Pay TV in Australia: What is It and How Does It Work?

  • Pay TV in Australia: What is It and How Does It Work?
  • What Really is Pay TV?
  • How Does It Work?

Gone were the days when we had to wait for a week just to be able to watch the next episode of the movie series we like. We also don’t have to endure the half-day long news telecast on the TV just to entertain ourselves during weekends. Yes. It is all thanks to the arrival of Pay TV!

It was just in 2012 when major Pay TV companies demolished the decades-long dominance of free-to-air TV programs in the entertainment and media industry in Australia. Back then, people could only watch what the free-to-air television channels broadcast which usually includes time-limited programs, per-week airing of series episodes, and longer run-time of News telecasts.

With the arrival of Pay TV, the streaming of movies and television landscape in Australia drastically changed in a short span of time. This is due to the fact that a wider range of channels and entertainment packages are offered by Pay TV providers which are a far cry from the traditional free-to-air telecasts.

Much more to our anticipation, the launching of heavyweight streaming service providers like Netflix and Stan has pushed the landscape of TV and the media industry to move up to greater heights. Pay TV providers have come up with various options and have buckled up their ideas to provide a haven of media streaming for Aussie viewers and audiences.

What Really is Pay TV?

Pay TV is an umbrella term that commonly talks about television services that are provided through digital cables, analog, and satellite. This type of television landscape is in the form of subscriptions. Notable competitors in this industry are Foxtel, Stan, Fetch, and Netflix.

The subscription-based television providers open Pandora's box containing a bunch of options and channels which are only made available to their subscribers. With this being said, Pay TV is also known as Premium Television Channels because of the type of service it provides.

The subscription payment varies with each Pay TV provider. Way back when Foxtel has nearly monopolized the industry of Pay TV, the subscription payment was relatively high. You will also have to agree in a 12 months contract if you want to experience a new landscape of TV and media entertainment far from the non-stop repeated telecast of free-to-air TV. However, with the growth of the Pay TV industry and birth of promising competitors, we now have a vast array of Pay TV subscription options offering different features at different prices.

Pay TV service providers’ mode of profit is through subscription. Unlike the other sectors of the media industry where length of views and numbers of views matter, Pay TV providers  focus on acquiring more subscribers as they are the source of wealth in this industry.

How Does It Work?

In Pay TV, the channels are transmitted through different modes. Some utilises analog cables, digital cables, and fibre networks while some are broadcasted in forms of signal waves through satellites.

The availability of such medium of transmission in Pay TV scheme stretches its difference with free-to-air TV farther. Depending on the mode of signal transmission your Pay TV subscription offers, you can get varying audio and visual quality--nonetheless, still better than the traditional TV. 

The differences of analog cable signal transmission, digital cable signal transmission, and satellite signal transmission marks a clear thick line. In an analog transmission, the signal is broadcast the same way as radio signals. A long wave of signal characterised by frequency variations, which we call channels, are broadcasted. However, this kind of transmission is prone to interference which may affect the transmitted frequencies. As a result, analog signal transmission users may experience ghosting, poor sound quality, and fluctuations in color and brightness. 

On the other hand, digitally transmitted signals produce better visual and audio quality compared to analog transmitted signals. Here, instead of transmitting a single wave of signal, digital TV broadcasts compressed data which we call “packets”. This technology is similar to our computers’ language. Digital transmission transforms content into a language in the sequences of  0s and 1s/on and of bits. The packets are compositions of bits of images which when received by the television resembles the exact copy of the broadcasted image. Unlike analog transmission, the signal in digital broadcasting is immune to interference;thus, providing a better quality of audio and image transmission plus the large capacity of broadcasting a larger variety of channels.

Satellite transmission utilises the same data compression process like digital cable transmission. Through this transmission, signals are broadcasted via satellites orbiting the planet and are received by a dish-like antenna. This set-up will require you to place the satellite dish on your rooftop facing the sky while making sure that it is unobstructed. Experts say that satellite images are higher in quality compared to digitally transmitted images. However, the difference  could  only be noticed if you have a high-edge TV monitor. An advantage of having satellite Pay TV is that it could be accessible even in the areas where digital and analog transmission couldn’t reach. The downside is that the signal is exposed to interference such as cloudy skies or presence of storm.

How to Avail a Pay TV in Australia?

In order for you to avail a Pay TV in Australia you will need to subscribe to a Pay TV provider. The minimum length of subscription is usually 1 month with some providers offering free trials. The cost of subscription varies as different options showcase variation in picture quality, number of channels, and access to premium channels. Along with the subscription of Pay TV, you will have to pay for the digital box or satellite dish which will be set up in your home. In Australia, there are a vast number of Pay TV providers from which you can choose from. Watch this space to know more about top pay TV providers in Oz!

Best Pay TV Subscriptions