The Great Foxtel Challenge

It was another night of “The Great Foxtel Challenge”. I’m attempting to see if I can “give up” Foxtel for a week, with a view to ending my subscription. I’m doing it partly for economic reasons ($1000 per annum), and partly because my own viewing habits have changed somewhat.

I first subscribed to Foxtel in about December 2004 when I returned home from my year in Perth. At about the time, my apartment block was “wired” for Foxtel Satellite and I was an enthusiastic early subscriber. Since then I’ve hardly ever watched free-to-air television, and I’ve loved the convenience of being able to listen to ABC Radio in all its forms via the superior sound quality of the satellite.

Lately however, I begun to notice I’m watching less and less live television: I’ve been using the ABC’s iview, and my recent purchase of a PVR has meant that I’m able to “time shift” a lot more often. I’ve also recently bought a digital and internet radio which delivers reasonably high quality radio. The recent launch of ABC News 24 has also meant one of my main reasons for subscribing to paytv has also been catered for: 24 hour news.

I’ve also noticed recently my general television viewing habits tends have tended to involve television as “background noise” or “company” more than active viewing.

And so as all of these things have combined, I’ve decided to attempt a week without Foxtel. It’s a bit like “Dry July” in some respects. In fact, I might even extend it to a month to make sure I’m certain about this potential change.

So far, I’ve managed to avoid Foxtel since Saturday, though I “caved” on Sunday night for an hour with repeats of “Are You Being Served?” and “Yes Prime Minister”. Oh, the shame.

I’m anxiously awaiting to see what 7, 9 and 10 will do with their remaining digital channels. I like Go. But for me, personally, 7TWO and OneHD are like watching paint dry. I hope these networks will offer something truly interesting with their remaining channels. Presumably SBS will also offer an addition channel? I don’t care much for HD, I’d much rather more choices in SD.

Getting rid of Foxtel? The main pro, of course, is that I’d save $1000 each year.

The cons? There are things I think I would miss: I would miss some of the documentaries (particularly Louis Theroux, my most recent obsession), I would miss some of the Swedish movies I can often find on World Movies, and I would miss repeats of The Simpsons, Frasier, Will & Grace, Absolutely Fabulous and Yes Prime Minister. Although I know I can find many of these things on DVD (or download), there’s a degree of “convenience” that allows you to simply turn on the television and have countless choices. On a “con” basis, it would also probably lead to an increase in my data consumption via my internet connection. But I also hardly ever get close to my data limit anyway.

Of course another option is just to get a new boyfriend.

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5 Comments

  1. I’ve never had Foxtel so therefore don’t know what I’m missing, but there’s always something to watch on digital terrestrial if you can flip through the schedules and record stuff/time shift. 7Two has its moments, it had a run of UK detective things that were good, plus of course the Friday night instalment of #60MMO.

    As you say you could sweeten the pill by using a proportion of the $1,000 saved on DVDs. And also many ISPs have both iTunes and iView in their free quota. I can watch as much iView as I like on iiNet without worrying about download limits. :-)

  2. The only thing I miss from when I had paytv (maybe around 10 years ago?) was around midnight on a friday night when an Elvria-type character would come on and play two classic horror films, followed up by an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Nowadays that stuff is all too accessible by other means.

  3. I managed to make it all through August and some of September and cancelled my subscription on September 13. A few weeks later and I have no regrets. FTA digital has improved significantly, I download or watch back on the web. I don’t miss it.

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