Stream 4K TV wirelessly, you don’t need a dish, but you can bring antennas. Here’s what you need to know about the Foxtel iQ5.
CCapable television has long been called that for a reason. And Australia’s largest provider, Foxtel, has been connecting black boxes to coaxial cable since 1995.
But this approach is about to change permanently. The cable that has delivered millions of hours of TV shows, movies, music, and difficult decisions about what to watch is about to be cut and replaced with wireless transmission and a miniature box that you can install yourself. Other big changes are coming, too, including new apps, sharper content, and the return of the TV antenna.
We hooked up Foxtel’s new iQ5 set-top box to find out what you need to know about the new era of cable-free pay TV.
WHY CUT THE CABLE?
There is no need to run a long black wire from the well into the street, run it through your house, and install an outlet with this TV set.
And it doesn’t matter anymore if you’re renting, planning to move your TV, or can’t get cable in your area.
The $ 199 iQ5 only needs power, a TV connection, and your Wi-Fi password.
Of course, you can choose to connect more cables to this box for a better experience.
There are color-coded ports on the back of this device for connecting an Ethernet cable from your router for consistent download speeds, for screwing in a satellite cable to avoid download charges, and for connecting a TV antenna. More on that later.
In addition to greater simplicity, Foxtel (which is partly owned by News Corp) also cut the wire to its set-top boxes to prepare them for the future. NBN Co will take full ownership of Australia’s HFC network in mid-2023, which would have left satellite dishes as the main means of connection for pay TV. This move simplifies the connection.
CLICK AND TRANSMISSION
Australian audiences no longer just sit and watch television as scheduled. They also lean forward, click a lot of buttons, see a lot of previews, and finally request the show of their choice.
With this decoder, Foxtel stresses that it can also do this.
There are reportedly 50,000 hours of on-demand TV available with a full Foxtel subscription, and redesigned menus make it easy to discover.
Find a show you like, for example, and you can discover other seasons and stream episodes with a couple of clicks instead of waiting for your timeslot.
For many, this could mean the end of recording or downloading programs.
For those who prefer to store them safely, this box fits into an optional cradle that is actually a terabyte hard drive. It’s a slick design and an addition that should suit those who are upgrading from old boxes in particular.
AND OTHER SHOWS?
Foxtel added Netflix to its menus in 2019 and now has a count of six apps from different services, ranging from SBS to YouTube.
Apps for Vevo Music, Amazon Prime Video, and all major TV channels are promised by the end of the year.
But there is something worth noting about watching broadcast programs in this box: it requires an antenna.
The iQ5 cannot broadcast these channels, but will add them to your program guide if you can hook up a rooftop antenna or hook up a few. rabbit ears.
Those who connect an antenna will be rewarded with access to all FTA broadcasts, including high definition channels that are not currently being broadcast to satellite users.
When combined with access to Foxtel’s two ultra-high definition channels for movies and sports, this could make the iQ5 a sensible upgrade for those with demanding 8K TV screens.
Of course, you will need a reasonably fast and generous broadband connection to make use of this Foxtel device.
Streaming programs in 4K requires a download speed of 12 megabits per second (18 for the best picture), and streaming an hour of HD content uses approximately two gigabytes of data. Most NBN plans will accept it.
It’s also worth noting that the TV tuners inside this device will also allow you to record one FTA show at a time, although that should be less of a problem when the update apps launch.
VERDICT FOXTEL IQ5
This compact black box is a smart upgrade for multiple reasons.
The iQ5 is likely to appeal to viewers with big-screen TVs hungry for high-definition and 4K content, as well as those who don’t want to be tied to one direction with cables or satellite dishes.
Buyers should go the extra mile to connect an antenna to this device when it launches later this year, but it definitely brings what was cable TV (d) into the streaming age.
Originally posted as Foxtel iQ5 review: what you need to know about the cable TV box that cuts the cable