Wednesday, 30 January 2019

A few things to be aware of if you buy a Fetch TV streaming box package from iiNet, Dodo, Adam Internet, Optus or any other ISP.

If you intend to take up the Fetch TV offer from any ISP as part of a package, it's worthwhile to take the ISP to task over what happens to the Set Top Box if you leave the ISP in the future.

Some ISP's I believe, effectively "rent" you the Set Top Box and if you move from the ISP, the Set Top Box has to be returned. Fair enough.

Some ISP's make you purchase the Fetch Set Top Box outright (I know iiNet does), and then you purchase and stream whatever "channel package" you want from Fetch TV.

What the ISP's don't tell you is that the Fetch Set Top Box is loaded with "branded" firmware, that for all intents and purposes will only work with that ISP.

In addition to the confusion, is that you can buy retail versions of the Fetch Set Top Box from retailers such as JB HiFi, Harvey Norman etc and open an account with Fetch TV directly, and then you're not "tied" to any ISP.

Fetch TV also stated to a friend of mine, that they make it "abundantly clear" that they do not reload new firmware onto Set Top Boxes issued to an ISP for resale. Fetch TV were then taken to task to show on their website where they make this "abundantly clear", and they ignored it and never returned the email. My friend and I went through everything on the website, and couldn't find anything that relates to them advising that they will not reload new firmware onto a set top box purchased from an ISP. We searched around the start of March 2018, so there may have been something added since then. It's all a bit sneaky, and end Fetch users don't really know where they stand until they close their account with the internet provider only to find they can't move their Fetch set top box to any other Fetch provider, or deal direct with Fetch TV.

This is where you need to be careful.

According to the Fetch TV people, their attitude is "If you buy a set top box through an internet provider, and you leave that internet provider, then pretty much you have a useless set top box that won't connect to any other internet provider (that provides the Fetch TV service).

Fetch TV did advise that they are looking at ways of people being able to use their Fetch TV Set Top Box between different internet providers that offer the Fetch TV service. This was some time ago, and as far as I'm aware, nothing has happened on this front.

To me, Fetch TV's business model is wrong and self defeating. At least when you buy a Foxtel set top box, you know you're stuck with Foxtel. When you buy a Fetch TV set top box through your internet provider, no-one tells you that you are now locked into that provider for life, and Fetch appear to have themselves locked into contracts with resellers whereby they can't deal direct with the end user, even if the end user is no longer with the original company they bought the box from.

You'll also see Fetch TV television ads, which aids confusion, and in my opinion, offers the Fetch TV service, but never advises that dealing direct with Fetch themselves is not available to people who purchase their box through an internet retailer such as iiNet, DoDo, Adam Internet, Optus etc.

You've been warned.

As it currently stands at 31/1/2019, buy a Fetch Set Top Box through a Fetch enabled internet service provider, and you'll have a dead set top box if you leave that provider. Fetch TV will refuse to deal with you, so you have an expensive door stop.

Get Real