Go with the flow
TV streaming services are set to flood the Aussie market, writes Jennifer Dudley- Nicholson
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.’’