Fetch TV, www.fetchtv.com.au
Easy navigation; 1TB drive
Poor connectivity; long startup time
$399 plus plan
IPTV (internet protocol television) is beginning to come into its own in Australia, with providers such as Foxtel joining hands with Xbox to provide content over a broadband connection.
iiNet has joined the fray with Fetch TV, which provides a set-top box, personal video recorder and a suite of pay TV and video-on-demand content.
While the service itself is a good idea, there were a number of issues that hamstrung the Fetch TV in our testing.
If, for example, you’re one of those crazy people who doesn’t want to have a device sucking power on standby all day, you’ll be punished for your energy awareness with the time it takes to start up. Cycling on doesn’t just take a few moments, rather, you’re best to leave the room and do something else.
Another issue that limited my use of Fetch TV was its poor connectivity; wireless access is taken so much for granted that its absence is a shock. To complicate matters, unbelievably, the unit won’t connect through routers or share a connection over a nearby computer.
Fetch TV support advised that the best fix was to run an Ethernet cable from one end of the house to the other, although I disagree that’s a reasonable solution. (Just before going to press, iiNet announced a Wireless Bridge product that fixes this particular problem, but for an extra $119.)
Once the ordeal of connecting was over, the experience improved markedly. Fetch uses both an IPTV receiver and HD digital tuner to display both free-to-air digital channels and the services delivered over the iiNet network.
Watching and recording content is a breeze thanks to well-designed menus and navigation. A generous 1TB drive means you can record up to 500 hours of television, which is way more than anyone should watch.
Fetch TV shines in terms of on-demand movies, with up to 30 movies playing at any one time, including new releases you’ll actually want to watch.
Macworld Australia’s buying advice
IPTV is undoubtedly the way of the future and there’s no doubt Fetch TV will continue to be refined in the months to come. But at present the service is a little frustrating.