Subscription television in Australia consists of a dominant cable and satellite television provider Foxtel, with several smaller cable and satellite service providers operating in limited geographic areas. Other providers of Internet television in Australia offer free content or pay-per-view, but do not offer a subscription service.
This section needs expansion with: 1993 license auction and 2002 content sharing agreement. You can help by adding to it. (November 2010)
Galaxy was the first provider of subscription television in Australia, launching a MMDS service on 26 January 1995. Originally Premier Sports Network was the only local channel to be fully operational, with Showtime and Encore launching in March. They were later joined in April by TV1, Arena, Max, Red and Quest. A satellite service was launched later in the year.
Galaxy was closed on 20 May 1998. Two weeks later Foxtel significantly boosted its customer base by acquiring Galaxy subscribers from the liquidator of Australis Media and immediately commenced supplying programming to Galaxy's subscribers on an interim basis. In February 1999 Foxtel began offering its own satellite service to new customers.
Following the collapse, ECTV quickly signed a deal with Optus Vision. Less than two months later, it was acquired by Austar, along with its stake in XYZ. Austar replaced the ECTV packages with their own in September.
TransTV launched in 2001, beginning with VoD followed later by linear channels.
UBI World TV launched in 2004. Also in 2004, TV PLUS launched its Ethnic platforms catering for Balkans, Russians and other Eastern European communities. Foxtel and Austar both launched their digital offerings in 2004, with a total of 130 channels. The following year, Foxtel introduces their Foxtel iQpersonal video recorder.
SelecTV launched on 12 April 2006. It ceased its English programming in late 2010.
Foxtel commenced their HD service in February 2009.
Fetch TV entered the market in 2010 with a subscription service over a few ADSL2+ networks.
Almost all channels which currently or previously operated in Australia were available through Foxtel and Austar, being the dominant player in the market. However, some smaller competitors offer a subset of channels which are exclusive or unavailable on Foxtel services.
The majority of channels not available through Foxtel are non-English language channels. UBI World TV offers a number of ethnic satellite TV and radio channels nationwide, and other companies offer some channels via satellite, and some channels are available over the internet.
Austar previously delivered an analogue MMDS service into selected regional areas, however the system was dumped in the late 1990s/early 2000s. Austar also briefly tested a digital MMDS service on the Gold Coast.
TARBS leased some of Austar's metropolitan licenses for their service.
^Browne, Rachel (22 April 1995). "Galaxy takes knife to fees". The Sun-Herald. Sydney. p. 23. Retrieved 2009. XYZ Entertainment is launching the other four Galaxy channels today. They are a documentary channel Quest, children's and cult TV channel Max, general entertainment channel Arena and music channel Red.