TO STREAM, OR NOT TO STREAM

With two-thirds of households (66.6 per cent) in Australia now having a fast broadband internet connection, the demand for access to online media (audio & video) is ever-increasing. Not only in the homes, but the demand for an internet connection for work, study, and play interestingly now (excluding mobile handsets) accounts for 47% of all internet connections.

Within the home environment, we no longer have to rely on traditional means (television & radio) to listen to music, watch movies and television shows. If you have missed your favourite television show, you can rely on the web to either purchase and download the latest episode of your favourite sitcom, or stream the episode from a hosted website (catch-up tv)

Service-providers are now offering accessible alternative solutions to provide access to streaming media such as the Telstra T-Box, Optus Fetch-TV and similar products such as the Apple TV & Google Play TV.

Optus MeTV with Fetch: For new or existing OPTUS subscribers, the set-top box features three high-definition digital TV tuners and a 1TB hard disk, allowing it to store up to 250 hours of SD content. Optus MeTV provides on-demand channel packs like Kids, Music, Entertainment, Documentaries and Lifestyle, including 30 pre-selected movies included each month. Newer movies can be rented and watched on an on-demand basis (in either SD or HD) for between AU$3.95 and AU$6.95 per title. Optus MeTV with Fetch is available to all Optus customers for AU$9.95 per month on a 24-month contract or Free is you are on the $109 Optus Fusion home phone and internet package. Users can also use their iPhone or iPad devices to control and program their home FetchTV box.

Telstra T-Box: Telstra have a launched a great product to market offering Telstra customers access to a wide range of features. The T-Box has an on board 1TB hard disk to record, pause & rewind live free-to-air digital channels. For eligible BigPond Broadband customers, you also get unmetered access to BigPond TV featuring classic movies, sport, news, music, shopping channels and a range of applications such as YouTube, Picasa and TuneIn Radio. In addition Telstra offer two subscription options to stream over 4,000 movies and TV shows ranging from $1.99 to $6.99 for new release titles. Alternatively you can subscribe to FOXTEL on T-Box for as little as $19.50 per month. to stream the standard FOXTEL channels such as including Nick (Kids), FOX8, Discovery and National Geographic Channels

Google Play TV: Google TV is a web-based streaming service with two-tiered pricing, with new releases available at $5.99 and $6.99 for SD and HD, and older titles available from $2.99. YouTube Movies also offers a number of free movies and documentaries. Google PlayTV is great for mobile devices such as laptops or tablet users that might want to connect their device to a television as movies can be streamed instantly or downloaded to be watched while offline, and a logged-in user can watch the same title across both Google Play and YouTube.

Apple TV / iTunes: If you own any Apple devices, an Apple TV is a simple and cost-effective addition to allow access to streaming content to your home TV. Although you cannot stream or watch free to air TV via an Apple TV can easily stream video, photos and music from your iPad or iPhone to your Apple TV. Individual episodes can be downloaded or streamed via iTunes direct from the Apple TV from iTunes or Rent a Movie from their extensive library from AU$5.99 or watch individual TV episodes from $2.99 or 3.49 for new release HD versions.

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