After more than a few delays and mounting speculation as to its features, the Foxtel iQ3 set top box is finally out there on the market for subscribers to buy. Here's what you'll pay for it, what it does, and when you can get one.
What Is It?
The Foxtel iQ3 box is the company's latest set-top box to enter the market. It's a major departure from previous models, simply because it melds both satellite services with new IPTV functionality. New features lean heavily on the fact that the iQ3 can be connected to the 'net.
The new box is crammed full of tuners so you can watch three shows at once while recording a fourth, and also pack in free-to-air channels as well. Thanks to that IP connectivity, you now do a whole bunch of funky internet-related stuff with your new box.
It has a new feature called Start Over, which allows you to jump back to the beginning of any show after it has commenced, and a similar feature called Look Back which lets the users take a look at the previous 24 hours and select any show to stream via the IPTV connection.
Streaming options go deeper than that, however. A centralised synopsis page has been built for each show and film, which analyses packages that users have on their service and pushes the cheapest and most convenient options for them to stream a title directly to the box. The synopsis page will push the Boxsets channel, on-demand streaming and live viewing, depending on what's available at that time and in that customer's package.
As far as connectivity is concerned, the box comes with its own 802.11ac connectivity and has been tweaked to work perfectly with the new Foxtel Media Gateway Wi-Fi modem you get if you're a Foxtel Broadband subscriber.
Futhermore, the new Foxtel remote doesn't communicate via Infrared, instead pairing to the box using Bluetooth so you can point and click anywhere.
The box packs in a new 1TB hard drive which Foxtel says can hold 172 hours of HD content, or 345 hours of SD content.
Sadly, the hard drive isn't upgradeable. There's even a label on the back that stresses the fact that "no user serviceable parts" are inside the unit if you crack it open.
The iQ3 box comes in at two different price points, depending on how savvy you are when it comes to setting it up.
The box itself is $125. If you want to install it yourself, Foxtel will extract a $25 fee from you, or if you want a professional to do it, you'll pay $75 for a technician to come round.
Current customers can upgrade via their My Account page online or give Foxtel a call to arrange it. All new customers can pay and receive an iQ3 when they sign up.
The iQ3 will begin shipping to customers from today, Monday 23 March. No more waiting for the new hardware for us!