TV Cable Set-Top Australia Timeline

Click here for a full list of FTA (Free-to-air) channels in 2024

Foxtel & Optus launch separate 20 channel cable services in Sep 1995 using analog ("raster lines") at 6MHz per channel. Also FTA via cable. Analog signal switched off in 2007.
1. FoxtelOn March 14 2004, Foxtel launched 130 digital ("pixels") channels, including 27 "video-on-demand" channels at $4.76 per show. In 2005 Foxtel released its iQ digital recorder, with iQ2 enabled for the Internet in 2010. Latest model is iQ5, needs a working outlet.

In 2013 Foxtel Now launched as Foxtel Play, offering Internet streaming. In 2017 released its own set-top box.

In October 2023 Foxtel switched off its cable network after 28 years of operation, having been replaced by the NBN.

In March 2024 the Hubbl device released as Foxtel's new set-top box.

Click here for its TV centre in Sydney

Stats in September 2023

  • Subscribers to Foxtel TV via satellite and NBN were 1.54 million subscribers
  • Subscribers to Foxtel Internet Streaming packages were Foxtel Now (167,000), Kayo Sports (1.4 million), and Binge (1.5 million)
2. OptusIn 2005 Optus also switched to digital using Foxtel iQ set-tops. With the NBN launch, Optus support ceased.
In its place from 2012 - 2022 Optus became a major onseller for Fetch live TV shows and streaming, a customer base in 2022 estimated at about 670,000.

Fetch TV originally launched in 2010 using iiNet as its ISP. Based in Sydney, owner Astro Malaysia, it provides customers with a Fetch Mighty (m616T) set-top box with Fetch Mini also available, a rival to Foxtel TV and until 2022 Telstra. Since Aug 2nd 2022 Fetch is majority owned by Telstra, who acquired a 51.4% stake in the company.

Click here for its current TV guide

Internet Streaming How it works
Each on-demand show has been broken into tiny files progressively downloaded. Streaming automatically adapts to bandwidth e.g. SD=3mbps, HD=7mbps, 4K=25mbps with usually a 20-60 second delay to avoid buffering issues, and support for FF and Rewind through a playlist of small images.

The two major protocols are HLS, launched on the Apple iPhone in 2009, and MPEG-DASH based on Qualcomm's 3G work with Mobile Phone circuitry prior to 2011. Dash's large users are Netflix, Amazon and YouTube.

Combined with HTML5 found in computer browsers since 2012, the two protocols replaced earlier plug-in Adobe Flash used with the YouTube launch in 2005. Another protocol developed in 2010 for the IE browser, Microsoft Smooth Streaming currently sees little use.

Major Players in Australia in 2024 (estimates in 2023 from Telsyte)

  • Australian companies Binge (Foxtel) with 1.5 million and Stan launched Jan 2015 with 2.6 million subscribers.
  • US companies
    1. Netflix launched Mar 2015 with 6.1 million subscribers.
    2. Amazon Prime launched Jun 2018, with 4.5 million.
    3. Disney+ launched Nov 2019, with 3.1 million.
    4. Paramount+ launched Aug 2021, with 1.5 million.


  1. Set-top: Telstra TV (2015 - 2022). Telstra TV was based on Roku, the Netflix streaming device built in 2007. During 2024 Telstra TV plans to migrate its users to Fetch TV.
  2. Smart TVs: including LG & Samsung TVs, plus the following three major devices below Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast / Android TVs
  3. Computers: Windows, Mac & Google Chrome
  4. Mobiles and Tablets: Google Android, Apple iPhone & iPad
  5. Game Consoles: Sony Playstation (PS4 & PS5) and Microsoft Xbox (One & Series X & S)
3. Apple TVSet-Top Box launched in 2007.
In 2016 Apple TV app released for iPhones, iPads and in 2019 the Mac.
In 2019 Apple TV+ launched, providing a video service.
4. Fire TVSet-Top Box launched in 2014, developed by Amazon.
5. Google ChromecastDongle device launched in 2020, using a modified Android TV operating system, successor to Google TV (2010-2014).


According to Roy Morgan research surveys, the actual viewer totals are much higher

January 12 2021
New data from Roy Morgan shows Australians consumed subscription TV services at an astonishing rate during 2020 as Australians endured a nation-wide lockdown from late March until late May and Victorians experienced a second, and longer, lockdown soon after.

17.3 million Australians (82.1%) watched a subscription TV service in an average four weeks.

All the major subscription TV services have been big winners during 2020 with large increases in viewers for Netflix, Foxtel, Stan, Disney+ and Amazon Prime.

Netflix is by far Australia’s most watched subscription television service with 14 million viewers (over two-thirds of all Australians aged 14+) in an average four weeks.

Foxtel experienced faster growth across its services and now has a total of 7.7 million viewers of either Foxtel, Foxtel Now, Kayo Sports or Binge in an average four weeks. Also growing viewership strongly during 2020 have been third-placed Stan which grew to 4.9 million viewers, Amazon Prime which went to 3.3 million viewers and newcomer Disney+ which now has 2.8 million viewers after being launched in late 2019.

This new data comes from Roy Morgan Single Source, derived from in-depth interviews with around 50,000 Australians.


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