ABC iView coming to Telstra T-Box
By Adam TURNER
Telstra's half-hearted PVR is starting to shine as a streaming media player.
Whether you take a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty view of Telstra's set-top box depends on what you're looking for in a lounge room companion. If you're primarily after a Personal Video Recorder there are far better options around, although the new Freeview-enabled PVRs won't be of much use until the networks can manage to get their CRID data accurate (yes Nine, I'm looking at you).
If you're primarily after a media player then the T-Box looks a lot more attractive. At launch it had access to several online Bigpond TV channels along with the revamped Bigpond Movies service. Later Telstra added basic Foxtel access, including live AFL. A few weeks ago it enabled streaming media features which let it play video across your home network from a DLNA server such as a computer or network drive.
Now Telstra has finally announced it's adding the ABC's iView Catch Up TV service to the T-box "later this year", a move that's been on the cards for more than 12 months. iView access will certainly add to the T-Box's usefulness, although the ABC content is unlikely to be unmetered as the Telstra content is for Bigpond customers.
The iView announcement comes as part of Telstra's Connected Home push which is obviously designed to deeply embed Telstra hardware and services in Australian lounge rooms before the NBN brings true competition. Whether you like Telstra or not, you have to admit that the T-Box is starting to look like a valuable addition to any Bigpond customer's lounge room.
Other set-top box vendors might offer better PVRs, but they'll need to keep adding new features and services if they want to stay in the game. Yes TiVo Australia, I'm looking at you.
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Is there one?
Sorry, that's the best I could get. Pretty disappointing.
I specifically asked the girl on the phone, when I ordered the tbox, 'will it play iview?' - 'yes'.