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The TV dilemma: cable, digital or free-to-air?

What’s the difference between Netflix, Fetch and Foxtel? Here, we’ll explain a little bit about the benefits of each offering so that you can get the TV service that’s best for you.

couple watching tv

What is Pay TV?

Pay TV is a good add-on to free-to-air TV for those who want more than standard news and entertainment channels and regular Australian programming. Pay TV allows you to view thousands of programs from around the world and record your favourite shows as well!

Foxtel, the most prominent pay TV option in Australia right now, features a broad number of channels. Users can purchase a basic package and then add on additional ‘bundles’ for sport, documentaries, movies and news, depending on their interests. Fetch is a cheaper alternative to Foxtel but does not offer as many channels.

Pay TV services come with a set top box which is attached, via a cable, to the internet as well as the television. Pay TV does not connect wirelessly so users must pay for a set top box for every TV that they wish to watch the service on.

What are ‘streaming’ services?

‘Streaming’ allows viewers to download television content wirelessly through the internet so that they can watch their programs on multiple computers, tablets or smartphones, anywhere in their home.

Streaming is great for downloading popular movies, miniseries and long-running TV shows but does not offer live sports, breaking news bulletins and the wide variety of niche shows offered by free-to-air and pay TV. Streaming also requires a good internet connection with a generous download limit, preferably unlimited.

There are two prominent streaming services on offer at the moment: Netflix gained popularity in America over recent years and recently made its way to Australian shores, while Stan is a new, Australian-based service. While Pay TV asks users to select and pay for channels that interest them, Netflix and Stan offer unlimited access to all content for a monthly payment.

How much do they cost?

Most Pay TV services offer yearly contracts: Foxtel will charge around $45-$120 per month depending on how many channels you want. Fetch is cheaper, but offers less content in return. Netflix and Stan cost approximately $10 per month, and both allow you free monthly trials and no lock-in contract.

If you live in a RetireAustralia village you can also access an exclusive Foxtel package of 93 of their most popular channels for special price of $89* per month! For more information please phone 1300 130 185.

Which is right for me?

If you’re an avid watcher of live international sports, worldwide news and niche programs, then Pay TV is probably for you. If movies and TV series are more your thing, and you plan to make the most of having access to hundreds of them at your fingertips, then a streaming service should be your first choice. Which one to pick and what package to get is entirely dependant on your interests, and you should always do a bit of research first so you know you’re getting the programs you love most!

Get Simple!

If you’d like to access some of these new television services, and you need an internet connection, don’t look past Simple! Simple, RetireAustralia’s exclusive phone and internet service, offers reliable, high-speed internet, and a seniors-friendly support service, for residents in most RetireAustralia villages. For more information, please phone 1300 130 185.

*Price based on a monthly payment for 12 months for subscribers to RetireAustralia’s Simple bundle. $0 install fee for existing Foxtel subscribers. $150 install fee for new Foxtel subscribers (includes IQHD Set Top Box). Minimum cost is $1,068 if you’re an existing Foxtel subscriber and $1,218 if you’re a new Foxtel subscriber.


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