Telstra today launched the second generation of its Roku-based Telstra TV system at an event in Sydney. The new 4K streaming device supports free-to-air TV, subscription TV and on-demand streaming and will go on sale October 31 to Telstra Broadband customers with an entertainment bundle for $99/month.
The new Telstra TV 2 is a gateway to a wide variety of streaming services available to Australians, including ABC iView, SBS On Demand, +7, 9NOW, Tenplay, Foxtel Now, BigPond Movies, Netflix, Stan and Hayu. As a Roku-powered device there’s also a variety of free apps available to download, but Telstra operates a separate Roku app store to the rest of the world so that it can cater for Australian users and services.
The new live TV features are delivered via a TV tuner built into the device – there’s an antenna input on the back of the box so it can tune into any signal your antenna brings in. There’s no mention of being able to record live TV though.
There’s also a new search function that aggregates content across multiple services – similar to Apple’s recent TV App and Google’s nascent Assistant-powered Google Home voice casting services. Users can tell Telstra TV 2 what they want to watch, and it’ll tell them where to find it. Telstra TV 2 also features a companion app for Android and iOS that lets you find and curate the content you want to watch while you’re out and about.
The company is also looking to the future promising that future iterations of the platform with bring features like voice activation (a Roku platform feature), personalised recommendations and more content partners.
Like the original Telstra TV before it, you’ll need to be a Telstra Broadband customer to get your hands on a Telstra TV 2 – one is supplied to customers on the company’s $99/month and $120/month bundles. Customers will also have the ability to pay for their Foxtel Now and Netflix subscriptions on their bill.
The new device has some big shoes to fill. The first generation of Telstra TV, now a couple of years old, became the fastest-selling streaming device in Australia and has sold more than 1 million units. Telstra TV 2 enters a market with a much wider variety of options available to consumers.
If you’re not on Telstra and don’t want to switch but want to add a streaming box to your setup, there are a couple of other options: Foxtel is about to release its own Foxtel Now device – it’s powered by Android TV with access to Android TV apps via the Play Store (also includes a TV tuner for live TV); and Fetch is also out there with its own hardware and subscription plans. Both services don’t require you to belong to a particular ISP.
Will you be updating to Telstra TV 2, or going another route? Tell us your preferred streaming solution in the comments.