Foxtel HD+ channels launch Sunday

Foxtel will officially launch its HD+ service on Sunday with the World Cup Qualifier between Australia and China and a marketing campaign “Wonders will never cease” across television, print, radio, cinema and online.

“We’ve already seen extremely strong take up of Foxtel HD+ and the Foxtel iQ2 with more than 15,000 of our subscribers upgrading to the new service since it was made available to them in the past few weeks,” said CEO Kim Williams.

There are five dedicated HD channels showing a mix of documentaries and sport, BBC HD, Discovery HD, National Geographic Channel HD, FOX SPORTS HD and ESPN HD. Customers wanting HD will need to pay $200 for the new iQ2 HD set-top box and recorder, then up to $10 a month for iQ rental and $14.95 a month for all five new channels.

The iQ2 has a 320GB hard-drive, some of which will be used to deliver Box Office HD movies On Demand service.

Press Release:

FOXTEL today announced it would officially launch its much anticipated FOXTEL HD+ service on Sunday, June 22 and confirmed more than 15,000 FOXTEL subscribing homes have already upgraded to FOXTEL HD+ and the FOXTEL iQ2 set-top-unit.

To celebrate the official launch of FOXTEL HD+, Sunday’s World Cup Qualifier between Australia and China will be broadcast in High Definition for the first time on FOX SPORTS HD (CH 205) from 6.00pm (AEST).

FOXTEL will also launch a comprehensive and emotive television, print, radio and online marketing campaign, titled “Wonders will never cease” commencing Sunday, June 22.

The “Wonders will never cease” marketing campaign celebrates the launch of FOXTEL HD+ as the next great milestone in Australian television history. The creative concept explores how television has been an exciting and ever-evolving integral part of Australian lives throughout the past 50 years.

The television spot celebrates Australian entertainment history with the commencement of television, the transition to colour TV, the first remote control, watching a video at home, the move to DVDs, the birth of subscription television and introduction of FOXTEL’s innovative products including the FOXTEL iQ and the new FOXTEL iQ2.

The “Wonders will never cease” television campaign will include a further three spots describing the key benefits of FOXTEL HD+ – the exclusive programming, easy to use technology, and excellent customer care.

The campaign will also be adapted for print, radio, online and cinema applications.

FOXTEL Chief Executive and Managing Director Kim Williams AM said: “FOXTEL aims to be true to the concept that ‘Wonders will never cease’ and the new FOXTEL HD+ High Definition television service truly embodies this.”

“The launch of FOXTEL HD+, and the remarkable FOXTEL iQ2 which powers it, is a significant event for Australian television and FOXTEL.

“Over the past 12 years FOXTEL has been a central agent of change and evolution in the Australian television experience and the FOXTEL HD+ service and FOXTEL iQ2 are remarkable additions to the wondrous story of TV in Australia.

“We’ve already seen extremely strong take up of FOXTEL HD+ and the FOXTEL iQ2 with more than 15,000 of our subscribers upgrading to the new service since it was made available to them in the past few weeks.”

With stunningly beautiful HD pictures and immersive surround sound, FOXTEL HD+ will raise the benchmark in quality television by delivering exclusive programming, easy to use technology, and excellent customer care:

* The widest possible choice of High Definition programs with five dedicated 24/7 HD channels BBC HD, Discovery HD, National Geographic Channel HD, FOX SPORTS HD and ESPN HD;
* Australian television premiere blockbuster movies available immediately when you want them through the FOXTEL Box Office HD On Demand service;
* Innovative technology through the new FOXTEL iQ2 disk drive set-top-unit; and
* An unparalleled level of customer service and support, including a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects on the FOXTEL iQ2.

FOXTEL Executive Director of Content, Product Development and Delivery, Patrick Delany said: “FOXTEL HD+ is a quality product supported by an exceptional body of content partners who are providing our subscribers with world-class HD programming.”

“The initial offering of FOXTEL HD+ programming includes sport, documentaries and entertainment – a channel line-up which will expand as time progresses reinforcing the FOXTEL proposition of consumer choice. FOXTEL will further grow this initial offering to include packages for full HD+ coverage of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and the 2012 London Summer Olympics.

“The wide selection of FOXTEL HD+ content is accessed via the reliable functionality and intuitive interface of FOXTEL’s iQ2 set-top-unit. The iQ2 combined with FOXTEL’s great Electronic Program Guide makes time shifting TV to suit the viewer very simple. FOXTEL iQ2 is the ultimate product for personalised entertainment.

“Recording two shows at once, pausing live TV and Series Link are just some of the great features available through the iQ. The iQ2 has all these features plus a 320GB disk drive, the ability to record two shows and watch a third show live, a broadband connection to make it “future proof”, and the capability to show crystal clear, amazingly detailed, High Definition pictures.

“Once subscribed to FOXTEL HD+, FOXTEL provides a lifetime warranty on the iQ2, as well as ongoing service and support for subscribers through FOXTEL’s Customer Call Centre.”

FOXTEL HD+ delivers consumers unparalleled choice of High Definition (HD) television in a quality product that is a surprisingly affordable addition to the current FOXTEL service. FOXTEL HD+ is based on three pillars of exclusive programming, easy to use technology and excellent customer care.

At launch FOXTEL HD+ will offer subscribers five dedicated, 24/7 HD channels, plus FOXTEL Box Office HD movies On Demand. FOXTEL HD+ will raise the benchmark in quality television with a choice in packages to suit the wide range of FOXTEL subscribers.

BBC HD will be a multi-genre general entertainment channel built around three key genres: General Entertainment, Music and Arts and Factual, offering the best international HD content and a line-up of multi award-winning productions from a broad range of programming genres.

Discovery HD showcases a compelling mix of original factual and lifestyle HD programming from the Discovery Networks vast range of channels worldwide. Discovery HD programs will bring audiences even closer to their world featuring programming on the Wonders of the world, ranging from culture, science and natural history, to travel and lifestyle themes.

National Geographic Channel HD is the number one destination for animals, nature, science, history and cultures now to be explored in HD. HD TV from National Geographic Channel will redefine the real world taking viewers to the edge and back as the sound and picture quality reach a new level.

FOX SPORTS HD will deliver sports fans with the highest quality of sports coverage with key local content, including live coverage of selected AFL, NRL, Rugby Union Internationals, Domestic Cricket, The A-League and Socceroos as well as HD coverage of international events and many of FOX SPORTS’ popular magazine programs.

ESPN HD is a leader in international sports coverage, featuring Major League Baseball, NBA Finals, Monday Night Football, Major League Soccer, Motor Sports and the X GAMES. Viewers of ESPN HD will also be able to see news and information shows including First Take, Outside The Lines, NFL LIVE and the US version of SportsCenter.

FOXTEL Box Office HD offers a range of pay-per-view movies in HD that are available On Demand, meaning they can be watched instantly, and at any time. All FOXTEL Box Office HD movies come with a 48-hour viewing ticket, and pause and rewind functionality. Almost all FOXTEL Box Office HD movies will also come with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.

This unrivalled FOXTEL HD+ service will be delivered via the new High Definition FOXTEL iQ2. A stylish, liquid-black set-top-unit, iQ2 provides subscribers with all of the intuitive functionality of FOXTEL’s existing iQ service including the freedom to pause and rewind live TV, and automatically record favourite shows using the Series Link function that means you never miss an episode.

The new FOXTEL iQ2 set-top-unit is armed with a massive 320GB hard disk drive* allowing more space to record shows in High Definition and comes with a HDMI connection.

Subscribers will be able to record approximately 30 hours of HD programming or 90 hours of standard definition (SD) programming. The number of hours recorded will depend on the mix between HD and SD as well as the mix between channel genres.

FOXTEL iQ2 subscribers will also be able to use FOXTEL’s Online Guide through the internet or use a 3G mobile phone to set up the Remote Record functionality to record their favourite programs.

The iQ2 is also future proofed with FOXTEL able to provide software updates to the unit enabling subscribers to access the latest functionality and new technology over time.

*Part of the 320GB will be used to deliver the FOXTEL Box Office HD movies On Demand service.

6 Responses

  1. I think that was the marketing point for Foxtel Box Office, instead of going to the Video store (do they still call them that?) and worrying about late fee’s and returns, you can just click and watch it. Your still paying the same amount of money as a rental.
    As far as ISP free streaming and gaming, they don’t support anything popular and also legal programs like Orbit are able to record and save live streaming vids so in the end it if you want a copy on your comp it ends up as a download.
    The foxtel 2.4 angle may be a little off, it caters to people who can afford it, these days a single person would have more money to spend on cable TV as opposed to a family with less money to throw around. If you can afford it its good, if you don’t want it, then you don’t pay for it.
    Seems like people these days want high quality products for next to free prices.

  2. I would definitely disagree about comment re broadband and availability of the video on demand on internet. There are ISP’s offering TV/video on-demand for which they don’t charge any download/upload quota.
    The problem is that Foxtel is packaged for families with 2.4 children not for single or those with different lifestyle. The only thing a liked about my IQ was On-demand feature and scheduled recording. Even Box-Office was disappointment for me showing movies that were already available on DVD for download or rent.
    The bottom line is we need more competition!

  3. $200 bucks for the upgrade, Foxtel???
    I don’t think so, the service right now is too expensive, why would you pay for the privilege of seeing more of the same? Yes there are 5 HD channels, but unless you a sports nut(ESPNHD)or like British Programming(BBCWorldHD), there is nothing here that would warrant a $200 installation.
    Foxtel HD= Expensive Programming!!

  4. Stan, Foxtel customer service (and the attitude of the company in general, especially their hard-sell door-to-door and phone marketing) has *always* been like Telstra’s – because, despite their best efforts to pretend they’re not Telstra, they basically are.

    Just like everything to do with Foxtel, this HD “service” is a complete ripoff. BBC HD would be, to me, the only worthwhile ting on it, but at that price I’d stick to BitTorrent even if I was willing to pay the small fortune Foxtel wants for their dreaful picture quality and nauseatingly average programming.

    Now, give us HBO or the REAL Showtime in HD and I might reconsider…

  5. I hope they get their launch right.

    The day they announced the service I booked an install, just over 3 weeks later they were supposed to install it, got a call 3 hours into the install window to advise no units were available, after taking the day off work for the install.

    I still haven’t had an explanation, and when I finally got through to a supervisor 2 days later there was no stock available so I’ve had to wait another 2 weeks, and hopefully it will be installed this weekend.

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