iQ3 errors

Foxtel’s iQ3 fail

New Coke. Apple Newton. Microsoft Zune. Vegemite 2.0.

A list of epic product failures.

It appears the Foxtel iQ3 can be added to that list, at least for now.

After a long wait, and repeated delays, Foxtel released its new iQ3 on 23 March, the day before Netflix launched its Australian service.

iQ3The iQ3 was meant to be a leap into the future of pay television entertainment, and it does sound amazing … in the marketing materials. In reality, it’s a buggy beta version of a product that’s plagued with problems. Customers who were charged $125 for the box and $75 for the installation, or $25 if they chose to self-install, rightly feel ripped off. On top of those one-off fees, customers are paying for a pricey monthly subscription service and in return they have been given a product that will surely be a contender at this year’s Shonky Awards.

Reports of a malfunctioning iQ3 flooded social media and the Foxtel Community site immediately upon its release and things failed to improve since. Customers have also been complaining on Whirlpool about the issues they are experiencing.

The Foxtel Community site itself tacitly acknowledges the seemingly endless problems with the iQ3, by providing a list of known issues, but offers little to no resolution, by simply noting in respect of most issues that ‘we are aware [of the issue] we’ll have it fixed soon … Once we’ve fixed the issue, we’ll automatically send an update to your iQ3 overnight.’ In any event, this list does not appear to have been updated in over a month.

Nik, a Community Manager on the Foxtel Community, made the following comment in response to complaints by a customer, with the screen name ‘Alasdair’, about the iQ3 clearly not being ready for release to the market:

We completed extensive testing across all of Australia but as with all implementations there are scenarios that can occur when you get to a live environment in someone’s home. Apologies that these issues have occurred in your household but we will endure to get these issues resolved.

Another customer, with the screen name ‘portadelaidefan’, responded to this as follows:

See i have a problem with this, as a software developer i am well aware of the issues that can arise from switching on a new service for thousands of people. But these issues would’ve been picked up in your testing and even if they werent then thats not a viable excuse it just means your testing program is not set up for real world scenarios and fails at its job entirely.

The testing shouldve takeplace in a live environment (which i assume it did) in someones home (which again it shouldve) all around Australia (which you said it was). Thats the point in testing. You test the box in real world scenarios to work out the bugs before retail day, you can’t do that in a lab (its not proper real world testing then) and it wouldve been done within the company (im assuming) using employees.

So i dont understand what you are saying, you are saying that you did the testing and yet at the same time you’re saying that these scenarios occur in a live environment in someones home. But thats exactly what you shouldve been testing for in the first place….. thats the point in testing. Otherwise its redundent. Of course bugs can be expected, but not this many and not machine breaking bug. Thats a big no-no at my work, someone wouldve lost their job for this.

The iQ3 we tested was self-installed on 9 May. The installation process itself was straightforward, but the user-experience has been patchy, at best:

  • the Bluetooth remote, although it paired and remains stable, is very slow – there are significant, up to 5-second plus, delays in response times which becomes very noticeable when surfing channels or fast-forwarding and trying to stop and play again, however this length of delay is apparently considered acceptable by Foxtel;
  • the design of the various user screens leaves a lot to be desired – it’s difficult to tell how much disk space there is left, it’s hard to tell what recorded programmes have been watched already and navigation feels needlessly complicated;
  • it is not possible to return to the last watched point in a recorded program – the program needs to be restarted and fast-forwarded to the last watched scene;
  • pressing the ‘Play’ button on the earlier iQ2 (also known as iQHD) model returned the user to the last watched point of the last watched recorded program – the iQ3 appears to be missing this useful functionality completely;
  • a recorded program designated to ‘Keep’, once watched, can’t be deleted and the ‘Keep’ designation can’t be altered or removed;
  • the new search function is tedious and surprisingly less user-friendly than the search function on the old iQ2;
  • Foxtel’s answer to most problems appears to be a ‘Full System Reset’, but doing so deletes everything that has been recorded on the iQ3, all the series links and customised settings – the iQ3 is meant to be a flagship personal video recorder (PVR); constantly losing your recordings defeats the ‘R’ in PVR;
  • it takes forever to restart the box, up to 10 minutes each time, and since the box needs to be restarted almost daily, sometimes more than once a day, for it to work, this becomes very time-consuming; and
  • Foxtel keeps assuring customers that everything will be fixed with a mythical software update – but the last update they rolled out, version, was almost two months ago on 26 March.

If you were planning to move from the iQ2, or an older Standard box, to an iQ3, you would be well advised to wait until all the kinks are ironed out by Foxtel. Judging by their effectiveness in dealing with the iQ3 issues to date, expect that process to take a while. In a competitive new media landscape, the iQ3 could prove to be a serious issue for Foxtel.


  1. The Vue Post

    We were asked to share another note we received via email today from the owners of the iQ3 box this article was based upon, for completeness:

    We grew utterly sick and tired of our iQ3 box which had to be rebooted almost a hundred times in six months, and remained an absolute disaster to operate, despite the software updates. However, we liked the idea of the functionalities the iQ3 is meant to offer, so we decided to get a replacement iQ3 box and give it a final go, before switching back to an iQHD, also known as the iQ2.

    We are pleased to report our new, replacement iQ3 box actually works as intended. Even the Bluetooth remote! Imagine our surprise!

    It beggars belief Foxtel didn’t advise us at the outset we may have faulty hardware and put us through six months of Foxtel iQ3 hell instead, with hours wasted on resets, reboots, and software updates.

    On the upside, we now have a functioning iQ3. So, if you have an iQ3 which simply does not function, it may be worthwhile to get a replacement before you go back to the iQ2, in case it’s your hardware that’s ADOA (almost dead on arrival).


  2. The Vue Post

    We were asked to share a note we received via email today from the owners of the iQ3 box this article was based upon, for completeness:

    ‘Unfortunately, we left on holidays before we were able to take delivery of the replacement iQ2 box. We sent Foxtel an email to alert them of this, noting the clashing timelines between the delivery and our holidays, just before we departed, but we never received a response.

    We contacted Foxtel today via email asking them to confirm this with Allied Express, as we keep getting “friendly reminder” text messages to install the “new box” and return the “old one”, the latest one today at 5.30am local time.

    In the meantime we have been in touch with our house-sitter and we are informed that the iQ3 is performing ‘at about 80%’. We are told that in the last week the box only had to be restarted once, due to a persistent blue screen across all channels in the morning. We are also informed that otherwise the iQ3 appears to be working okay, other than a few annoying quirks compared to an iQ2 and some ongoing slight response issues with the remote when channel surfing or using the fast-forward or rewind function.

    Once we return home we will make a final evaluation whether the iQ3 is now performing at an acceptable level or not, although the indications are that it has now been improved significantly.’


  3. The Vue Post

    Here is our final update on the iQ3 saga, as we are informed the iQ2 replacement box has now been dispatched.

    Over the long weekend we got in touch with the Foxtel social media team in our desperation. It’s lucky the weather was so good and Vivid Sydney was on and we didn’t have to rely on Foxtel for entertainment.

    The Foxtel social media team made us write a detailed email about our issues which was then ignored for an entire day. When we got in touch about the delay later that afternoon, they responded that someone would call us the next day, after 2pm. Around 5.30pm the next day we contacted them again as we haven’t heard from them and we were told that ‘[a]s explained we did not start until 2pm today and we are also assisting other subscribers via facebook, twitter, community and email so unfortunately we can’t always call at specific times. We will email you :)’.

    Yes ‘smiley face’! Funny that an entire day and the post-2pm period of a further day qualifies as a ‘specific time’, but we digress. In light of that flippant response, and with no real resolution in sight, we requested very clearly that they take back the iQ3 and send out an iQ2.

    Next day, when we didn’t get the email they referred to, or any other response, we contacted them again and they assured us that an email was sent. We assured them if it was, it didn’t arrive.

    Then an email arrived in the afternoon from the ‘Customer Advocate’ advising that an iQ2 has been dispatched and a refund has been arranged.

    Underneath that email was presumably the email they earlier said they sent, but we never received, with the email header details removed, so it’s impossible to tell when they tried to send it and whether it was sent to the right email address. But we digress again.

    That email, if received, would have asked us to do a ‘Full System Reset’. With the iQ2 box now on the way we had nothing to lose, so we tried it.

    Although we saw this method noted on the Foxtel Community, the notes accompanying it seem to have indicated that only boxes distributed up to April needed that type of fix. When we spoke to Foxtel technical support previously, they did not indicate that they wanted us to do a ‘Full System Reset’.

    The one thing the ‘Full System Reset’ did do of course, it deleted ALL our recordings, including all our much loved Game of Thrones episodes of the new season. And of course Foxtel made sure that nothing can be backed up from the iQ3. That would have been all fine if they released a product that actually worked.

    We were livid about losing all the new season Game of Thrones episodes as the result of the ‘Full System Reset’, but it couldn’t be helped. It’s worth noting though that the iQ3 is meant to be a flagship ‘personal video recorder’, the emphasis being on ‘recorder’.

    If the iQ3 can’t be relied on for this basic function, there is a very serious product issue.

    We say this because following the ‘Full System Reset’, after the system was fully restored, we set up GoT on series link again so at least we would have the two final episodes. That recording had failed again, all we got was a greyed out screen when we clicked on GoT in the Recorded Library. Then, it wouldn’t allow us to delete that failed recording ‘placeholder’ so we had to restart the box … again.

    While the remote actually worked almost okay after the ‘Full System Reset’ (there is still a noticeable lag when channel surfing though) the picture froze several times last night and took about 20-30+ seconds to play again on each occasion.

    Then, the next morning we woke up to sound, but a blue only screen on every channel, so we had to restart the box again to make it work.

    In conclusion, while the ‘Full System Reset’ seems to have resolved some minor issues, serious problems continue to plague the iQ3. After about 18+ hours wasted in the past month, trying to make the iQ3 work and dealing with Foxtel, we can’t wait for our old iQ2 to arrive …


  4. The Vue Post

    A quick update on our experiences with the iQ3.

    Despite the recent software update to v, our iQ3 is worse than ever.

    Several buttons completely stopped working on our remote. With our delete (yellow) button out of action we can’t delete anything. The ‘Library’ button stopped working too, but at least we can navigate to the ‘Library’ via the ‘TV Guide’ button. We given up using the fast forward or rewind buttons because by the time the play button registers we are at the end or the beginning of a show.

    Programs won’t record (and this problem is worse than ever) and ones that appear to have been recorded won’t play and for some reason when we try to overcome this by using the Look Back function, that won’t work either.

    We have restarted the iQ3 four times in the past hour in the hope that some things would return to normal. No such luck.

    We have made a decision now to send the iQ3 back to Foxtel on Tuesday.


  5. David Hein

    Totally agree with all the above. Anyone thinking of upgrading to an IQ3 – DON’T it’s a major downgrade not an upgrade. And I’m a gadget fan normally quite forgiving of teething issues. It’s unbelievable that Foxtel released such a bug ridden product and have taken so long to rectify the mountain of issues. I’ve been patiently hanging on for the “promised” May update – but if it’s not out soon I’ll be requesting my old IQ2 box back. I may even cancel my service after 20 years! (originally Galaxy before Foxtel took over) as I’m now appreciating the benefits of IPTV via Apple TV & Netflix. Foxtel, in their rush to prematurely release this just prior to the Australian Netflix launch, may have well and truely shot themselves in the foot with this one!


  6. Lindsay Parker

    Good article. Very concise and accurate summary of what you can expect with an up to par IQ3, but be warned, if you get a sub-par box things will be much worse. A lot of customers have had to swap out faulty boxes and many have gone back to the previous IQHD. I write this having had an IQ3 for two months and following all the posts on the Foxtel Community Forum since that time.


    1. Stuart Ryan (@StuartCRyan)

      OK so this is pretty much the same summary I currently have “on file” of issues with the Foxtel IQ3… for full transparency I first posted this at and subsequently on the Foxtel Forums at which has generated some great discussion (and is how I found this article).

      The first block is things that I have personally raised or have encountered myself. Wherever possible I have provided a link to at least one relevant forum post for the major items. I also highly recommend the “Overall less than spectacular operations during release” section.

      At the very bottom (“Posts that say it all”) I have gone through the last two pages only of one of the forums (user feedback only, I figured this was more than enough to illustrate my point).

      Throughout the process I have been very active on the forums (some of the post linked below are my own or posts I have been involved in), I like to think I am an extremely level-headed individual and I work in I.T. and know what system design, development, and testing is like… I do it day-to-day. This is one such post that I believe is quite level headed (first reply).

      The only way I have succeeded in using my box is to use it primarily for watching TV live or download SD catchup (recordings have been too flaky). I have been lucky enough that after much complaining and a formal complaints process, Foxtel agreed to re-activate my old IQ-HD box for 6 months at no cost until the issues were ironed out (I feel it is only fair to now let the community know) they also agreed to refund the full cost of install and the IQ3 (not all has been applied to my account yet).

      The questions I ask of Foxtel are:

      Why have we gone just shy of 60 days since release with no update? Bundling everything into one will only likely cause new bugs rather than logical, incremental fixes with time to test in between.
      Why has senior management not addressed the Foxtel community yet?
      What will be done to compensate those that have suffered had crippled iQ3 boxes for two months (and counting)?
      What is being done to review your user acceptance testing plans and procedures? As has become apparent, the testing that the iQ3 was put through has failed to reveal an embarrassing number of issues.
      What plans are being put in place (if any) to put in place a sufficient beta testing program including real life users to test real world scenarios of future updates (to better put them through their paces)?
      So feel free to vent and/or add your comments below is there anything I have currently missed from the below?


      My current outstanding list of bugs include:

      When playing a show, if you stop half way through and wish to return to it later, the playback starts from the beginning.
      raised in as one example
      After playback finishes on a show, when you press back, rather than returning to the last menu, it goes back to Live TV, therefore you have to go all the way through the menu structure again (not sure if this has been raised on the forums, I have it in my backlog but due to things not getting fixed I have stopped posting all my issues)
      semi detailed in
      Many recordings can’t be deleted, I have had limited success using suggested work arounds (so at the moment things just fill up).
      On regular occasion I have to restart the box, since I first installed it I have had to restart it 42 times (I assume that number doesn’t reset when a factory reset is performed) and factory reset twice. Restarts have been required due to the interface locking up… most commonly on the TV guide where I can scroll through the guide but unable to exit the guide at all.
      IQ3 Remote lag – I have found that sometimes I have to press buttons twice… it almost seems the remote sometimes goes into a power saving mode.
      Other times you press a button the blue button on the remote flashes and the box doesn’t process the signal for 2-3 seconds like it queues the bluetooth packets up then suddenly does them all in a quick burst. I have noted this happens when the interface is lagging in other areas. Hinted to in
      Inconsistencies with fast-forwarding
      Some people (myself included) required a manual re-syncing of our accounts to get HD channels working
      When I did a self install, the system failed to activate the box… Foxtel staff had to do manual tweaking and approvals just to get it working (they formally fixed it several days later)
      A subset of boxes shipped with superseded code which was buggier than the current release
      (detailed by Jenny (Foxtel Staff) in the post at the bottom of
      IQ3 loses sound first raised in, I subsequently found a work around that at least works for me detailed directly below the top post
      When the unit goes into standby it says press any key to stop going into standby, only the home button seemed to work
      Recordings regularly failing and/or disappearing
      Some due unexplained power loss (I have had this too
      Issues getting recordings to start on occasion
      These are just what I have personally experienced there are a significantly larger amount detailed in including:
      HDMI sound loss requiring reboot
      Can’t press play to start recently stopped recording or show
      Front panel lights come on for no apparent reason
      Can’t access recorded shows in single list instead of thumbnails
      Some people who do not have a HD package, shows are recording in HD then they can’t watch them and are asked to upgrade
      Volume issues on some recordings
      Channel skips between current and last watched randomly
      Can’t activate ‘Keep’ for some recordings
      Library doesn’t repopulate after random reboots
      Missed episodes in series linked recording
      When searching for a program to record it will often (always?) select the SD or +2 version of a channel, even for subscribers that pay for HD
      User Interface Issues:

      When going backwards through the EPG things get cut off on the right hand of the screen
      Navigating through menus is slow, clunky and requires an extensive number of clicks to move around
      View of disk usage is a very small thin grey bar which is not at all apparent
      Needs a usability design review, many forum posts such as this requesting improvements
      many people have said the old interface is far easier to move around (and faster) even when referring to the old MyStar boxes
      In some ways it has been a step backwards as well:

      HD Catchup is now missing, when you used to go backwards to the last 24 hours… HD channels would download in HD… this is no longer the case
      Overall less than spectacular operations during release:

      It appears some customers were sent “staff trial” boxes (see second post on and I just found a pic of them at
      I personally had to research, work out, document and share the proper “self-install” install steps for some customers
      (a customer that subsequently solved this thanks to my post
      Posts that say it all:
      IQ3 is total crap —
      Looking forward to this year’s Shonky Awards –
      How is this not all over talk radio –
      IQ3 has ruined our lives –
      A really good in depth thorough overview of one person’s story “My Story – Foxtel Please Read It” –
      Is your IQ3 the worst product you have ever purchased? –
      When are we going to see updates? –
      2015 CHOICE Shonky Awards –
      Analysis of forum stats —> (only just found this)
      IQ3 Software Update??
      Has anyone seen improvements? (no)
      Time for us to speak out —>
      Foxtel tech on SITE couldn’t get box to do simple things —>


      1. The Vue Post

        Thanks for the detailed feedback Stuart! It seems the iQ3 box we tested may not be quite as bad as some others out there.

        Although, since our original review we noticed an additional issue: repeated failures to record programs that are series linked. Each time we try to play such a failed recording we get a blank screen and then a message to the effect that ‘something is wrong with the channel’, but when we check the relevant channel everything seems to be in order.

        So far this issue only affected our repeat viewings of The Big Bang Theory, so we let it slide. However, if this happens to new episodes of Game of Thrones, we might lose it …


      2. Stuart Ryan (@StuartCRyan)

        Ahh yes, I have seen that only once though, I thought it was an anomaly. I will note that down on my ever growing list. The more I see reports of some people experiencing some things and other not… I wonder if there is a hardware element, or whether it is all purely software that we are just going down different use cases.

        HAHA and for the record I would get more agro if I lost my repeat viewings of the Big Bang Theory… but then… I have never got into Game of Thrones 😀 (did I just lose my geek license?)


        Liked by 1 person

Leave a comment. Comments are moderated ...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s