Telstra has announced it will soon sell a new internet-connected TV set-top box which will give Aussie TV lovers access to all the major streaming service.
The new Telstra TV, set for release in September 2015, will ship will pre-installed apps for Netflix, Stan and Presto, plus movie rental through Bigpond Movies and a number of local catch-up TV services.
The new streaming box is based on the Roku 2, a popular streaming device sold in the U.S. It’s yet to be seen how similar the software features of Telstra TV will be to the Roku 2, but the original is capable of universal searching across all included streaming services installed, and streaming of local content stored on PCs and networked storage devices.
The Roku 2 can be controlled using apps installed on smartphones and tablets, as well as by using the included remote control.
If bought in the U.S., the Roku 2 box includes apps to other popular online music and video services, including YouTube, Crackle, Vevo and Pandora. We’ll have to wait and see which of these services are included in the Telstra TV box, and which Telstra will perceive as completion to its local offerings and cull. In its announcement Telstra writes, “Details of other apps, including YouTube and other apps included in Roku devices overaseas will be available closer to launch.”
Pricing for Telstra TV has yet to be announced, but Telstra has announced that it will be available to buy outright in early September, and will be included in broadband bundles later in the month.
Also good news, Telstra broadband customers will be able to download from Bigpond Movies and streaming over Presto without the data counting against their monthly download quotas.
All in all, the Telstra TV box looks like a strong competitor to existing streaming solutions, like Apple TV and Google's Chromecast. If its local content streaming feature remains in this release, it will certainly be a winner for those of us with libraries of content stored on the hard drives in our computers.
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