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Opinion: Strike one for services

This isn’t baseball and we aren’t calling strikes but if we were, Neon and Lightbox would definitely be on strike one.

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The two companies, along with MediaWorks and TVNZ, stepped up to the plate when they filed papers this week against businesses offering Global Mode, which they claim illegally breaches their copyrights.

By doing this, Neon (owned by Sky) and Lightbox are essentially saying New Zealand consumers must go with a New Zealand company to view certain content. But if you are forcing consumers to choose your service, then it had better bloody well work.

This week Lightbox told its users that they wouldn’t be able to use Chrome – the world’s most popular browser – because the latest version of the browser isn’t compatible with Silverlight (a plug-in Lightbox uses to show content). Chrome announced they were planning to move away from Silverlight and similar plug-ins, way back in 2013. Lightbox suggests its users change browsers while it works on a solution.

Neon had technical issues screening its premier show Game of Thrones. The newest episodes should be available on the service on Mondays at 8:30pm. However, a “glitch” in the system meant this week’s episode wasn’t available via the website or the app.


The timestamp on the latest Tweet shows the episode still wasn’t available on the app until the following morning.

While both Neon and Lightbox are both “working hard on a solution” for their respective problems, it’s hard not to feel really let down by these services. In the meantime, the only ones doing well are internet pirates.

While Neon was having technical hiccups, torrent sites were offering multiple full-HD versions of Game of Thrones within hours of it screening in the US. Pirating content is not condoned by Consumer NZ, we advocate paying for content. But if you are a content provider, your service should be at least as simple to use as downloading a torrent file.

If the legal action against those ISPs offering Global Mode is successful, which means libraries of overseas content will be blocked to New Zealand consumers, and New Zealand services don’t lift their game, then more and more consumers will head to torrent sites.

About the author:

Hadyn Green is a geek. He loves shiny new tech and the chance to try to break it. Because it's the kind of thing people ask, here is the tech Hadyn currently uses. Phone: iPhone 6. Tablet: iPad Air 2. Streaming Music: Spotify. Headphones: Beats Powerbeats Wireless 2 (for the gym) and Beats Studio noise-cancelling (for sitting at my desk and tuning out the world). E-Reader: Kindle Touch. Gaming: PS4, PS3, Xbox One and Xbox 360. Internet Service Provider: Snap.

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