EXCLUSIVE: Acer Warehousing Over 125,000 Dead iQ3 Boxes
The Company that has the job of processing tens of thousands of dead Foxtel iQ3 boxes is Acer according to Foxtel sources.
A secret Homebush warehouse owned by Acer, is being used by the Taiwanese PC Company, to process the problematic Foxtel iQ3 set top boxes that have recently been withdrawn from being offered by the pay TV Company.
Acer won the contract to process the problematic set top boxes last year, the Taiwanese Company has refused to confirm that they are currently warehousing, tens of thousands of returned boxes that have failed both upgrade and reboot tests.
According to Foxtel engineering sources more than 125,000 Foxtel iQ3 boxes “are beyond fixing” resulting in the most profitable media Company in Australia taking a multimillion dollar hit on the iQ3 which is plagued with continuing software problems despite repeated upgrades to the OS.
Developed by UK Company Pace, the iQ3 was “rushed to market” in an effort to take Netflix head-on back in March 2015.
Foxtel personnel who have since been laid off by Foxtel who is currently axing over 100 jobs, said that management at Foxtel were warned that the iQ3 was “not ready to ship” due to software and processor problems.
A visit to the Foxtel User Forum reveals that hundreds of consumers have had problems with the iQ3 from users not being able to get a picture to the screen after the box has been switched on, to content freezing to extremly slow processing of commands.
ChannelNews understands that a Pace owned Company in India was working on the software problems plaguing the iQ3 and that in recent reports to Foxtel, they warned that the problems associated with the iQ3 could not be fixed to a level where consumers are able to achieve “satisfactory management” of their set top box.
Recently Foxtel management took the decision to stop supplying the iQ3, instead engineers are now recommending that the Company resorts to installing the old iQ2 box.
Back in March 2013, Both SmartHouse and ChannelNews were one of the very few media Companies to tell readers that the iQ3 was riddled with problems and missing capabilities.
Foxtel management at the time told SmartHouse that “We were not being reasonable” with our review of the iQ3.
Earlier this week Fairfax Media revealed that Foxtel’s owners News Corp and Telstra have postponed a planned $8 billion initial public offering until 2017 due to the sheer volume of work that needs to be done to prepare their structurally challenged pay television joint venture for a share market listing.
Stabilising or even replacing the iQ3 is one of many items on that list.
ChannelNews understands that the Company has been in talks with US Company Roku about the iQ3 problems. Engineers from both Foxtel and Telstra have looked at the possibility of introducing a Roku style box.
A spokesman for Foxtel, told Fairfax Media: “We have and are continuing to make software updates to improve stability and features of the iQ3 box.
“We are confident that any problems some customers have experienced either have been addressed or will be in the near future.”
Recently Foxtel chief executive Peter Tonagh accelerates plans for a much cheaper and smaller, so-called “puck” device that could offer multiple entertainment services over a broadband network.
However this has not gone down well with Telstra management who late last year rolled out a similar service called Telstra TV that was based on a Roku developed box.
Foxtel currently has 2.6 million cable and satellite subscribers. The Company is under threat from Fetch TV who during the past 12 months have significantly grown their subscriber base which today is over 400,000 and growing at over 35,000 a month.
Fetch, which is available through Optus and iiNet and Dodo.