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Is Foxtel Now worth using after the Game of Thrones meltdown

Game of Thrones is back for Season 7 but Foxtel Now crashed under the weight of demand for the show. But is the Foxtel Now service still worth considering after the issues it experienced?

The answer is yes.

The outage was traced back to HBO’s central distribution server. HBO is extremely protective of Game of Thrones and insisted it would be streamed from one place rather than multiple server locations.

It was like a pileup on a single lane highway.

UPDATE: Foxtel Now has since admitted the late rush of subscribers also contributed to the service falling down.

But that aside, Foxtel Now is still the easiest and cheapest way to watch Game of Thrones – the show that once had the most illegal downloads with Australians the worst culprits.

We’ve been using Foxtel Now for a few weeks now to stream the best programs Foxtel has to offer – including Game of Thrones.

This is Foxtel’s direct reply to the popularity of other streaming services like Netflix, Stan and Amazon Prime.

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Foxtel Now is delivered through your home broadband connection or on the move on the 4G cellular network.

It includes both Live TV, including live sport and news shows as well as TV series and movies on demand.

HOW CAN YOU WATCH IT

You can access the service in a number of ways – on a mobile or tablet, on PC or Mac, through Telstra TV, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One and selected Samsung, Sony and LG smart TVs.

For our review, we watched Foxtel Now on a Samsung smart TV, on a Mac with a Chrome browser and streamed it from a mobile device to an LG TV using a Chromecast.

With mobile devices, users can watch content in high definition and also stream in high definition which is 720p.

Smart TVs which have the Foxtel Now app on board (Samsung smart TVs 2012-2015, selected 2013 LG models) can only stream content in standard definition which is strange considering a Chromecast stream has better resolution

Viewers can register Foxtel Now on up to five devices.

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WHAT IS THE PRICING FOR STARTER AND PREMIUM PACKS

Starter packs are priced from $10 a month – Docos ($10), Kids ($10) and Lifestyle ($10) with Pop and Drama at $15 each a month.

Premium packs are Movies ($20 a month) and Sport ($29 a month) and need a Starter pack to allow access.

So that means the minimum you’ll spend for Foxtel Now movies is $30 a month – $10 for a Starter pack and $20 for the actual Movie pack.

If you’re a sport fan your minimum spend will be $39 – $29 for the premium Sports pack and $10 Starter pack.

WHAT CONTENT DO I GET WITH EACH PACK

If it’s Game of Thrones you can’t get enough of you can just get either the Drama or Pop pack – both are $15 and both include the Showcase channel which supplies hit HBO shows like Game of Thrones, Ballers, Veep, Westworld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage and Silicon Valley.

The Pop pack also includes FX, Fox 8, comedy and MTV.

Drama also has Showcase along with BBC UKTV, TV Hits, BBC First and Universal Channel.

If you love your documentaries then naturally the Doco pack at $10 a month is for you and includes Discovery, National Geographic, Crime+Investigation, History Channel and BBC Knowledge.

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The Lifestyle pack ($10 a month) is home to the Lifestyle channel, Arena, Lifestyle Home, Lifestyle Food, E! and TLC and will suit viewers who like cooking and real estate shows and programs like the Real Housewives and Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

Movies fans will get access to movies soon after they are released on Blu-ray and DVD.

With the Sports pack, you get all the Fox Sports channels including League and AFL as well as BeIn Sports and ESPN and ESPN so you can catch all the live sport.

FOXTEL NOW v FOXTEL SET-TOP BOX

Foxtel Now offers flexibility as there are no lock in contracts and you can chop and change your packs as you like.

For example, you might only want the Sports pack for the football season and the Kids pack for the summer school holidays.

A Foxtel iQ set-top box also allows users to enjoy the content in higher definition on their TVs and also record in the same quality.

Foxtel iQ customers can also watch content on the Foxtel app on the move.

One thing a Foxtel iQ customer can’t do is stream from the Foxtel app to a TV using Chromecast despite the fact they are probably paying more for their package than a Foxtel Now customer.

As of June 5, Foxtel Now viewers will miss out on Box Sets, 13th Street, Binge, SyFy, Discover Science, Animal Planet, Lifestyle You, Style, World Movies, CNN, Smooth, BBC World News, CNBC, Max, CMC, Eurosport News, Foxtel Arts, MTV Music and MTV Dance.

To view these channels, you will need a Foxtel set-top box.

WHAT SORT OF VALUE DOES FOXTEL NOW OFFER

If you’re only interested in a couple of packs then Foxtel Now offers excellent value.

But if you’re into your movies, want to watch live sport and all the latest TV shows your monthly bill will be more than $100.

If you’re in that ballpark, you might as well stick with the Foxtel iQ set-top box and enjoy every channel in higher quality and with the bonus of being able to record anything you want.

www.foxtelnow.com.au

About Stephen Fenech

Stephen is the Tech Guide editor and one of Australia's most respected tech journalists. He is a regular on radio and TV talking about the latest tech news, products and trends.

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  • Tom

    You could at the very least try not to make this look and sound like the utterly shameless plug on behalf of your ‘former’ employer that it is. Foxtel’s days are numbered because they fail to keep up, plain and simple. They fail to grasp that it wasn’t the font consumers had a negative sentiment towards, it was the company.

    • stephenfenech

      Hi Tom, this is a balanced and honest assessment of Foxtel Now. I’m offended that you called it a “shameless plug”. You sound like you have a beef with Foxtel and the way it operates. That’s your opinion and I respect it – so could I at least have that same respect in return about my review.

  • David Sidwell

    If it was “that the outage was traced back to HBO’s central distribution server and, unfortunately, Foxtel Now became a victim.”…how can that explain how other Foxtel internet services were down at the same time? Got a link to validate your “poor Foxtel, they are the victim here” stuff?

    • stephenfenech

      Just did that David – link is there.

      • David Sidwell

        You mean the Daily Mail link? That maybe an Australian version of the ‘paper’, but the story doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Foxtel or Australia, does it?