Hubbl: Pricing, Specifications, Hands-On and Early Thoughts

Hubbl set top box and remote (Image: Hubbl)
Hubbl is (essentially) Foxtel’s latest foray into multi-device streaming with TVs and set-top boxes, along with a new entertainment platform. Here’s the basics on pricing, specifications and some early impressions. Update: Now with a video hands-on and review of the Hubbl set top box!

What is Hubbl?

Update: I’ve also given the Hubbl Set Top Box a full review — you can read that here or watch the video below!

Hubbl is Foxtel’s — well, the Foxtel Group if one wants to be pedantic about it, but if I say “Foxtel” I suspect most readers will know who I’m talking about — latest foray into multi-device streaming as an entertainment platform.

Hubbl incorporates two hardware products, Hubbl and Hubbl Glass that allow access to a wide array of streaming platforms — not just Foxtel’s own Kayo Sports and Binge platforms — on a mostly subscription basis.

What is the Hubbl set top box?

Hubbl Set Top Box with remote (Image: Hubbl)
Foxtel… erm… Hubbl (it gets confusing when you’ve got a software platform that’s also the name of your hardware device!) hasn’t released precise specifications for the Hubbl Set Top Box, though they did provide images of what it looks like.

Update: And in the video above, I’ve had some limited hands-on time with it as well. Stay tuned for a full review, coming soon.

What it looks like is an Apple TV, or perhaps the older Roku-based Telstra TV units with a reasonably sized remote that incorporates direct buttons for launching Kayo, Binge or Netflix services.

While I wasn’t able to get to the official Hubbl launch today for personal reasons to go hands-on, the user interface is your typical carousel style affair that certainly looks a lot like the style that every other streaming media box utilises.

How much does the Hubbl Set Top Box cost?

Hubbl Set Top Box (Image: Hubbl)
The Hubbl Set Top box will retail in Australia for $99.

When can I buy the Hubbl Set Top Box?

Hubbl Set Top Box (Image: Hubbl)
Hubbl will go on sale in Australia from the 10th of March 2024.

What is Hubbl Glass?

Hubbl Glass (Images: Hubbl)
Hubbl Glass is the other, more premium side of the Hubbl hardware equation. It’s a full TV, available in either 55 inch or 65 inch sizes. Here there are a lot more specifications available, which is handy when you’re buying what is, in fact, a TV:

How much does Hubbl Glass cost?

The 55" inch model of Hubbl Glass will cost $1,595, while the larger 65" model will cost $1,995.

When can I buy Hubbl Glass?

Hubbl will go on sale in Australia from the 10th of March 2024.. It will apparently be exclusive in retail stores to Harvey Norman where the Hubbl Set Top Box will sell through Harveys and JB Hi-Fi. Both the Hubbl Glass and Hubbl set top boxes will also sell through Hubbl's online store.

What subscription services will be available on Hubbl/Hubbl Glass?

While I'd hope the list might grow over time -- as is usually the case for streaming boxes (and to a lesser extent smart TVs), the announced lineup for Hubbl is as follows:

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

Not quite all of those apps will be available when Hubbl launches; notably Stan, Optus Sport and Paramount+ will (as per Hubbl) "join the Hubbl platform soon after launch."

The new kid on the block there is "Lifestyle", which Hubbl describes as "a new streaming app that brings together the best lifestyle content".

The other big pitch here is for subscription stacking, where if you've got multiple subscriptions handled by Hubbl -- which is to say your billing is handled by Hubbl -- they'll give you a small discount on the cost of those subscriptions. Not surprisingly, Foxtel brands such as Binge and Kayo Sports feature prominently, but there's also going to be others such as Netflix available for that deal.

Do I have to have a Hubbl or Binge or Foxtel subscription to use Hubbl/Hubbl Glass?

Hubbl UI (Image: Hubbl).

Strictly speaking, no.

It's an interesting step for the Foxtel Group to take, but the idea here is that they're selling hardware first and foremost -- though naturally, if you're not subscribed to a few streaming subscription services then what they can do will be somewhat limited. Those Kayo and Binge buttons aren't on the remote control by accident, after all.

Hubbl: Alex's early thoughts


It's definitely an interesting play from Foxtel/Foxtel Group/Hubbl with a few concepts I rather like and some others that will need careful testing.

The new "Lifestyle" app is... one that I don't have a lot of detail around. I could guess that it's the lifestyle content on the existing Foxtel platforms as a subscription app, but an awful lot of that content is already on BINGE, and unless there's price drops coming, I can't see too many BINGE subscribers being happy with that content being yanked away. At the time of writing, I just don't know enough to comment on Lifestyle as an app in a meaningful way.

Update: From what I understand, Lifestyle will include content that is on Binge, but it won't take away from Binge, and instead be offered at a lower price point. There if you want it, not if you don't.

Hubbl Glass is undeniably built upon other international products, most notably Sky Glass in the UK, which is basically the same thing for that country's dominant Pay-TV provider.

The difference there is that Sky Glass sells in a smaller 43" size as well as the 55" and 65" sizes -- I guess UK homes are smaller in many places -- on contract terms only.

On a recent trip to the UK, the push for Sky Glass in shopping malls was quite persistent, in the same style as you might see a Foxtel stand in your local shopping centre. For what it's worth, while Foxtel/Hubbl hasn't said anything about the underlying manufacturer for Hubbl Glass, in the UK they're made by TP Vision, which more-or-less makes them Phillips-branded TVs, sans the Ambilight feature.

The pricing on Hubbl Glass is reasonable for the underlying technology on a specs basis, but naturally it'll need more and better testing to work out if it's actually good buy as a panel in its own right. I do like the fact that it's not tethered to a contract, though I suppose some in these constrained times might quite like the idea of being able to pay it off over a couple of years. Maybe that'll come down the track.

There are some limitations here too; plenty of competing smart TVs do offer web browsing, but that's notably not a part of the Hubbl Glass experience as per the spec sheet. I do like the fact that it's selling in a variety of colours, though that importance is lessened when you consider you typically stare at the TV, not its bezel -- and especially so if you wall mount it.

The pitch here is pretty clearly around simplicity; you're not plugging in additional devices to the Hubbl Glass (though you can) to get access to a wide variety of streaming platforms.

Still, I stand by the position that generally the best way to watch streaming services on a TV is to buy a good panel and not particularly focus on the smart TV side of affairs, because that's better handled by a low-cost streaming box or dongle. Hubbl Glass will have to be particularly good to impress me away from that position, frankly.

This is precisely where the Hubbl set top box sits, but again, it's not alone.

That $99 price point puts it in direct contention with devices like the Google Chromecast with Google TV and the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max, while being a little less pricey than an Apple TV or Fetch Mini 4K. Here the specifications and then the actual performance will tell the story -- and I'm mindful that this isn't the Foxtel Group's first bite of the smaller streaming box cherry.

No, I'm not thinking of your various IQ boxes over the years, because those were very much tied to a Foxtel contract, and in most cases you didn't actually "own" that hardware.

Instead, I'm thinking of the Foxtel Now box, which was launched with significant hype (I remember, I was there)... and wasn't very good at all.

Want to travel back in time a few years? I discussed it at length with Adam Turner and Steve Molk from TV Blackbox back in the day on Vertical Hold: Behind The Tech News:

Here's hoping that the Hubbl set top box is a good deal better -- I'm hoping to go hands-on with it very soon, so stay tuned for my full impressions (and later on, a full review).

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4 thoughts on “Hubbl: Pricing, Specifications, Hands-On and Early Thoughts”

    1. Officially it’s “EntertainmentOS” — a shared OS between Foxtel, Comcast in the States and Sky in the UK. Which doesn’t tell us much, though the smart money suggests it’s going to be a custom Android box most likely — given that’s what most small streaming boxes do.

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