WITH the pre-Christmas TV drought just two weeks away, technology giants are lining up to launch streaming devices to keep us entertained over the silly season.

And media analysts say Australia’s intense love affair with streaming content might have already changed the non-ratings period forever, with these devices getting the last of the less tech-savvy viewers hooked up, clicking and streaming.

Foxtel, Telstra and Apple are pitching new internet-connected set-top boxes to Australian audiences before the holiday season begins, and all three devices feature the highest in video resolution, access to multiple streaming services, and some will suggest TV shows you’re missing or tune into free-to-air broadcasts.

Media analyst Peter Cox said it’s little wonder all three companies are competing for local audiences, given our rapid adoption of streaming TV and movies.

“Streaming video has been exceptionally successful in Australia, with one of the fastest take-ups of any new technology over the last 30 years,” he said.

“In the early days, it was driven by younger viewers but now the Baby Boomers have caught up with it and the whole market now is not technically challenged by the concept of video streaming.”

Mr Cox said the holidays season was typically tough on TV viewers but the influx of new streaming gadgets could make it easier to access new shows even on ‘dumb’ televisions, and discover TV dramas they had yet to watch.

“You would expect that a non-ratings period there would be an even higher level of video-streaming,” Mr Cox said. “The days of everyone watching the same shows are fast disappearing.”

More than 7 million Australians used streaming service Netflix by June this year, according to Roy Morgan, and research from Telstra showed more than 60 per cent of Australians were now streaming entertainment, be it at home, while commuting, or even on their phone while simultaneously streaming content to their TV.

Telstra fixed services director Jana Kotatko said overwhelming use of TV-on-demand services had boosted internet downloads by 40 per cent over the past year, and would only continue to increase.

“Something like two thirds of Australians are now choosing to stream their entertainment,” she said. “We see that growth continuing over the foreseeable future.”


Foxtel Now

$99, foxtel.com.au

Resolution: 4K

Live TV: Yes

Apps: Foxtel Now, YouTube, Stan, Google Play Movies, Spotify, catch-up TV services.

Features: Delivers Game of Thrones without a contract, tunes into free-to-air broadcasts, and acts as a Google Chromecast device to stream video from smartphones.

Telstra TV

$192, telstra.com.au

Resolution: 4K HDR

Live TV: Yes

Apps: BigPond Movies, Foxtel Now, Netflix, Stan, Hayu, YouTube, Red Bull TV, catch-up TV services.

Features: Introduces a search feature that looks for content across different services and platforms, such as Foxtel Now, Netflix, and free-to-air programming.

Apple TV 4K

$249-$279, apple.com/au

Resolution: 4K HDR

Live TV: No

Apps: Netflix, Stan, DocPlay, MUBI, Curiosity Stream, AnimeLab, catch-up TV services.

Features: Suggests programming highlights, allows users to search across different platforms using their voice, and will show phone photo galleries and mobile games on the TV.