Fetch TV’s Mighty personal video recorder (PVR) aims to be “all your entertainment in one place”, providing the ability to view & record Free To Air TV (via an antenna), view and record many popular subscription TV channels (SYFY, BBC First, ESPN etc), pay per view rental/purchase movies and TV, popular streaming apps eg Netflix, Optus Sport as well as a rotating Movie Box of 30 popular recent-ish films.
Fetch requires partner internet service providers to have their own content delivery network (CDN) to deliver Fetch VOD and subscription channels so that ensures smooth playback. Switching between FTA and Fetch streaming channels was seamless with no delay on my 100/40 NBN connection.
NBN ISP Aussie Broadband just joined as a new Fetch partner at the end of 2018. I’ve been testing the Aussie Broadband branded Fetch Mighty during summer and have found it to be quite reliable. There are some quirks but having owned PVR’s before I know these are inevitable.
Unboxing & Connectivity
The Fetch Mighty quick start guide (PDF) is very well written and easy to follow. You can connect via WiFi or ethernet cable, HDMI, optical and there are 2 USB drive slots.
The Mighty hard drive is 1 TB (931GB formatted) partitioned to give you 200GB space for Video on Demand and 731GB for recordings. Pay per view and on demand content is downloaded and buffered as you initiate it so there isn’t any big pre-download.
- 1 TB hard drive
- Record up to 6 channels while you watch another
- CRID Electronic Program Guide (EPG) features real start/end times for FTA shows
- Easily record all episodes of series
- Pause and Rewind live TV
- Watch all available FTA Catch-up apps
- 7000+ movies on demand
- All the latest releases
- Choose to rent or buy
- 300+ current TV shows, Buy episodes or entire seasons
- Easily watch Netflix 4K, YouTube 4K, Stan (4K soon), Optus Sport and Hayu
- DLNA media player
- Inbuilt DLNA media server (play FTA recordings on other devices)
- Mobile app to manage box, schedule recordings etc
- Bluetooth pairing (eg to headphones)
What It’s Good At
Even if you don’t pay for any of the subscription packs Aussie Broadband customers who bundle a Fetch Mighty or Mini get Movie Box included. Movie Box contains 30 streamable popular 10-15 year old movies at any time. Every day a movie added a month ago disappears from the box and is replaced by a new one.
Fetch customers with only one TV Antenna port can now watch free to air in other rooms using upto 2 extra Fetch Mini streaming FTA via WiFi from your Fetch Mighty connected to the TV antenna. This is a great idea.
The CRID EPG means you can record and store well over 500 hours of shows with accurate start/end times. Whether recording from FTA or streaming subscription channels you can start to watch while still recording and catch up to the live show by fast forwarding ads (up to 32x).
The subscription channels are a pretty good basic cable selection. The main 4 packs (Kids, Knowledge, Vibe, Variety) can be subscribed to on a month by month basis for $6 each or $20 for all 4 at once. If I was renting a Fetch box I’d get the Variety pack to watch BBC First and SyFy but everyone’s interests are different eg: parents of young children might prefer the Kids pack. There are also other more niche subscription pack options eg: language (Chinese, Italian etc) and special interest (beIN SPORTS, Optus Sports etc).
Catchup apps include all the FTA channels (ABC, 7, 9, 10 and SBS) as well as catchup apps for quite a few pay channels. Pay channels only make a selection of their shows available on demand for catchup. I watched all the episodes of Little Drummer Girl on BBC First catchup without problems
Fetch Mighty is compatible with Google Home speakers. While it works I don’t see the point in controlling the TV via voice as I found using the remote faster than saying “Hey Google, ask Fetch to (do something)”.
I tried pay per view rental and buying movies and TV shows. Some great features that help you choose are in-built Rotten Tomatoes reviews, and the ability to view actor information etc.
The majority of rental/purchase movies (especially newer releases) will have HD options available when you press the ‘Get’ button, some movies, generally older titles may only have SD. HD titles currently play now up to 1080p. Don’t pay for SD unless you have a 32″ or smaller TV as the video quality isn’t good. HD quality is fine and hopefully Fetch will deliver on 4K later this year.
Optus Sport on Fetch is only available to customers who buy a retail Fetch box or who rent Fetch through Aussie Broadband or Optus. If you already have an Optus Sport subscription you can use your existing account details to login on Fetch. If you don’t yet have Optus Sport, simply download the Optus Sport App and subscribe for $15/month via the app. Then head over to your Fetch box and log in to watch Optus Sport on TV. If you don’t see Optus Sport on your Fetch menu, simply reboot your box.
Fetch has apps for Android and iPhone that let you use your phone as a remote control, search for shows and set recordings from wherever you are, watch movies, TV or subscription channels while away from home and pre-download movies and shows you’ve purchased to watch later with with no internet connection needed.
How Is Fetch from Aussie Broadband Different to Retail Fetch / Android TV / Foxtel?
The various Fetch partner ISP’s bundle differently. Aussie Broadband have Fetch boxes available with a no lock-in month to month rental contract and they’re the only ISP besides Optus that you can rent a Fetch box from which will play Optus Sport.
In order to make sure customers don’t use up all their data using Fetch, Aussie Broadband will only rent Fetch boxes to their Unlimited plan customers. Aussie Broadband NBN customers who have their own Fetch box bought retail will not get unmetered Fetch usage.
Fetch Mini boxes have a current retail cost of only $170 which means they’re not worth renting unless you’re using them Multi room with a Fetch Mighty rented from Aussie Broadband. The Mini offers the same easy to use interface as the Mighty, the difference being that it can’t record and is HD only. If it was 4K capable the Mini would be much more attractive proposition.
Note that Fetch Mighty and Mini boxes purchased from a retailer will have a different user account to Fetch boxes rented from an Internet service provider like Aussie Broadband. So if you rent one box and buy another, subscribing to content on one will not be visible on the other.
Also if you rent a Fetch box from an Internet service provider like Aussie Broadband and then switch to a different service provider you have to return the rented Fetch box and you lose access to any recordings as well as movies and TV shows you have purchased through the box. On the other hand if all your Fetch boxes are purchased retail you can take them with you if you change Internet service providers.
In terms of warranty if a retail purchased box dies after the two-year warranty is over, you’ll have to buy a new one. Comparatively if you had rented your boxes from Aussie Broadband it doesn’t matter how many years you’ve had a box when it dies, as Aussie will replace the box at their cost.
ACCC made Foxtel give up exclusivity on lots of subscriptions channels when Foxtel bought Austar which is why Fetch subscription packs include popular channels ESPN, BBC, Nickelodeon, National Geographic etc.
The Fetch sales pitch is that most normal people want one box to access everything important* from the one box with the same interface. If you can deal with viewing Foxtel exclusive sports using a Kayo subscription via Chromecast then Fetch is the box for all your other needs.
At Ausdroid we love Android TV but as we know Google barely pays any attention to it in Australia. It’s taken years for the free to air TV networks to all make Android TV catchup apps and that was due to pressure from one big Japanese TV manufacturer, not Google. Also Android TV devices available in Australia lack the ability to use a CRID EPG and series tags to record shows to a huge hard drive like a PVR can.
What Could Be Better and Updates Expected Soon
Fetch TV requires a reliable internet connection to function, even if you only use it to watch / record FTA channels. The actual data consumed and bandwidth required if you only use it for FTA is minimal, but the internet connection is still required for the electronic program guide and for receiving software updates.
Recordings are marked with a tick for watched even if you’ve even watched 1 minute of a show and then stopped to watch later. They should be ticked once actually finished or 95% + to allow for recordings stopped before credits finish.
Series Tags allow you to record all the episodes of a show or just the latest season. However you can only set a series tag for a show that exists in the EPG. If you know the name of a show and that it will be available soon you can’t pre-emptively set your Mighty to record the latest season once available.
SBS on Demand recently changed the way they handle their Catch-Up content and introduced their login account system. This is being integrated into Fetch and expected to be part of the next software update.
A Fetch spokesperson told me that “our Mighty box has been 4K capable since we launched it a couple of years ago. “We’re adding Stan 4K early next year, and are working with our content partners to start getting movies in 4K”.
Furthermore Fetch CEO Scott Lorson hinted on Radio 2GB recently that “we’ll be launching a series of 4K channels” in 2019.
Fetch PR wouldn’t comment about adding the Amazon Prime Video app but the Fetch social media team said several months ago “We’re working on it. Date TBC”.
Looking at the past updates the Fetch software development team work on 3-4 monthly release basis for new features, improvements, and bug fixes.
On one hand that’s better than not knowing if any updates will ever happen. On the other hand it means if one of their partner apps or Catchup services eg: YouTube, SBS On Demand change their API’s, that feature in Fetch might not work well for up to a few months until it gets patched.
Should You Subscribe to Fetch Mighty Box via Aussie Broadband?
The Fetch Mighty has many core features similar to the much loved TiVO, Topfield and Beyondwiz PVR’s as well as seamlessly integrating access to subscription TV, buying and renting movies/TV as well as popular streaming apps Netflix, Stan, Hayu and YouTube.
The only big features it lacks are 4K subscription channels, 4K movies on demand and 4K STAN app (all three are promised for 2019). Kayo Sport is the only missing big name streaming app but I doubt Foxtel will ever let Fetch include this on their box.
Overall the Mighty provides a very slick easy to use experience with shows and movies from across different free to air, subscription channels and apps all easy to discover.
Fetch are aiming for their boxes are easy to use by normal people who aren’t technology nerds. In fact for one of our Ausdroid writers the Fetch Mighty is “Mum Approved”, she loves using her Fetch Mighty to watch True Crime shows.
If you choose to rent from Aussie Broadband, Fetch Mighty boxes are $15 a month on top of your NBN plan and Fetch Mini boxes are $10 a month on top of your NBN plan. Fetch Mighty and Mini are also available for rental from other internet service providers such as Optus and iiNet.
If you’d like to buy a Fetch Box and own it outright you’ll have to do that from a retailer like JBHiFi or Harvey Norman where it costs $450.
If you’re already an Aussie Broadband NBN customer subscribing to the Fetch Mighty for a month or two at $15/month is well worth the experiment. If you love it keep the Mighty, if it’s not your cup of tea return it. Unlike buying retail there’s no big upfront cost.
If you’re not an Aussie Broadband NBN customer they’re worth a try as they offer NBN plans with the option of no contract and are regularly among the fastest and most highly rated ISP’s in customer and ACCC surveys.
Fetch allowed Ausdroid to retain the Mighty box in order to be able to test and write about future updates, new 4K content etc.