Foxtel’s iQ3 – the problem that keeps on giving

iQ3 with remoteWe reported on the seemingly endless list of issues with a prematurely launched and error-ridden iQ3 by Foxtel in May.

We were not impressed with the product, nor the company that saw it fit to mass-release a barely beta version of what was meant to be their flagship personal video recorder.

And we are not alone.

Our original story ended with an update in mid-June after the release of a long-awaited software update that was designed to fix a wide array of known issues with the iQ3.

We are now in August and we understand that another software update is about to be pushed out by Foxtel. Frankly, this can’t happen soon enough because the iQ3 is still a catastrophe of a product.

All you have to do is look at the mentions on Foxtel’s Twitter feeds or the Foxtel Community site to see the severity of the problem. There is also a damning stream on Whirlpool devoted to the iQ3.

We suspect behind every customer who has taken to the Foxtel Community, Whirlpool or Twitter to complain, there are several others, like us, who just couldn’t be bothered to complain or have simply given up on dealing with Foxtel in light of their general head in the sand approach to the problem. But that’s the privilege of being a virtual monopoly in pay television in Australia.

If you hoped the proliferation of streaming services, such as Netflix and Stan, would have an effect on Foxtel by becoming more responsive to their customers, you were wrong.

While the iQ3 only needs to be rebooted about once a week now to function like something that resembles a PVR, many issues remain that range from annoying to enraging. Especially considering the ongoing cost of a so-called ‘Platinum HD‘ pack.

The much touted bluetooth remote remains a dog of a product and it’s about as useful as a random banana in controlling the iQ3. Sometimes it works, mostly it does not and it is the source of endless frustration. We can’t understand why this is happening, as bluetooth technology is nothing new and many fantastic and successful products use it. We can only presume utter incompetence in product design.

We are still experiencing extraordinary delays in response times as if we are trying to control our iQ3 via the New Horizons from the outer-reaches of our solar system. Fast forwarding, rewinding, pausing and channel surfing remain ridiculously difficult, haphazard and they can be best described as ‘lucky-dip’ functionalities. You never know what you will end up with.

Otherwise the product itself is an ongoing triumph of style over substance. Big flashy graphics, but overall disappointing performance.

Serial linked recordings still often drop off, leading to a nightly ritual of checking that everything that needs to be recorded the next day is still on the ‘Scheduled’ list, and even doing that doesn’t always prevent disappointment.

And that’s when the system is showing the ‘Recorded’, ‘Scheduled’ and some other critical content screens, such as ‘Anytime’ and ‘Store’, because often they black out and the iQ3 becomes useless until it’s rebooted again.

We are about to force the latest software update Foxtel released in the hope it will make a difference to our experience but, given the feedback so far on the Foxtel Community, we are not holding our breath.

We should really go back to the iQ2 like countless other Foxtel customers have. But we already spent over 20 hours with Foxtel trying to sort out the iQ3 and that’s a day out of our lives we will never get back. Now we just can’t bring ourselves to go through the process again of calling Foxtel, dealing with their customer service, disconnecting, reconnecting, and running around to the Post Office with the box, and arguing about refunds. On the upside, we do have a trusty old iQ2 in the bedroom, which has become our safe harbour from the iQ3 disaster.

Congratulations Foxtel, you have won your war of attrition …


  1. The Vue Post

    We were asked to share this further update we received via email today from the owners of the iQ3 box this article was based upon:

    After our iQ3 box was replaced, we enjoyed a brief period of reprieve. Unfortunately, subsequent software updates pushed out by Foxtel appeared to have wracked havoc with the new box, and before long it was as bad as our first iQ3 box. Finally, after 8 months of ridiculousness we gave up, returned the iQ3 and asked for an iQ2 to be sent out. We have never been happier. Returning to the functioning iQ2 box has truly highlighted to us what a disaster and simply unusable product the iQ3 was for us.


  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:

    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).


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