EXCLUSIVE: New Foxtel iQ3 Missing A Few Capabilities
On top of this their new iQ3 set top box which the overpriced subscription TV network rolled out last week, in an effort to take on Netflix is missing a few capabilities.
Among them a lack of 4K TV streaming, also missing from the box according to people who have seen the new iQ3 which is made by UK Company Pace is a HEVC chipset which streams content up to 40% faster than the chipset Foxtel has opted for.
Initally we indicated that high speed A/C WI Fi was also missing from the box. This is not the case we since been told that the new iQ3 will support A/C Wi Fi.
Both Netgear and D Link are now rolling out new A/C routers that support multiple devices while delivering significantly faster broadband throughput which is needed as more streaming content is made available.
It’s also been revealed that 10 per cent of Foxtel’s customers are considering cancelling or downgrading their subscriptions A report by Venture Consulting found about 250,000 Foxtel subscribers expect to use a streaming service in the next three months and also plan to cut or reduce their cable or satellite subscriptions.
Foxtel chief executive Richard Freudenstein shrugged off the report’s findings.
On Friday Foxtel revealed to selected media their new iQ3 box which they claimed was “ideal for streaming” content from their Presto service.
The only problem is that it does not have the latest codec that compresses a video file into a smaller package, making it easier to store or transmit.
The next generation of codecs – including a technology called HEVC is key for any new boxes being launched in Australia. The new Humax and Fetch TV boxes due later this year will have the new codec, so will several Blu-ray players from the likes of Samsung, LG, Sony and Panasonic.
The most notable improvements that HEVAC delivers is for the streaming of 4K, and Ultra HD video content which will be available from Netflix tomorrow.
Also known as H.265, this new video codec compress video files to half the size possible using the encoding format, MPEG-4 which is already vailable on Blu-ray discs and some satellite TV broadcasts.
HEVC is used to compress video with 4K resolution – and possibly even 8K resolution in the future – so it can be efficiently delivered.
Foxtel has not commented about the internal capabilities of their new box which like the current model iQ2 is missing key capabilities despite Foxtel charging users up to $150 a month to get access to services on the new box.
They also want to charge current subscribers $125 to get the new iQ3 installed.
Missing from the iQ2 when it launched was Wi Fi, and the ability to attach an expanded storage capability that allowed users to record more than the 500GB.
New generation televisions support 4K video via HEVC. Sony’s Ultra HD Media Player stores 4K HEVC downloads on a 2TB hard drive.
High-definition video can take a lot of data.
A full-HD image has about 2 million pixels and up to several million colours per individual frame, with hundreds of thousands of frames making up a movie.
Foxtel who is 50% owned by Telstra and 50% by News Corporation have been promising the iQ3 for more than two years.
Foxtel claim that their new box incorporates free-to-air TV, Foxtel channels and its video-on-demand content to stream, including Game of Thrones which will be available the same time as it airs in the USA.
What Foxtel is bragging about is Start Over, a new feature which allows viewers to go back to the beginning of a show that has already started in case you tuned in late.
They also claim that the user interface on the iQ3 is also heavily improved, it had to be as the current version is nearly five years old and significantly lacking when compared to the UI on the Fetch TV box.
While Foxtel claimer faster loading times they are refusing to identify the codec used in the new box.
The new box allows users to watch three shows at once while recording a fourth.
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.
The iQ3 has also finally been upgraded to a 1TB hard drive which Foxtel says can hold 172 hours of HD content, or 345 hours of SD content.
The drive cannot be upgraded neither can you attach an external drive to record additional content.
There’s even a label on the back that claims “no user serviceable parts” are inside the unit if you open the box to inspect it.
The iQ3 box comes in at two prices:
The box itself is $125. If you want to install it yourself, Foxtel will charge you a $25 fee if you want a professional to do it or $75 for a technician to visit your home.