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Lighting the way

Telecom has lifted (some of) the covers off Lightbox, its new on-demand TV service (formerly known as ShowmeTV).

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The system will be online and is set-up to be a competitor for New Zealanders signing up to Netflix. While content details and the launch date are still secret here’s the main stuff:

It costs $15/month to join (first month free), but the data to use it will be metered even if you’re on Telecom. The service can be used across multiple devices, including laptop, desktop, iPad and Airplay on Apple TV. So there are options to watch it on your TV as well as on portable screens. As with most services, more usability will be added. Sadly a feature that won’t be available at launch is closed captions for the hearing impaired. Though, Maria Mahony, Lightbox’s Head of Programming and Local Content, says this will be reviewed once the system is launched.

She also confirmed the quality will be as good as possible for a given device. This means if your tablet supports full HD then you can see the content in that format.

As for which content will be available, Lightbox has announced three TV shows: Mad Men, Vikings, and 24. Mahony says Lightbox is talking to “the usual suspects” about getting content for the platform, but has also been looking at what people are watching, locally and online. This includes what’s viewed via Netflix and what has been popular on torrent sites.

With this knowledge, Lightbox has focused on TV shows. This will put it in direct competition with Netflix and Sky’s new online offerings.

Sky has announced an online on-demand service which will include content from its SoHo channel. Like Telecom however, Sky is keeping which content will be on the service a secret until launch.

You can subscribe without a Sky subscription, but Sky TV chief executive John Fellet said Sky subscribers would get the service free. It may also come bundled with Vodafone broadband plans.

Update

Today Quickflix, currently New Zealand’s only on-demand TV service, announced it would be offering NZ shows Outrageous Fortune and Go Girls. This announcement gives the company an edge in delivering local content, an area Telecom is still negotiating.

The shows will be offered under Quickflix’s monthly subscription.