CHOICE membership

Free to air television

I agree with those who say that paying doesn’t really improve the quality. We do have Foxtel Sports mainly for the Formula One and Netflix for adult children.
My husband and I rarely watch tv but are fairly religious about Friday night crime on the ABC and maybe the weekend. Wednesday nights we will watch some ABC comedy. The only other channel we watch is SBS and even then the change to the ad policy limits that. Most nights the tv doesn’t go on. My adult child doesn’t watch tv either.

There was a time when I would not have believed you had you told me that would happen. I get my news online.


I had a friend drop by who had missed an episode of ‘Masterchef’ from earlier in the week. I don’t watch it but pulled it up for them on the Tenplay catch-up app. That had a running time of 53 minutes for the programme plus about 6 minutes for the (non-skippable) ads that were inserted at four points. Yet looking at the TV guide for when the show was on it ran for 75 minutes. Which is a lot of extra promotional and advertising material for those watching live. That was one of the major reasons I started to give up watching.


I am the same. The only FTA television I watch is on ABC or SBS. You need to contact the free to air stations and let them know that you and your friends are disgusted with the reality shows being force fed to us and that you have switched off entirely. If enough people complain then they may get the message although I doubt it. Reality TV, especially shows like the Bachelor/ette, Love Island and Married at first sight, just reinforces the idea that to be worthwhile you need to be beautiful and have a great body. Intelligence is sorely missing from the contestants.


UNreality TV, as I like to call it, has no appeal to me whatsoever. It disturbs me when I hear how popular that sort of show is… people must have too much time on their hands!


I haven’t watched much if any TV in the last decade or two. I’m too busy writing angry comments on websites!

That said, my wife still watches the thing - and for some reason enjoys some of these ‘reality’ shows. Looking from the outside, I cannot see the entertainment in watching people be humiliated, embarrassed, arrested or whatever else they are showing now.


It’s free. Quality is a happy bonus.


I haven’t watched free to air or pay tv for years, although we do now pay for Stan and Netflix, but that’s mainly for the Mrs and our teenage boys. Some of the exclusive content is getting me watching again though, but not a lot of it. Can’t stand reality tv shows. The fix is simple. If you don’t like the show, don’t watch it. Problem solved. Other people do like them, so why take away what they like to see? I’m sure we all have shows we enjoy watching that others would rather didn’t exist. No one’s forcing them to watch something that I like.


We only watch the ABC or SBS and there are plenty of good programmes on. If not, we read.


Our local library stock a good supply of DVD movies and CD music. They also take written requests new material. Support your local library.


That’s an interesting observation on catch-up TV apps, it’s something that I’ve noticed as well. There seems to be less ads and there is the benefit of choosing your show for the mood at the time. On the downside, in the past some of the ads playing on catch-up apps can be even more repetitive than live TV as the same ad plays over and over.

Personally, I think it would be great if consumers had more options. When it comes to the traditional networks, a small fee to access ad-free content along with a more reasonable approach to the number of ads shown would be appreciated. There are some shows in the past where the ad time is a longer duration than the program itself. Big players like Foxtel once attracted customers with the lure of zero or minimal ads, nowadays I notice at friend’s houses who have the service that ads seem to take up as much airtime as the traditional networks. If they’re showing so many ads, why can’t Foxtel make the content cheaper or put together more customisable packages?


You have partly answered your own question. It comes to heritage and culture.

Fox = Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp
tel = Telstra
Foxtel ~ the most aggressive business tactics of each, combined. ka-ching.


:smile: It seems I have


I don’t watch a lot of reality but do watch a little.The question posed why is their so much reality because basically it rates well and costs not much to make.Foxtel is essential if you love Sport.I have had Foxtel for many years and love it.I don’t watch much FTA anymore.People say they don’t want to pay for it but many people these days either have that alternative like Netflix,Stan Telstra Box or purchasing a series on DVD perhaps or watching through a app to watch the Football for example.When it comes to commercials Foxtel does tend to get a bad wrap.Generally it just depends what channel your watching.If it’s any live sport their will be no ad breaks at all.Unless it’s a change of ends or end of a quarter then you will get some commercials.Movie channels are another great example you can watch a movie from start to finish with no interruptions


I remember a time when Australia had and enforced anti - siphoning laws regarding Free to Air TV . The FTA had to be offered the programs before Cable and Foxtel etc . /

I remember watching the F1 , Moto GP , Tennis and a host of other programs on FTA . What happened did they throw the anti -siphoning laws out or am I just getting old and starting to think about the " good old " days .?


The commercialisation of our society means that well will eventually live in an economy NOT in a community.
The same thing happened with channel “One” - originally a sports channel. The Murdochs are on the board so … The Formula one races used to be “worth watching”, now we get one or two day old “highlights”. These often miss twenty or thirty laps. The race order has completely changed with NO idea what happened.They (Murdochs) want you to watch pay TV so this is what they did.
I’ve stopped watching. Just watch the bikes (MotoGP) now …

To the Murdoshs and the others - I WILL NOT pay for TV - I WILL NOT pay for ads.
If I just watch movies and the news with my TV, sobeit…


I have an AppleTV4 and a FetchTV Mighty. Could have made do with the MIni, I never remember to record.

ON the AppleTV4 I have SBSonDemand, iView, and PLex for my local videos (I ripped all my DVDs to hard drive ages ago, lazybones me). I also pay for Netflix, at $10/month. I have no need for multiple screens or UHD, since my TV cant display that, and I live alone. I also have a SmartDNS which allows me to access the BBC, US ABC and NBC, theCW and CWSeed for all those DC Universe superhero things.

I spend most of my time on Netflix because… no ads. FetchTV is OK because its cheaper than Foxtel and gives a great spread of programs (but dont go looking for Westworld or Game of Thrones, you wont find those on Fetch). And there are no contracts. I also drop in and out of Stan once in a while. With no contracts, you can just pay for a month and see whatever you wanted at the time, then leave again until something else comes up that you like. I do the same with Netflix when I get bored with it.


I have a PVR and spend about 45 min a week flicking through the EPG programming shows (usually documentaries or intelligent programs i.e. ones you learn something from) to record for later watching, although you need to be careful as most stations try to catch you out by playing the same programs many times during the week. My son ditched Foxtel when they introduced advertisements as he objected to paying for the adds. My other alternative is to watch youtube on the TV as it is free and has millions of programs, including full length movies, as long as you do not want to watch the latest batch of rubbish movies.


What future do we wish for and what might we get?

Caveat: The future assumes you are one with a proper NBN service. The rest of us can breath easy.

Will “Free to Air” TV survive after the NBN is delivered? The writing is on the wall. It will not! It will transition to on-line only.

Will on-line digital delivery of media transition to pay per view (as for news papers)? The Death of free services!

Possibly not if you sign up and give away all your personal details. These should include the history of every purchase you make. You could also permit 24hr GPS tracking to help your advertiser better bring to you the products you might need at that instant? Everyone knows that if you run out of toot paper in a public toilet how difficult that can be. Let an Amazon drone predict this need and fly it to your throne just as you realise the roll has just run out! How could you refuse a service that good. What, it’s been three days since the last one? We also brought you something to help with that too! We’ve been keeping up (Health App) on how often and how long you visit those special private GPS aware spots. Even that special one behind the tree on the neighbour’s fence line.

Who needs “Choice” when you have Amazon and a drone to “fulfill” your every need?

p.s. Has Amazon trademarked “Fulfillment” yet?


There is an enormous and growing range of options for home entertainment. Apart from broadcast television (which I don’t watch), you can watch:

  • ABC iView (a catch-up service)
  • SBS OnDemand, which often has high quality movies available for streaming. At time of writing these include Paris, Texas, Syriana (starring George Clooney and Matt Damon), and a documentary on the Paradise Papers that we had all forgotten about years ago. They even have Kung Fu Jungle!
  • YouTube, which hosts some old movies, a wide range of documentaries, and all sorts of other stuff. (If you have an ad-blocker, these can often block YouTube ads ;)!)
  • Dailymotion, a YouTube competitor
  • BBC iView via a VPN service
  • Crackle, now SonyCrackle, hosts a number of ‘classic’ (?) movies
  • RedT… wait, this is a family-friendly site!
  • Vimeo.

For more, I suggest this article at Digital Trends, which has a list of a large number of websites that will serve movies to you freely and legally.

I was silly enough to search for ‘online movies’, and learned about a lot of illegal sites.

I hate to have to tell you this, but if you have a mobile phone and keep WiFi turned on, advertisers can already track you through any WiFi hotspot you happen to walk past. You don’t even need to log in. (This is not the case if you have an Apple device, as Apple decided to implement spoofing of its device MAC addresses specifically to prevent this.)

Sorry, but they’re not that quick yet - you need to press the button.


All those streaming services are great…if you have a decent Internet connection, if not then free to air is the only real option sadly.