Aussie Broadband Fetch TV Mighty 4K PVR Review

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.

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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.

Specifications

  • 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.

Developer: FetchTV Pty Ltd
Price: Free

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.

Last modified on 14 January 2019 2:00 pm

" Neerav Bhatt : @neerav Neerav has been interested in Android phones since he bought the 1st one ever released (HTC Dream/G1). He has never bought an Apple product :-) His dream phone would have stock Android OS, fast high-res camera and swappable 4000mAh battery. A high performer in multiple fields, Neerav has worked as an IT Support Analyst, Mainstream media writer/Photojournalist and University Research Librarian.."

View Comments (20)

  • For those looking at getting a Fetch Mighty and use a Receiver for home theatre, should check if the Mighty will work in their configuration.

    I have a non-4k setup and the Mighty wouldn't work for me as it expects to get 4K digital protection through to the display. In fact it should fall back to allowing playback in these setups to play friendly, but at some point the Fetch team decided not to. The solution is to put a HDMI repeater between the Mighty and receiver.

    • If you have an non-4K AV then connect a HD HDMI splitter with cables to both your TV and the AV amp.

      Gets around this problem.

    • Yes if you want to pass 4k video from your Fetch to your TV you will need to directly connect the HDMI cable to the TV and not use your AV receiver to do the input switching. This was a reason when I upgraded my Tv for 4k I also upgraded the receiver so that it could pass on the 4k signal too.
      Assuming you have a 4k TV you have 2 other good solutions to your problem. You can either get a TOSLINK cable (optical) and connect your Fetch to the receiver. Or you can run either again the TOSLINK cable or HDMI from your TV to the TV input on the receiver and it should pass on the audio. One useful thing to have if you are doing this is a good smart remote like a Harmony which will once set up correctly put everything on the right inputs.
      But if I really want to make sure I am watching Netflix, Stan, or Prime in 4K I will use the app on my Sony TV instead.

  • A great review of the Fetch box but would point out you cannot use the Fetch Mobi app as a remote control. You use to be able to on the previous fetch app.

    • I can use the Fetch Mobi app to remote control my Mighty. It looks like I have the option to switch it to the Mini in the other room too, though I haven't tried that.

  • I have been a Fetch TV subscriber since Internode first soft launched it years ago (I forget the exact year but probably at least 10 now) and want to add to your review. There have been many changes over that time in software hardware and content. The Mini and Mighty boxes are the 3rd hardware version since launch and I would not be surprised to see them getting a refresh in the next year or 2.

    Since the release of the Mighty and Mini (and when it became available in retail stores too) it changed from a product you rented from your isp to a thing where you bought it outright. It is interesting to see that Aussie has gone the rental path now and are not requiring a 2-year contract which others ISPs have required int he past. From every other ISP, I would in most cases suggest buying a retail box a while they are more expensive and as you point out only have a 2-year warranty the ability to use the box anywhere outweighs the extra cost. Also at times during the year you can often get a box on sale.

    On the Point of the Foxtel channels and channels, in general, the lineup of channels has improved over the years and now offers a good balance I think. Unfortunately 3 channels have been removed in the last month and have so far only been replaced with one on non-linear one. It would seem that Foxtel and other channel providers are not always willing to offer good deals still to Fetch as TVHits and 111 Funny were removed because of this. Disney XD, on the other hand, ceased to be delivered to the Australian market and so had to be removed too. On the list cited on the ACCC website, there are still channels there that we have never seen on Fetch and may not be possible to get without Foxtel playing ball with their competition. I think this may also be in some cases been made harder with the restructuring of Foxtel's ownership. Fox Sports is the major thing missing from the line-up but beyond the government forcing them to share it with Fetch I don't think we will ever see it. We did a long time have Fox Sports news for a year or 2 but that was removed.

    As for the streaming services Fetch TV was one of the first to offer Netflix in Australia and has for much of the time had YouTube working when other devices (Like many smart TV's) lost it.

    On your point on marking recordings automatically as being watched if you watch 1 second or the whole thing I do see your point but it is something, you will get used to and only watch something that you plan on finishing. There probably could be a partially watched icon created but seeing it has always been this way it is probably something not needed.

    With Series Tags what you said is not entirely true. Under the Top Shows section lists a lot of popular shows which makes subscribing to them super easy. True you may not be able to subscribe to something that is not in the EPG yet but once it is you can up to 1 full week +~2hours ahead of time for every channel. The tag will also remain until it or the channel is deleted so you will not miss the next season of your favourite show unless it changes channels. There is also a hierarchy system used for recordings and it will record based on priority. While the box can record up to 6 shows at once that is only 3 FTA and 3 Linear channels.

    I am surprised Prime has not joined Fetch TV too but the app development comes from the provider not Fetch so it may be that Amazon doesn't see it as a priority.

    I see your point on the update situation too but for the most part that has not been an issue especially recently. In the past updates were a lot further apart than that and I have seen at times smaller bug fixes rolled out when needed too.

    I am not sure 4k is all that important too as until everyone is on good fast NBN watching 4k content will either use all your bandwidth or not even be possible. Foxtel only had 1 4k channel anyway so it is not as if they see it as a priority too.

    • Thanks for all that historical information

      I remember reviewing the original Fetch for a magazine 8-10 years ago. It's good to see an alternative to Foxtel is still going strong

      Last I heard in the AFR Fetch was doing well financially:

      During 2018 "total viewing hours increased by 40% to 1.1 billion" and they added "about 160,000 customers to push past the 700,000 subscriber mark, achieving profitability and growing revenues to more than $155 million”

      • Yeah, it is good for Foxtel to have some strong competition. I am fairly sure Fetch is still owned by the biggest Satelite Pay TV company in Asia so they should have some good backing and hopefully some good guidance.
        I just wish we didn't have such weak communication ministers allowing Foxtel to do what they want a lock up so much content. This is especially true for the cricket rights which break the anti-siphoning laws

  • The DLNA server hasn't worked since the most recent software update, which is a sore point for some owners

    • Fingers crossed for the next update I guess. The 3-4 month gap between updates must be frustrating if a feature you relied on stopped working

  • I have Fetch TV and don't have NBN I have a 4G connection and Fetch TV works well with my 4G connection. No problems with updates and streaming movies through Fetch Tv

    • That's handy to know for other readers. You must have a really big mobile data plan or not be subscribing to any of the channel packs?

  • Optus didn't want to take my old Fetch TV box (wired connection). I'm not with Optus anymore; switched to TPG 7 montsh ago. For some reason, that Fetch TV box still works for me; FTA, and some 20 IPTV channels. I'm loving my Comedy Central while the little fella watches Baby TV.

  • Good article. I've had Fetch as part of my Optus cable plan for a while but only recently started using it properly. In fact I've now added the channel packs and killed my Foxtel sub. After subscribing to Kayo Sports, I have everything I needed from Foxtel for half the price. And for $10pm I have a Mini in the other room - so handy to be able to view recordings from the main box in the other room - you can't do that with Foxtel!

  • Aussie Broadband just asked me to pass on 2 bits of info:

    1. Optus Sport is still not quite available yet on their boxes, but it will be soon

    2. Aussie has also recently been advised by Fetch that people who return their box would still be able to access the content they’ve purchased through the Fetch app, but that doesn't extend to a new box

  • The FetchTV box will NOT work with an Amplifier / Receiver it will complain about HDCP 2.2 compliance as the FetchTV box is broken and will never be fixed.

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