1, all Foxtel iQ2 set-top units will start receiving a software upgrade delivering new features to the onscreen Foxtel iQ Guide. From November 1, the same software upgrade will be delivered progressively to all Foxtel iQ set-top-units.
Foxtel went to some lengths to launch Next Generation, staging a high-def multimedia-palooza in Stage 2 at Fox Studios in Sydney's Moore Park and introducing its stable of young stars that will form the "faces" of Foxtel across its new channel brands.
But after it was all over, it was Williams' words about Foxtel Download that were the easiest to carry away: "Now, Foxtel is not only about when and what you watch, but where you watch it".
Amen to that. Bring it on.