Foxtel on Xbox: Internet Caps Will Be Big Enough

Last night at Microsoft we were taken through a quick tour of the upcoming Foxtel service on Xbox LIVE, and caught up with Product Manager Andrew Jenkins to quiz him regarding some of the finer details of the service. First on the agenda - why hasn't Microsoft paired up with an ISP to provide unmetered access to the service?

"When I first came to Australia," says Andrew, "you couldn't find an ISP that would give you a cap bigger than 10GB, but now some companies are offering huge plans. If you're on one of these plans I don't think it'll be an issue."

Initial reports claim that Foxtel on the Xbox 360 will use up about 800MB per hour. Microsoft already has a deal in place with iiNet to provide unmetered downloads - why not do the same with Foxtel?

"Well, Telstra already does unmetered access with its On Demand service," says Andrew, "there's no reason why this won't extend to Xbox LIVE in the future."

Microsoft seemed a little tight-lipped on the unmetered access question, and keen to show the quality of the service itself - and with good reason. Foxtel on LIVE has a lot to offer.

For $20 a month gamers get access to a Getting Started package that includes a host of channels such as Fox 8, MTV, Discovery, and Nickelodean among others. Better still, viewers have the ability to opt in and opt out on a month-to-month basis - no need to sign up for a lengthy contract.

What excited us most, however, was a catch up feature that allows viewers to essentially stream from a back catalogue of shows already shown on Foxtel - essentially negating the need for any kind of recording device, while providing Foxtel users access to a wealth of content.

But would that content include Aussie specific sports such as NRL or AFL?

"You'd probably have to speak to Foxtel about that," begins Andrew, "it's really them that's in control of the content itself."

We contacted Foxtel to gather more info, and are currently waiting on a reply. More details soon.


    No longer can Xboxes, Playstations and Wii's be called "Game Consoles".

    They seemed to have ascended those constraints and become "Media Hubs" instead. All of these consoles now allow for games, movies, music and now TV! I think this is a step in the right direction (even if I think Foxtel is a waste of money).

    So long as Apple doesn't break into this market and ruin it*, I'm happy with whoever wins.

    *It's called an iPHONE, people! NOT an iApp, or iGame. The fact that it struggles making phone calls is a REALLY bad sign... My 2cents.

      The Windows Phone 7 is called a phone, but it has integrated Xbox Live, social integration, app store, etc, so what's your point? I'm sorry, but I don't have any trouble using my iPhone as a phone. It just so happens to have a bunch of other functionalities as well, which I'm quite happy to utilise. If you just want a phone, go get yourself a stock Nokia dude. They're not forcing you to buy their products, you've got a choice.

      OT: Foxtel missed a big one not having any ISP partners. I'm with Josh - I'd rather have iView on my 360. It works brilliantly on the PS3, it has a lot more content I'm interested in, and it's free (iiNet is unmetered :D)

        Well, I can't say I know much about the M$ phone, so I wont comment on it.

        As to the other, You can champion the iPhone in any way you please, but I had to return mine because of the shocking reception issues.

        So other than the "you-might-get-your-calls" reception, it was perfectly fine... Oh wait... that's an iPod Touch...

        You can't call me a hipocrite because I've owned one, I've tried it, it sucked. Apps were nice, but I couldn't care less if it doesn't do it's primary function.

        If you have had positive experiences with it, well, congratulations, I was only speaking from personal experience.

          I was just picking up on the fact that your comment was appended like a parting jab. I had no idea what your personal experiences were like, nor how it altered your perception on their devices.

            people people we all know that any serious tech head uses android phones on account of the open source

      PS3, agreed on. It has DVD renting and buying on it. Then there is all the stuff you can do with it, like connecting it to your PC so you can whatch stuff on your TV without having to put your lugitly downloaded Anime or moive on to a DVD. ;)

      The 360 is the same. Tho, I am not shore on what it dose, as I do not have one.

      The wii on the other hand, is a games console. You can't play DVD's on it. :(

    I'd much prefer the 360 supporting ABC's iView like the PS3 does, that this FOXTEL hoopla.

      Microsoft was set to host ABC Iview, but the agreement fell over. Microsoft wasn't willing to roll it out without a gold (paid) membership, but the ABC's charter prohibits their involvement if Microsoft wasn't willing to include it on the free tier.

      Microsoft wasn't willing to compromise, the ABC was legally prohibited from doing so, so Iview won't be coming to the 360.

    They don't seem to be addressing the issue of people actually paying real money per gigabyte they download. It's a pretty variable scale of how much you pay, but take for example my plan, I pay about $50 per month for internet, I get 100Gb peak and 100Gb off peak. Assuming I watched about 4 hours of foxtel each day on average (probably not an unreasonable estimate) that would use about 96GB of my 100Gb peak download. Converted to real dollars that's at least $25, but probably worth more due to the on-peak time being more valuable.

    This is where unmetered access really does show as being the only way to go. The fact you need to pay to access the service and then pay a 3rd party to transfer that service to you is a very poor decision on their part.

    Thats great - i still don't really give a damn.

    (not talking to you mike, you're doing a bang up job - i'm talking to microsoft)

    I just don't understand why people would still pay for stuff like foxtel when some of the better TV shows are on free to air anyway - with more channels being added at a satisfactory pace considering you're not paying for the damn things.

    My family has foxtel at their place, and it's just pointless - it's all the same crap over and over again, most of the time it's a strain to find something half decent to watch that you haven't already seen a dozen times.

    Some people have more disposable income than sense...

    800mb/hour? Yeah, no thanks.

      my thoughts exactly. good luck selling that rubbish. without partnering up with isp's theyve got no chance of selling it.
      fetch tv is becoming more popular and more isp's are picking it up and classing all of its content as unmetered. that is the future of television... for some.
      personally, i'll stick to using my "on demand" media server with premium accts at rapidshare, netload, hotfile and megashares. they serve my needs just fine. i get what i want, when i want and watch it at my leisure.

    *some* internet caps will be big enough. For example I'm on iiNet's 500mb/500mb plan (it was cheaper than the old plan I was grandfathered on) and barely scratch the sides of it so I wouldn't be particularly worried. But while larger caps have started to appear on the market, there's still small caps out there too, and I doubt the majority of broadband users in Australia are on anything above 5gb/mo.

    it would be nice if there was a breakdown on what each of these channels was... at present, they're just names.

    But, yeah, MS dropped the ball by not talking to the ISP's about unmetering.

      Those are the same channel names as for regular foxtel. Details are available on the foxtel website.

    800MB/hr with caps in place?


    Well i was with TPG on the 200 gig plan for $79.95. I just dropped down to the 500 gig plan for $59.95. Add the $20.00 for Foxtel and it works out to be good value for me.

    My download speeds are 2 gig an hour so am happy to use 800mb per hour to watch Foxtel.

    I will deffinatley sign up to check it out as i have never lived in a house with it due to the high cost. $20 per month, thats a bargin. Although if it does not have NRL i wont be contining to use the service.

    This internet bandwidth cap business is terribly archaic. I can see the need for it in the context of international traffic perhaps, especially for ISPs like Internode who have their own backhaul.

    But at some stage ISPs will need to come to some sort of local peerage arrangement.

    Being stuck on a horribly outdated exchange, I get 50gb ADSL for $70 - that means if I dedicate all of my quota, I'll get just over 60 hours of Foxtel per month. A more realistic figure is probably 10-15gb (max.) dedicated to Foxtel, which gives me about 19 hours for the month. After forking out $20.

    It's a good service to offer, but for me (and many others I suspect) it's just not worth $20 to get Foxtel for less than one day every month. I hope it continues to improve and ISPs come up with some agreement because I'd like to get it, but there's just no benefit at the moment.

    Also, just out of curiosity, this is piped through the Xbox - does that mean it's unmetered from iiNet?

      This is the biggest problem in Australia - any decision like this is always based on the idea that everyone lives in a capital city and has access to ADSL2 - there's no consideration of the millions of Australians stuck with ADLS1 as their only option, where prices ensure that services like these have no chance of breaking through to the number of people they need to take off.

      (fyi, I live on the Gold Coast, not the middle of nowhere, and yet still had to apply continuously for 8 months just to get an ADSL1 connection because there weren't any free ports on our exchange - its crazy!)

      God I hope the NBN doesn't get shot down by the Libs :P

    My quota is only 3 Gb - poor me!! What's worse?? I pay $40 for that privlidge! When Bigpong know you have no other options (I live in the country) they take you to the cleaners, the dogs >:(

    Hooray! I use up my whole on peak quota in 10 hours of Foxtel!! If I'm not doing anything else on the internet!

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