Foxtel on Aussie Xbox 360 service detailed

Pay TV on console service launching in November Down Under; basic package is set to cost under A$20.

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Australia's largest pay TV provider--Foxtel-- has been looking for alternate ways to make additional revenue outside of the traditional subscription TV model for a while now, with one of its initial steps being the announcement earlier this year that it had partnered with Microsoft to bring some of its channels to the Xbox 360.

The first solid details of the service were announced today by Foxtel, kicking off with the prerequisites. Before you sign up for Foxtel on Xbox 360, you'll need an active Xbox Live Gold subscription, a minimum broadband speed of 1.5MB, and to be living in an Australian metropolitan area. Once you meet the requirements, you'll be able to sign up online, via the Foxtel Web site, for several different channel bundles like the Get Started package, as well as a variety of entertainment and sports packs. The Get Started offer will cost less than A$20 ($19.74) per month, while additional entertainment and sports packs will start at A$10 per month. For the full package listings, check out the list at the bottom of this article.

The Foxtel interface fits in with the way other Xbox 360 applications look.
The Foxtel interface fits in with the way other Xbox 360 applications look.

Foxtel on Demand and a catch-up TV service are two other services being made available to those who subscribe to Foxtel on the Xbox 360. Foxtel on Demand is an online rental service, like Netflix, which allows users to stream TV shows and movies to their consoles. New-release movies will cost A$5.95 each to rent, library movies will go for A$3.95 each, and TV series episodes will cost A$2.95 each, with some children's TV episodes available at A$1.95. Foxtel expects to have more than 5,000 TV episodes and movies on demand by the end of 2011. On the other hand, the catch-up TV service is fairly straightforward, allowing subscribers to watch content that they may have missed live, similar to the likes of ABC iView. Catch-up TV is limited to the channels you subscribe to.

Although a lot of questions about the service were answered today, a lot of details are still left up in the air, such as when the service is launching, what resolution it will stream at, and how taxing it will be on users' broadband data caps. Be sure to stay tuned to GameSpot AU for more details when they become available.

Foxtel packages available to Xbox 360 owners are:

Get Started: FOX8, MTV, Nickelodeon, Channel [V], LifeStyle, YOU, Discovery, National Geographic, TV1, SKY NEWS, FOX Sports News, and CNN.

Entertainment Package: MTV Hits, MTV Classic, [V] Hits, UKTV, Disney, The Comedy Channel, Discovery Turbo MAX, Nat Geo Adventure, Universal, BBC Knowledge, and SCI FI.

Sports Package: FOX SPORTS PLAY, ESPN, Eurosport, and FUEL TV. FOX SPORTS PLAY will be an Xbox 360-exclusive channel specially programmed to feature Australia's most-loved sports programming, including Hyundai A-League Football, Barclays Premier League Football, Rugby Union Spring Tour, KFC Twenty20 Big Bash, India vs New Zealand test cricket, live boxing, ATP World Tour tennis finals, and many more.

Showtime Movie Package: Showcase and Showtime Premiere.

Movie Network Movie Package: Movie One and Movie Two.

[UPDATE]: Foxtel has since confirmed to GameSpot AU that the service will use up to 800MB per hour when viewing live television at the "optimum quality," while catch-up TV and video-on-demand streams will vary in line with the length of the content. According to the company, a 90-minute film is expected to clock in at approximately 800MB.

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