Internet television in Australia is the digital distribution of movies and television content via the Internet. In Australia, Internet television is provided by five major pay-per-view providers, in addition to several niche television streaming services. Australia’s five major free-to-air television networks all offer catch up TV of previously broadcast content to watch via the Internet or via podcasts – drawing on both domestic and foreign content.
A feature of Internet television is that a user can view TV or video on demand. Some distributors provide content as downloads, whiles other streaming media; the main difference being that with downloads the end-user must have storage capacity for the content on their device and must wait for the download to be completed before the content can be viewed, while streamed content can be viewed almost immediately, but is not stored for a later second viewing.
Whether downloaded or streamed, video files over the Internet are usually metered in Australia, with most ISPs setting download quotas which can limit the downloads that a subscriber can make without incurring additional costs. ISPs also provide plans with unlimited downloads. Some ISPs offer downloads on a quota-free basis for partnered television services, which is also known as “unmetered” content.
In February 2006, Telstra launched Bigpond Movies, a video on demand rental service. The service uses progressive download, which downloads a video (rather than streaming) and allows viewers to commence watching once enough of the download is completed and can then view the movie uninterrupted to its finish.
Bigpond Movies offers movies for rental and for purchase, as well as purchasing of TV shows from some networks. The service is only available on Windows PCs, certain LG and Samsung devices as well as Telstra devices such as the ‘T-Box’. Bigpond Movies (and Bigpond TV) are available quota-free to Bigpond ISP customers, but not other Australian Internet users.