Tech Know: Streaming video set-top boxes

Tech Know: Streaming video set-top boxes

April 5, 2019 By mediabest

A great way to give your lounge room a smart makeover, these tiny set-top boxes put the best of broadcast and broadband TV on the big screen.

The new Telstra TV 3 streaming box adds the same time-bending features as the Fetch TV Mini, letting you pause and even rewind live free-to-air television. Neither box can record broadcasts, but they can tap into Catch Up streaming from the five major free-to-air broadcasters, along with movie rentals.

Rather than reach for the remote, you can boss around these set-top boxes by talking to Google Assistant on a Google Home smart speaker. The Telstra TV 3 also has built-in cross-platform voice search, so when you ask for your favourite show or actor it searches across all the available video services.

Both boxes let you watch Netflix and Stan (owned by Nine, publisher of The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald), it's the other streaming services which differentiate them. Keep in mind only the Telstra box supports 4K resolution, so if you're keen on 4K then the more expensive Fetch TV Mighty (which can also record broadcasts) would be a better choice than the Mini.

VERDICT

It really comes down to what you want to watch – Foxtel Now and Kayo will cement the deal for the Telstra TV 3 in many homes, while others will lean towards the Fetch TV Mini for the likes of EPL on Optus Sport. The Telstra TV 3 is also a little more user-friendly for the less tech-savvy members of the household.

TelstraTVCredit:

Telstra TV 3 $219

The big selling points here are the Foxtel Now and sporty Kayo streaming services, which are handy if you don't want to pay for a full home Foxtel service to watch exclusive live sport and premium content like HBO's Game of Thrones each week. Its slick menus also make it a bit easier to find new shows than with the Fetch TV Mini. One catch is that the Telstra TV 3's voice and free-to-air television features stop working if you switch from Telstra to another Internet Service Provider.

Fetch TV Mini $169

Fetch TV also has pay TV channels, with the main attractions including Optus' English Premier League and Ultimate Fighting Championships. Several ISPs sell the Fetch TV Mini, but some remove the Optus channels so shop with care. If your ISPs won't sell you an Optus-capable box, but you want the Optus channels, then buy your Fetch TV Mini directly from a retailer such as JB Hi-Fi or Harvey Norman.

Fetch TV Mini boxCredit:

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When it comes to watching your own video library, the Telstra TV 3 and Fetch TV Mini can stream video from some Chromecast-enabled smartphone apps as well as from a DLNA server running your computer or network drive. The Telstra box adds support for Plex, which makes it easy to stream video to a wide range of devices, even across the internet. You can also stream live broadcasts from the Fetch TV Mighty in the lounge room to the Fetch TV Mini in another room, which is handy if there isn't an aerial socket close by.

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