Go with the flow

TV stream­ing ser­vices are set to flood the Aussie mar­ket, writes Jen­nifer Dud­ley- Nicholson

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Tech -

THE rev­o­lu­tion may be tele­vised but the tele­vi­sion rev­o­lu­tion will be streamed over the in­ter­net.

TV and movie stream­ing ser­vices are on the rise in Aus­tralia with of­fer­ings re­cently launched by un­ex­pected sources in­clud­ing mo­bile phone car­ri­ers, DVD rental agen­cies and TV pro­duc­ers.

Many of these new ser­vices will be­come avail­able on every­thing from games con­soles to tablets be­fore the end of the year and ex­perts say Aus­tralians may fi­nally be ready to em­brace the tech­nol­ogy, thanks to faster broad­band and cheaper of­fer­ings.

DVD rental ser­vice Quick­flix be­came the lat­est com­pany to launch a stream­ing en­ter­tain­ment ser­vice in Aus­tralia re­cently when it un­veiled the coun­try’s first movie sub­scrip­tion ser­vice.

Quick­flix chief Chris Tay­lor says the ser­vice is an all- you- canstream af­fair, with users given un­lim­ited ac­cess to Quick­flix’s online movie data­base of 300 new movies each month for a $ 14.99 fee.

‘‘ We’re of­fer­ing stream­ing movies, which in it­self is not new in Aus­tralia, but the sub­scrip­tion ser­vice is and it’s com­ing at the right time,’’ he says.

The movie stream­ing ser­vice is avail­able through in­ter­net-con­nected Sony Bravia TVS and Blu- ray Disc play­ers.

It was rolled out to PCS and Macs, which users can con­nect to their tele­vi­sions, last week and Tay­lors says ‘‘ hope­fully, be­fore Christ­mas, we will launch it on the Playsta­tion 3’’.

Quick­flix will be com­pet­ing with un­usual sources in the in­ter­net TV mar­ket, with Op­tus also en­ter­ing the fray this month.

The telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions car­rier has paired with Fetch TV to de­liver a dis­counted stream­ing en­ter­tain­ment ser­vice called METV.

Avail­able for $ 9.95 monthly over two years, Op­tus METV is de­liv­ered through a per­sonal video recorder that tunes in dig­i­tal free- to- air broad­casts and con­nects to the in­ter­net to stream up to 30 clas­sic on- de­mand movies each month.

METV users will also be able to down­load new movies for a fee or add sub­scrip­tion TV pack­ages for $ 6.95 a month.

The new ser­vices fol­low Foxtel’s launch of pay- TV con­tent on Mi­crosoft Xbox 360 games con­soles and Tel­stra T- Box de­vices streamed over the in­ter­net, as well as the BBC iplayer ipad app that gives view­ers ac­cess to more than 1000 hours of Bri­tish TV for a monthly fee of $ 9.49.

A re­cent Tel­stra sur­vey of more than 1200 peo­ple found a

Stream­ing ex­ist­ing con­tent over the in­ter­net is just the start of a rev­o­lu­tion

third of Aus­tralians planned to buy a smart TV or in­ter­net-con­nected set- top box.

Re­spon­dents re­ported they were just as likely to down­load or stream a movie as they were to watch one in the cinema.

That re­search is backed by buy­ing trends, with Canon’s Consumer Life­style In­dex re­veal­ing that in­ter­net- ready tele­vi­sions now make up 20 per cent of TV pur­chases, up from 10 per cent last year.

Mur­doch Univer­sity au­di­ence re­search labs di­rec­tor Duane Varan says the in­creased avail­abil­ity and aware­ness of in­ter­net- friendly home- the­atre prod­ucts and im­prove­ments in the qual­ity and price of broad­band ser­vices will help IPTV to take off, though the nec­es­sary in­ter­net ac­cess may still be un­avail­able to a ‘‘ mi­nor­ity’’ of po­ten­tial cus­tomers.

He says stream­ing ex­ist­ing con­tent over the in­ter­net is just the start of a rev­o­lu­tion.

‘‘ We’re still in the in­fancy of this tech­nol­ogy,’’ he says.

‘‘ It’s a whole uni­verse that opens up.

‘‘ We’re not yet at that stage where con­tent is pro­duced with in­ter­ac­tiv­ity at the fore­front, for ex­am­ple hav­ing a sto­ry­line where view­ers de­cide what hap­pens next.’’

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