Friday, June 23, 2006

10 Things That Would Improve Foxtel Digital

Foxtel, for those who are unaware, is Australia's answer to America's cable TV. Originally it was broadcast in analog format, but in the last few years they have transitioned to a digital format and Foxtel have been heavily promoting this digital format as something that will "will change the way you feel about television forever".

I would have to disagree. I am frustrated with some aspects of Foxtel Digital, and after reading about what some of the cable companies in America are now offerering, here is my opinion on what Foxtel Digital could do to improve their service.

  1. Redesign the on screen TV guide to make it more useable.
  2. Allow me to watch missed shows - when I want to.
  3. Allow me to watch movies when I want to, not at designated times.
  4. If I pull down a movie, give me at least 24 hours to watch it. At present, I am locked out of all downloaded movies at 2:00am, even if I downloaded it at 1:00am.
  5. Get some new content. I must have watched the same 2 series of NYPD five times now.
  6. Do something interesting with the interactive component. If an ad for a show that I want to watch comes on, why can't I add that show to the planner right then with a click?
  7. Don't charge me an expensive monthly fee just to enable time shifting ie, Foxtel IQ.
  8. Make the channel websites more interesting. Not just flash promos, but make then an interesting extension of the channel content, involve users and create community. HBO have done a great job with the Sopranos website.
  9. The planner only shows future shows for the next 3 days. If I've just seen an ad for a show I want to watch and it's on next week, I can't add it to my planner until next week.
  10. Allow the planner to give me an option to select a whole series, rather than single episodes. Why do I have to go back every week and add the same show to the planner?

Some of the above issues are standard features on much of the cable networks in the States. I understand that the market here in Australia is smaller and therefore less profitable, but I do feel that Foxtel could be doing much more with what they have.

Do you agree with the list above? Are there any other features you would like to see on Foxtel Digital? If so, leave your comments and let me know.

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At July 11, 2006 11:04 pm, Anonymous Richard said...

I agree whole heartedly in regard to repetitious programing on Foxtel. It can get a little tiresome going over the same content in the planner and makes you think... what am I paying for? Another added feature that might be of benefit is what I would call Program Recognition. Your viewing history is logged on a hard drive so that you can be notified or reminded at a later date of any similar program genres that may be coming up in the following weeks

At July 16, 2006 1:50 pm, Blogger Grantd7 said...

I agree with your points on Foxtel Digital. I would like to add my concern on the amount of commercials that are creeping into the programming.I have been a subsriber for six years and in that time i have seen the amount of adds increase from none during a show, to now up to eight minutes per half hour show, that's bang online with commercial "free to air channels".What are we paying for?

At July 16, 2006 10:21 pm, Blogger David said...

Good points. Rich, what you call 'Program Recignition' is already available in the States. It's called Tivo.

Grant, yes I too have noticed the amount of commercials creeping into Foxtel. One of the big selling points for Foxtel years ago was that there were less commercials than free to air TV. That is not the case these days.

At August 06, 2006 12:28 am, Anonymous Steve Murdoch said...

Another (radical, I'm sure) suggestion would be to cancel your pay TV subscription, shoot your TV (ala Elvis) and do something a little more useful with your life.

Sure, I know sitting in front of the TV is a great way to relax and unwind *sometimes*, but geez, if you don't like something, don't buy it. Or subscribe to it.

Read a book, go to the park, hire a DVD, hell, actually leave the house and go to the movies. Sit and talk to your loved one even. Just don't bitch about shite cable TV when anyone will tell you it is in fact... shite.

At August 06, 2006 12:43 am, Blogger David said...


Thanks for the comments. Yes, I do have a life outside of watching cable TV - it's called my family.

Being a geek and interested in technology, I just feel that here in Australia we don't see any of the innovations that are now happening as consumers demand to view and interact with content/media on their own terms.

At December 24, 2006 5:26 pm, Anonymous Ping said...

Yes the lack of facility to program repetitions (series) - rather than having to re-enter them into the planner each week - is a significant issue.

I would like to add that the price of Foxtel (with all its advertising) is exorbitant. For example, the 'Platinum' equivalent of UBC ( in Thailand is one third cheaper AND there are no 'Box Office' pay-per-view channels; everything currently on Box Office channels was available four months ago on normal UBC movie channels AT NO EXTRA COST.

At December 27, 2006 2:43 pm, Blogger David said...

Ping, I agree with you in regards to Foxtel pricing being too expensive.

It will be interesting to see what happens now that the AFL will be screening all matches free to air. Will Foxtel reduce it's pricing as it can no longer offer exclusive football games? I doubt it.


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