What to know about the new and improved Neon TV service.
Late last year, Sky bought the Lightbox streaming video service from Spark and merged it with its Neon service.
The new Neon has been running for a month and is much better than its previous incarnation. It’s got newer TV series, shows that go up hours after screening in the US, and new-release movie rentals.
In terms of content, Neon is basically Aotearoa’s version of the HBO streaming service in the US. It’s got all the latest HBO shows like Last Week Tonight, Perry Mason and His Dark Materials, alongside recent movie releases. This is alongside other content from the UK, such as David Attenborough docos and shows like Naked Attraction.
The deals done by Sky mean that Neon has series not available on other platforms. I had joined Neon before the change so I could watch the show Supernatural (and stuck around to keep watching movies and other shows).
On the flip side, the amount of the content is fairly shallow. The TV documentary and reality section, for example, only has 45 titles, and the documentary movie section only adds another 27. If you’re a fan of horror there’s even less to choose from.
But it’s not the injection of extra content that has improved Neon the most in my opinion, it’s all the new features.
Neon’s now available on more TVs and set-top boxes, and the apps have all been given a spruce up to be more like what you’d expect from a modern video streaming service, with a better interface and design. There’s even closed captioning for those with hearing difficulties.
However, captioning is only available on 19 TV shows and one movie, which is frankly atrocious considering other services have it on nearly all their content.
So should you sign up? Yeah, of course. Neon has a 14-day trial period so you can see if there’s stuff you’d want to watch.
Beyond that, streaming services aren’t big yearly contracts you can’t get out of. You can literally sign up for a month, watch a full series, then pause your subscription and switch to another service – there’s so much freedom.