Compare NZ online streaming services

Compare NZ online streaming services
Monday, December 19, 2016

A version of this article first appeared on - View their article here.

So you know all about fibre broadband and you have heard all about streaming video in New Zealand and the wide array of NZ online streaming options… once you have broadband that can stream tv and movies effortlessly then it really does change your world of entertainment.  Never again will you be restricted to the control of the TV schedulers and at the mercy of the traffic jam!

So what do you need?  Well read on and our guide below will explain.



What do you need?

First off.  You need some decent broadband and one of the first things to consider is your broadband speed.  You'll need a broadband connection with a speed of at least 4Mbs or higher.   The higher the speed, the better your experience will be. You can test your NZ broadband speed by clicking here.

Next to consider is data.  If you are streaming any sort of quantity of online film or television you want to really be on an unlimited data plan.  Watching movies or TV shows on a streaming service like Netflix uses about 1 GB of data per hour for each stream of standard definition video, and up to 3 GB per hour for each stream of HD video.  This can create headaches for users who have a monthly data cap on their Internet service. Compare Unlimited Data broadband plans here on Broadband Compare.

Finally, consider that not all NZ TV and Movie streaming services work on all devices, though if you have a variety of options, like a laptop or desktop computer, tablet, smartphone or smart television you can access most of them.

So where do you start?  Well most importantly, what do you want to watch and CAN you watch it?  So first of all compare your devices with an NZ TV streaming service.  All the services have websites so as long as you have a computer you will be OK, but some of the apps and options make things easier.

Next, check out the NZ on demand streaming services to take a look at the television shows and movies offered by each.  Don't just choose the one with what seems like the biggest selection (Netflix) as it may not have your favourite show or something you really want to watch.

Remember none have contracts so you can easily switch between services depending on what shows are available and if you have a few shows that you want to watch on different services just chop and change.


How to watch on demand streaming on your TV.

This is where some services start to stumble. But you could always just hook your TV up to the laptop with an HDMI cable… basically just like you used to a VCR or DVD player. 

The latest Apple TV has Netflix, 3Now and Lightbox app and is the easiest device to use as it is super intuitive.  You can also stream content from apps on your Apple device via Apple TV very easily if you have an iPhone or iPad.

Chromecast is an affordable (about $60) and effective device that plugs into your TV and you can transmit direct from your web browser or use dedicated functions on Netflix, Lightbox, Neon and Quickflix.  Slingshot have often offered a broadband plan that comes with a free Chrimecast when you sign up to a fibre broadband plan.  Check if it is still available here.

One thing that many people actually don’t notice is that their TV (especially if relatively new) may well already be internet enabled and a smart TV which will have apps for many of the streaming services.  You just need to visit your TV’s ‘app store’ and download the one you need.


So, you’ve got the divice and the technology to stream.  Next step… who is going to get your dollars and eyeballs as your preferred option of watching TV shows and movies.  Will you follow the crowd?  Some recent statistics from Roy Morgan (Market research company) show about one-quarter of Kiwis now use a streaming service, with Netflix the most popular with 264,000 subscribers followed by Lightbox with 128,000 and Neon with 22,000.

As a smallish country we are surprisingly spoilt by choice, which is great but also a little confusing, each streaming service has a range of different shows and they are normally on only one of the services.

The paid-for options pit the US behemouth Netflix and the latest entrant to the streaming world Amazon Prime (no relation to Prime TV channel) against local companies Neon (owned and operated by Sky) and Lightbox (owned by Spark) with local veteran Quickflix (an Australian/Kiwi company) also in the fight for your streaming dollars.  These are joined by the free services offered by TVNZ and TV3.

The main changes in commercials and company’s during the past year are Netflix increasing its prices by 15 per cent due to having to now pay GST, Spark Broadband offering Lightbox to many of its customers for free when signing up to a new plan and Amazon entering the market with the old team from Top Gear heading the charge for customer acquisition.

The short summary below will walk you through the options for streaming services to help you choose the one (or two) that suit your viewing tastes.  Remember there are often no contracts so you can chop and change…. And you can only watch one show at a time so why be signed up to more than one at a time?



Price: $12.99 a month

Devices: Apple TV, iPads and iPhones, selected Android tablets and phones, Chromecast, computers via website, PlayStation 3 and 4, selected smart TVs.

High definition: On all shows where available.

Free trial: 30 days

Number of shows/movies: 292 (source:

Movies: None. However, does show New Zealand made short films.

TV: Lightbox has increasing amount of exclusive, new, mainly American content allied to a strong back catalogue of older US series like Boston Legal and Seinfeld as well as an extensive range of BBC product.  The home of some much-talked-about shows like Transparent, Outlander, Better Call Saul and Mr Robot that others would love to get their hands on… especially Netflix who sold the rights to one of their own produced shows in Better Call Saul before they entered the territory… whoops!

Recommended for:  Fans of edgy American content, sci-fi and fantasy, as well as some older viewers who enjoy British period dramas.



Price: $20 a month

Devices: iPad, iPhone, selected Android devices, Xbox 360, Chromecast, Samsung smart TVs and computers via a website.

High definition: On all shows where available.

Free trial: 30 days

Number of shows/movies: 694 (source:

Movies: Essentially a replica of a cross-section of titles from the NZ Sky Movies channels. Focuses on recent blockbuster titles and an impressive catalogue of family-orientated movies. It also has a number of more off-beat movies usually found on Sky's premium Rialto Channel.

TV: For those who haven't experienced SoHo or The Zone, this offers a chance to see the most recent series of the likes of Wayward Pines, Dark Matter and Girls. While it is used occasionally as an express, on-demand service (Westworld, Game of Thrones), content exclusive to Neon has been limited. Also, the home of classic HBO shows such as The Sopranos and E! Channel's catalogue of international reality programmes.

Recommended for: Those who really wish they could have Sky but don’t want to pay for the whole experience.  Neon gives you all the best bits in our opinion for a fraction of the cost.



Price: Three different options – $11.49 a month for standard definition on one screen at a time; $14.99 a month for high definition on two devices at once; $18.49 a month "family plan" with ultra high-definition (4K) streaming for up to four devices at once.

Devices: Most smart televisions, PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo consoles, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, and Apple, Android and Windows tablets and smartphones, and computers via a website.

High definition: Yes, but only on the more costly plans.

Free trial: One month

Number of shows/movies: 1012 (source:

Movies: Not really full of recent blockbusters…but Netflix does contains the widest selection overall and a number of film titles. Everything from 2014 box office smashes to popular hits of the 80s, 90s and noughties and some real classic titles from yesteryear like The Godfather trilogy.

TV: After an initially shaky start when they were seemingly unable to untangle New Zealand's rights issues to some of their own shows, service now offers an increasingly diverse range of exclusive shows including House of Cards, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Luke Cage. These sit alongside collections of globally popular hits like Homeland and Mad Men. A notable inclusion is a very large collection of episodic material from the US and the UK, aimed specifically at kids, as well as a large number of documentaries and stand-up comedy specials.

Recommended for: Those who are interested in their exclusive content and own made shows.  Some of the latest comedy and dramas coming out of the US and a huge range of short-form programming for kids.  Some great documentaries too including the renowned Making a Murderer.



Price: $12.99 a month with extra charges for premium content.

Devices: Smart TV apps, Apple, Android and Windows phones and tablets, PlayStation and Xbox consoles, Chromecast and computers via a website.

High definition: SD and HD, though some devices can only access SD.

Free trial: Two weeks

Number of shows/movies: 245 (source:

Movies: Describing itself as offering a "hand-picked selection of Hollywood blockbusters", the service is strong on much-loved video-era classics like the original RoboCop, Tim Burton's Batman and Happy Gilmore, but frustratingly offers more recent titles for an extra "premium" price per title.

TV: Offers a reasonable mix of new and older shows, with the line-up filled with BBC content such as Doctor Who, Prime Suspect and noughties Kiwi shows like Outrageous Fortune and bro'Town.  Again, unfortunately the more recent product is offered separately at a "premium" price.

Recommended for: Those who want to relive the past 80’s classics!


Amazon Prime Video NZ

Price: US$2.99 (NZ$4.14) per month for the first six months after which it will revert to the regular price of US$5.99 (NZ$8.29).

Devices: Prime Video is available via apps on Android and Apple phones and tablets along with Amazon's Fire tablets.  The app is also available on some recent LG and Samsung TVs along with PlayStation and Xbox consoles.  There is no dedicated app for Apple TV or Chromecast.

High definition: SD and HD, though some devices can only access SD.

Free trial: One week

Amazon Prime has been launched in New Zealand as a competitor to Netflix, Lightbox and Neon and they have priced it very competitively.  The Amazon Prime video-streaming service is undercutting the competition and will be offering popular shows such as the brand new Jeremy Clarkson vehicle (like what we did there?) The Grand Tour and comedy Transparent.  Amazon Prime Video members can also download all movies and TV shows for offline viewing on mobile devices, a feature Netflix has also recently introduced.  Amazon will continue to focus on producing original content and most of the original shows, including local content, will be made available everywhere across the globe.



So… that brings to an end our overview of the video streaming in New Zealand world… choose carefully… well actually don’t, it’s only one month contracts, find something you’re interested in and give it a go.  It is a golden age of television at the minute with sooooooo many shows and not enough hours in the week!  Enjoy!

A version of this article first appeared on - View their article here.


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