​Telstra TV: The Roku box that could

Goes on sale 27 October

Eric Kearley, Director, IPTV and PayTV at Telstra, presenting the interface of Telstra TV.

Eric Kearley, Director, IPTV and PayTV at Telstra, presenting the interface of Telstra TV.

Netflix, Stan and Presto: no matter the service, Telstra wants its brand to be synonymous with streaming video on demand (SVOD).

The company has launched a single media streamer, called Telstra TV, that unites the content from all three SVOD services.

Telstra announced its ambition to bring a neutral media streamer to the market in September. The company opened pre-orders last night and expect to have it in store on 27 October, said Eric Kearley, Director, IPTV and PayTV at Telstra.

“It'll be sold from all our channels,” he said at the company’s launch event. “You won’t be able to pass a Telstra shop without noticing it."

Buy a Telstra TV before Christmas and it will come with free 3 month subscriptions to Stan and Presto, as well as a $15 voucher to be used with Bigpond Movies.

Existing customers will be able to buy a Telstra TV for $109 outright. Customers who sign up to Telstra’s top-end broadband plans — L or XL — will get the media streamer bundled at no additional cost.

Telstra partnered with Roku to produce the tiny media streamer. Eighteen months of planning has been invested in forging relationships and developing Telstra TV.

It brings together the services from Netflix, Stan and Presto, as well as catch TV services and Bigpond Movies.

Customers will pick and choose the services they wish to subscribe. Currently it is not possible to bundle the pricing of all three SVOD services together.

Read more: ​Foxtel more than doubles broadband data allowances

"Content partners choose how to design the experience within the apps," said Kearley. Roku’s ecosystem has 2500 apps in the US. The Telstra TV is being launched with fifteen.

"We will launch apps as we see fit, and also as they have appeal."

The company is positioning the content service as an introduction to Pay TV.

Key to its appeal is the media streamer’s simplicity. It is tiny, no larger than a hard drive, and it works with a remote control that has only a few buttons.

Read more: Quickflix halts trading ahead of acquisition

The skeletal interface only presents options that are relevant. Set-up is guided and simple; the least convenient part involves registering for an account.

Partnering with Roku was a “strategic decision”, said Joe Pollard, managing director of media and marketing at Telstra. Roku streaming devices have already garnered some popularity in the the US, Canada and the UK.

The promise is there for Telstra TV. It may be the easiest way to get SVOD content onto a household’s favourite screen.

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Tony Ibrahim
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