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Looks Like Austar Customers Miss Out Again


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#1 duke

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 05:54 PM

http://www.tvtonight...ate-series.html

Let Foxtel take over already. We are getting rorted.

#2 pc9

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 08:15 AM

http://www.tvtonight...ate-series.html

Let Foxtel take over already. We are getting rorted.


I agree; surely this is an issue for the ACCC - the uncompetiive pricing of Austar at the premium end (HD) as compared to Foxtel. For example, currently I pay $130 for HD works, in this I get 17 Hd channels whereas for $132 on Foxtel, you get 21 soon to be 22 HD channels plus access to HD movies and the 3D channel.

#3 mjt57

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 11:46 AM

I agree; surely this is an issue for the ACCC -


The ACCC has said, time and again, that it sees no problem with the current Austar/Foxtel arrangement.

Obviously not enough people are complaining.

#4 pgdownload

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 01:01 PM

I agree; surely this is an issue for the ACCC

ACCC isn't involved because there's essentially no 'competition' to examine. I don't understand the reason why, but for some reason its quite legal for Foxtel and Austar to designate the regions they operate in and agree not to compete. I suppose the ACCC could order them to share infrastructure (like it does with Telstra) but as PayTV is a non-essential service it doesn't. It makes sense though as otherwise you'd be duplicating cable runs around the nation (Although as Austar are already beaming a signal all over Oz, its a bit surprising that metro customers couldn't be allowed to get a satellite box?) . Regardless, Austar (and Foxtel) are completely free to offer their products at whatever price they want.

Regards

Peter Gillespie

Edited by pgdownload, 12 October 2011 - 01:06 PM.


#5 DrP

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 02:42 PM

Consider just about every franchise operation. Each franchisee gets their own patch which others can not enter. Mercedes may not bother setting up a dealership in the proverbial one horse town, but Toyota might. Coles might setup a shop in an area and Woolworths might not.

There's no law that forces Austar & Foxtel to sell their products in the other's areas and it can't be proven that they have colluded to force prices up either.

#6 ozbrit

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 05:18 PM

ACCC isn't involved because there's essentially no 'competition' to examine. I don't understand the reason why, but for some reason its quite legal for Foxtel and Austar to designate the regions they operate in and agree not to compete. I suppose the ACCC could order them to share infrastructure (like it does with Telstra) but as PayTV is a non-essential service it doesn't. It makes sense though as otherwise you'd be duplicating cable runs around the nation (Although as Austar are already beaming a signal all over Oz, its a bit surprising that metro customers couldn't be allowed to get a satellite box?) . Regardless, Austar (and Foxtel) are completely free to offer their products at whatever price they want.

Regards

Peter Gillespie


How I understood it, the arrangement came about because Foxtel and optusvision were initially cable only providers. That limited their activities to metropolitan districts only. Galaxy were the microwave delivery Guys to the same markets. This delivery proved limited when 30 or more channels needed to be offered so the Government allowed them to switch to satelite delivery. When Galaxy disappeared, the cable operators were then allowed to take on the satelite subscribers in these metro areas and that's how Foxtel became a satelite as well as a Cable delivery Company. I don't know whether the basic legislation has changed in the past 15 years. If it hasn't, then Foxtel cannot offer services to regional Australia even if they wanted to.

Both Foxtel and Austar satelite customers receive channels from Optus satelites, the same Satelites which allows Foxtel to provide overseas programming to their Cable subscribers as well.

Edited by ozbrit, 12 October 2011 - 05:26 PM.


#7 Bobbsy

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 05:54 PM

I see this is happening again with Foxtel picking up the A&E channel but it not being available to Austar subscribers.

I have no idea if I'd ever watch this channel--but I do wish there was either genuine competition between Foxtel and Austar so I could choose one or the other--or that Foxtel would buy out Austar so we could all get the same services for the same money. The present situation discriminates against those of use who are forced to use Austar. (And I'm not exactly out in the sticks--I'm in a city of 125,000 people but, through history, we get Austar not Foxtel.

#8 pgdownload

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 06:47 PM

or that Foxtel would buy out Austar so we could all get the same services for the same money.

Foxtel has currently offered to do just that. The ACCC is resistant (because it see Austars potential to compete as being much improved if the NBN rolls out properly. We've been waiting over 6 months for a decision.

Regards

Peter Gillespie

#9 pc9

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 06:51 PM

I see this is happening again with Foxtel picking up the A&E channel but it not being available to Austar subscribers.

I have no idea if I'd ever watch this channel--but I do wish there was either genuine competition between Foxtel and Austar so I could choose one or the other--or that Foxtel would buy out Austar so we could all get the same services for the same money. The present situation discriminates against those of use who are forced to use Austar. (And I'm not exactly out in the sticks--I'm in a city of 125,000 people but, through history, we get Austar not Foxtel.


I don't give a damn about A&E but totally agree with your arguments. Foxtel are apparently scheduling to introduce 2 more hd channels in the second half of next year; I suspect using spare channels freed up after the London Olympics. You can bet your right arm that Austar will not be picking these services up due to cost pressures. They can't afford to wipe their backsides - bring on the merger.

#10 BamBBBam

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 08:40 AM

Hey I'll give you A&E and Speed if you give us Al Jazeera and CCTV!

#11 xJTx

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 05:40 PM

Hey I'll give you A&E and Speed if you give us Al Jazeera and CCTV!


We already have Speed. Al Jazeera is free to air via the satellite and CCTV is crap.

Here's what Austar people miss out on:

*A&E / A&E HD (from 16 February 2012)
*FX / FX HD (from 26 February 2012)
*MTV Hits
*MTV Live / MTV Live HD
*CNBC Australia
*Discovery HD
*Nat Geo HD
*Nat Geo Wild HD
*Sky News Local
*3D CHANNEL
*BOX OFFICE HD
*ON DEMAND via IPTV

Not to mention, a Set top box / pvr that actually works and doesn't randomly reboot, freeze, fail and wipe itself.

#12 doodlefeatures

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 09:20 AM

We already have Speed. Al Jazeera is free to air via the satellite and CCTV is crap.

Here's what Austar people miss out on:

*A&E / A&E HD (from 16 February 2012)
*FX / FX HD (from 26 February 2012)
*MTV Hits
*MTV Live / MTV Live HD
*CNBC Australia
*Discovery HD
*Nat Geo HD
*Nat Geo Wild HD
*Sky News Local
*3D CHANNEL
*BOX OFFICE HD
*ON DEMAND via IPTV

Not to mention, a Set top box / pvr that actually works and doesn't randomly reboot, freeze, fail and wipe itself.

Do you get BBC Knowledge HD?

#13 jsmith

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 10:01 AM

The present situation discriminates against those of use who are forced to use Austar.

In what way are you forced?

JSmith :ninja:

#14 lizclinton

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 11:47 AM

In what way are you forced?

JSmith :ninja:


If you live in an Austar area and phone Foxtel to subscribe you are politely told no you can not sign up for Foxtel and you must call Austar instead. Believe me I tried many times when I used to live in Hobart before moving here to Sydney.

#15 jsmith

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 12:38 PM

If you live in an Austar area and phone Foxtel to subscribe you are politely told no you can not sign up for Foxtel and you must call Austar instead. Believe me I tried many times when I used to live in Hobart before moving here to Sydney.


Yes but no one is breaking his arm to utilise the Austar service... maybe he meant "if I want cable style channels I am forced to use Austar". There's plenty of FTA for free...

JSmith :ninja:

#16 lizclinton

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 01:03 PM

Yes well FTA is the best advert pay could have ever asked for. It could only be Freeview that so stupidly handed HD over to pay TV on a platter. As an ex Austar customer I can feel a lot of sympathy for those unlucky people stuck with second rate decoders and less channels than their city cousins just because of a gentleman’s agreement between two American billionaires.

#17 Bobbsy

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 02:50 AM

In what way are you forced?

JSmith :ninja:


I am forced in that, if I want the channel selection of pay TV, my only option is Austar. Due to the "gentleman's agreement", Foxtel will not sell to customers in my city.

Yes, I could cut off my nose to spite my face and just use Freeview--but if I want more channels, my choice is Austar or Austar.

#18 Bobbsy

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 02:55 AM

Yes but no one is breaking his arm to utilise the Austar service... maybe he meant "if I want cable style channels I am forced to use Austar". There's plenty of FTA for free...

JSmith :ninja:


You get my daily award for pedantry.

Anyway, I guess we have different definitions of "plenty", particularly if you want HD channels since most HD on FTA is upconverted 20 year old American stuff.

Let me ask YOU a question: why are you defending the indefensible? Check xJTx's list of what I cannot get simply down to a fluke of geography.

#19 jsmith

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 07:51 AM

Anyway, I guess we have different definitions of "plenty", particularly if you want HD channels since most HD on FTA is upconverted 20 year old American stuff.

...why are you defending the indefensible?


Don't get me wrong I feel for people in this situation, especially people who like their HD sport. In hindsight my comments may have been a little harsh, but surely provides some balance to the discussion. I know FTA HD has taken a dive and I hate that just as much as the next person. On that note though if one is not happy with a service and the provider refuses to improve it there really is no need to pay for it. So I'm not trying to defend the "corporate" as you so imply.

$120 a month and upwards buys quite a few HD movies and HD TV/doco's on bluray from OS, not to mention the availability of all American HD TV online. Possibly the monthly fee could be spent elsewhere?

Once the NBN is rolled out these providers will have more competition from online HD providers, so let them p!ss their customer base off... they won't have as many soon.

JSmith :ninja:

#20 fairybread

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 03:28 PM

I don't get all the angst toward Austar. For $80 bucks a month I get the MyStar HD basic package and the sports package which is more channels than I have time to watch. I have access to On Demand and Special Events features.

I have to reset the box once every 6-8 weeks - no biggy. It's never missed a recording. PQ is great. FTA channels are integrated so no fiddling with two PVRs. UI is pretty good and its easy to use (it's survived the kid, wife and mother inlaw test).

Why do those with FoxTel think they are getting a superior product and more to the point why are they so rightous and snipy about it?

#21 Bobbsy

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 03:54 PM

$120 a month and upwards buys quite a few HD movies and HD TV/doco's on bluray from OS, not to mention the availability of all American HD TV online. Possibly the monthly fee could be spent elsewhere?

Once the NBN is rolled out these providers will have more competition from online HD providers, so let them p!ss their customer base off... they won't have as many soon.

JSmith :ninja:



Blue Ray isn't really the solution for the things I miss on Discovery and Nat Geo (neither of which I have in HD) and these are the channels I'd most like to have. We do watch some HD movies but I'm more into factual programming than entertainment.

I agree with your comments about the NBN and (barring Abbott getting into power) this provides me with some hope. Alas, my ADSL2 speeds are pretty marginal for watching any video in HD quality...but this is a separate discussion! However, for now my realistic choices are Austar or nothing.

To Fairybread, I guess everybody's likes and experiences are different. Our Mystar HD boxes (we have two) are certainly less reliable than yours. Ours decide to reboot themselves at random probably twice a week each on average--and freeze up (causing us to do a manual reboot) quite often as well. We miss quite a few recordings because of this--and have other little niggles about slow responses to control inputs. We're on our 3rd box in one room and 2nd in the other and they both have a different set of foibles.

The true solution to all this is to simply outlaw the present area-based monopoly situation and force Austar and Foxtel to compete head on everywhere.

#22 BamBBBam

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 07:08 PM

The true solution to all this is to simply outlaw the present area-based monopoly situation and force Austar and Foxtel to compete head on everywhere.


There is nothing to outlaw.. F & A don't compete because they have a 'gentleman's agreement' not to. If there was a signed document somewhere, then you might have a case.

And how can you force them to compete?

#23 Bobbsy

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 08:53 PM

Many countries, including Australia, have laws that prohibit just such "gentleman's agreements" where they negatively impact the consumer. If the ACCC and/or ACMA had the consumer's best interest at heart, they could and should rule the gentleman's agreement to be anticompetitive and illegal.

No, I'm not holding my breath waiting for this to happen--but I have filed a formal complaint with both Foxtel and Austar...and copied it the the ACCC.

I'm not expecting anything to happen--but if I get any sort of meaningful reply, I'll let the forum know.

#24 lizclinton

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 10:36 AM

I don't get all the angst toward Austar. For $80 bucks a month I get the MyStar HD basic package and the sports package which is more channels than I have time to watch. I have access to On Demand and Special Events features.

I have to reset the box once every 6-8 weeks - no biggy. It's never missed a recording. PQ is great. FTA channels are integrated so no fiddling with two PVRs. UI is pretty good and its easy to use (it's survived the kid, wife and mother inlaw test).

Why do those with FoxTel think they are getting a superior product and more to the point why are they so rightous and snipy about it?


You must have one of the only good ones out there! I have a couple of mates back home with Mystar HD's and they have to reset them at least once every week. Not to mention the stupid problem with the FTA tuners in the box that insist on tuning into the weakest signal available making that side of the unit totally useless. They have spent hours on the phone trying to get Austar to address this problem without any success. Why on earth would they pre-program the box to scan every FTA channel in use in the entire state is beyond me. Surely they could have set the thing up so the installer could have locked the FTA channels to only the ones being used locally at the install site but oh no not Austar and now they know they have a problem its head back in the sand time for them. As a comparison I have had the same IQ2 box now since October 2009 and it's been used for recording everything at home and as yet has not missed a beat or needed any resets. As an ex Austar victim I find that fact totally amazing while sadly people who have always lived here just take that sort of reliability for granted.

#25 pgdownload

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 11:25 AM

Many countries, including Australia, have laws that prohibit just such "gentleman's agreements" where they negatively impact the consumer. If the ACCC and/or ACMA had the consumer's best interest at heart, they could and should rule the gentleman's agreement to be anticompetitive and illegal.

Not sure about that. Where two companies provide services to the same area, there's definitely laws to prevent them from having "Gentlemen's Agreements". However you generally can't force a company to provide services to someone - the only exception I can think of is Telstra (and now the NBN) and that's because a telephone is considered an essential service.

That said, I find it strange that users can't sign up for satelite reception (Or do satelitle boxes still need some connection back to Foxtel via landline?)

Regards

Peter Gillespie