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Hubbl: Should you buy Foxtel’s new streaming hub?


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Hubbl wrangles all your streaming apps into a single user interface. Here's our early verdict.

Foxtel is dipping its toes back into the hardware space with a range of new streaming devices for Australian customers.

Its centrepiece product is the Hubbl - a set top box that connects to your TV via HDMI.

Similar to the Apple TV, Hubbl allows you to access multiple streaming services via a central user interface.

In addition to Foxtel platforms like Kayo Sports and Binge, the box supports competing services and free-to-air TV apps including Netflix, YouTube, Disney+, Prime Video, Apple TV+, ABC iView, SBS On Demand, 7plus, 9Now and 10Play.

The package also includes a remote control with dedicated buttons for Kayo, Binge and Netflix.

So does anyone actually need this thing?

After all, most modern TVs come with built-in access to a multitude of streaming apps (and you don't have to give up a HDMI port for the privilege.)

Let's take a look at what Hubbl offers for your hard earned cash.

What streaming apps are available on Hubbl?

As launch, the Hubbl will provide access to 14 streaming services, which are as follows:

  • 7plus
  • 9Now
  • 10 Play
  • ABC iView
  • ABC Kids
  • Apple TV+
  • Disney+
  • Flash
  • Kayo Sports
  • Netflix
  • Prime Video
  • SBS On Demand
  • YouTube

2 notable omissions are Stan and Paramount+. However, Foxtel has confirmed that both apps will be added "soon", alongside Optus Sport.

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If you subscribe to less popular apps such as Britbox or Shudder you're unfortunately out of luck.

How much does Hubbl cost?

The Hubbl Set Top box will retail for $99 at launch.

This compares favourably to the Apple TV 4K and Fire TV Stick 4K Max, which cost $219 and $119, respectively.

The Chromecast with Google TV is priced identically to the Hubbl, although you can usually find it cheaper online.

Needless to say, you also need to pay the monthly subscription fees for any streaming apps you use.

Should you buy it?

One of the main drawcards of Hubbl is the ability to search for movies and TV shows across multiple apps in a single location.

This is a feature lacking in most TVs and games consoles, which require you to fire up each app individually to search for a title. This can get exceedingly annoying if you regularly hunt for specific movies.

Whether this is worth the $99 outlay and extra clutter in your home entertainment unit is open to debate.

Another crucial factor is the remote control. We've yet to test the Hubbl so we can't vouch for its responsiveness or user friendliness. We'll report back with our verdict on the remote in the days ahead.

One thing to note is the trio of dedicated buttons. If you don't subscribe to Kayo, Binge or Netflix these buttons are a liability.

Assuming the remote control and UI are up to scratch, the decision to buy really comes down to the number of streaming services you use.

To get value from Hubbl, you really need to be a regular user of at least 4 of the supported apps.

What about Hubbl Glass?

The Hubbl isn't the only product Foxtel is bringing to market.

In addition to the set top box detailed above, Foxtel is also launching a series of 4K TVs powered by the Hubbl interface. Yes, really.

Dubbed Hubbl Glass, the TVs use an Ultra HD Quantum Dot panel with a native resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels.

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There are 2 options to choose from - a 55-inch and 65-inch version. Apart from the size, both models are identical.

In terms of specifications, the Hubbl Glass is pretty basic fare for a 4K TV. It boasts 3 HDMI ports, Dolby Vision and HDR 10, Dolby Atmos (MS12 AC4) and a refresh rate of 60Hz.

They will cost $1,595 and $1,995, respectively. For the specs, those prices look pretty good.

Harvey Norman will sell the Hubbl Glass exclusively at launch.

Foxtel has yet to announce an official release date for either product, but we imagine availability is just a few weeks away.

Check out our guide to the best streaming shows coming to Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, Stan and BINGE.

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