We shout about the importance of availability when it comes to entertainment services all the time in the hope that one day we'll be able to watch anything, anywhere. Foxtel seems to have finally heard us, and is today putting it's catch-up TV service, Foxtel Go, onto the iPad. We've been using it, and man, is it pretty.
The app is stunning to look at. As you can see from the horizontal-scrolling title page right through to the show feeds on the Catch-Up page, this app is all kinds of sexy. It's got a Windows 8-look to it and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.
The app won't let you into any shows without a Foxtel log-in. This isn't something you can just go and get for free, you need a Foxtel or Austar subscription to use this app. That's a big problem, because that kicks out the people who want Foxtel but don't have a TV or set-top box to watch it with. You can use multiple devices for Foxtel Go, however, so conceivably you could just borrow a friend's account and kick in a few bucks to their bill each month.
Once you've logged in, shows that are available on your package come up with a full, high-resolution thumbnail. If you're not subscribed to that particular package, you see a greyed-out thumbnail and a key, meaning no show for you. It's a shame because the one I wanted to watch is my favourite episode of Doctor Who...
The quality of the shows seems to vary. I watched both The Walking Dead and Sky News National and the former came in at what appeared to be 360p, while the latter is currently streaming in beautiful 720p. I'll keep testing and report back, it might be a bandwidth-thing. That is: lower bandwidth available means lower quality shipped to the device.
You can also access the TV guide, set your IQ to record shows and even watch Live TV on via Foxtel Go. All of your channels come up in a vertical list on the right-hand side of the app and you can full-screen any show to watch the action unfold on your tablet.
This app is seriously gorgeous, and thankfully, it's free from the iOS App Store. The only huge bummer is that you can't use it as a stand-alone subscription service. So close, Foxtel, but no cigar. Not yet.