New Zealand’s Best Streaming Platforms
Tired of Netflix? Check out the gems on these other local and global streamers
As much as we love it, there comes a time when we just aren’t excited by the choices on Netflix anymore.
Over the last couple of years we’ve been entertained by the same major shows it seems everyone else was watching on Netflix: Stranger Things, Tiger King, The Queen’s Gambit, Squid Game. But what about the excellent content on all the other platforms?
Netflix is far from being our only option — New Zealand has over a dozen local and international streaming platforms to find niche, nostalgic and new favourite movies and TV shows.
Here’s a roundup of the best, for your next movie night in.
The Big Ones
Yes, okay, you already know what’s great about Netflix. It’s the king of streaming, with more budget and content than any other platform. It’s compatible with every device, and your smart TV probably comes with it already installed.
But while you wait for the next season of The Crown or Stranger Things, why not branch out and give the other streamers a try.
Netflix costs $12.99 to $24.99 per month. At the higher price you get better picture quality and simultaneous streaming, but keep in mind it uses more bandwidth, which can be troublesome for slower or capped internet plans. You can cancel anytime.
Ramping up to compete with Netflix, Amazon Prime has invested billions into their original movies and TV shows, with the much anticipated Lord of the Rings series (shot in NZ) due to release in 2022.
On top of their original content, Amazon Prime also has a solid slate of old and new movies and TV shows such as The Boys, Good Omens, The Green Knight, Little Women, Arrival, and Almost Famous.
Amazon Prime costs $8 a month, and offers a 7-day free trial. You can cancel anytime.
If you have children or a Star Wars fanatic in your house, you’re probably already familiar with Disney+. It’s compatible with all devices and comes with a great catalogue of movies and TV shows across their Disney and Star platforms for adults and children alike.
Their selection ranges from the nostalgic Mary Poppins and the Disney princess catalogue, to The Mandalorian and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Live action films on the platform include Titanic, Hamilton, and Jojo Rabbit.
Disney+ costs $12.99 per month, and you can cancel anytime. Unlike Netflix, 4K picture quality is included in their standard price.
Apple TV+ is only available on Apple devices, Samsung Smart TVs, Roku and PS5, meaning if you have an Android device you can skip this bit and jump to the next one.
Although Apple TV+ doesn’t have an extensive library yet, it prides itself on its high-budget productions with big name talent. Watch Ted Lasso (called by many the antidote to pandemic anxiety), The Morning Show, Physical, and Mythic Quest.
When you purchase an Apple device you get three months’ free subscription to Apple TV+. Alternatively, you can pay $8.99 per month, or get a 7-day free trial to give it a go. Cancel anytime.
You don’t need a paid YouTube account to rent movies from the app, but the Premium subscription gives you access to YouTube originals and removes ads across the YouTube app.
Hits available to rent include The Fault In Our Stars, Fast & Furious 9, Baby Driver, Shrek, Pitch Perfect 2, Get Out, and many more. With YouTube Premium, you can download rented movies to watch later offline.
Just like your favourite blockbuster used to do, rental prices are charged per movie, ranging from $2.99 to $19.99. YouTube Premium is a monthly $15.99 on top of that, with a one month free trial.
The only place to go for HBO content in New Zealand, Neon has a broad library of premium content and offers extensive device compatibility, but does not come with 4K picture quality which frustrates some users.
Nevertheless, it hosts several popular TV shows such as Mare of Easttown, The White Lotus, Game of Thrones, Lovecraft Country, and Veep. Its catalogue of movies includes Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Little Women, Knives Out, 1917, The Farewell, and the Harry Potter franchise.
Neon costs $15.99 per month and offers a 14-day free trial. Like Netflix, you can also download episodes and movies to watch later offline.
The online platform of TVNZ, this is where you can catch local and international TV and film content as well as live TV from channels one, two, and Duke.
Although it’s free it comes at a price: ads are inserted into each video, just like on regular TV, which can sometimes be abrupt and disruptive. There’s no option yet to pay to have these ads removed.
Popular shows include Mr Robot, Love Life, Doctor Who, The Great Kiwi Bake Off, Top Of The Lake, Barkley Manor, Taskmaster, The Mindy Project, Young Sheldon, and more. Films include Kiwi greats such as Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Boy, Sione’s Wedding and Whale Rider.
TVNZ OnDemand is totally free to sign up for and stream.
TVNZ’s competitor Three has their own streaming platform for local and international content, ThreeNow. It includes content from Three, Bravo, HGTV, Choice, and National Geographic.
Their primary focus is TV shows, with a heavy emphasis on reality TV. This includes The Block, Married At First Sight, SAS Australia, and The Masked Singer. Although their movie library is light, it includes a couple of familiar names like Step Brothers, Ben Hur, and Gemini Man.
ThreeNow is totally free, but just like TVNZ OnDemand it also plays ads which cannot be skipped or removed.
NZ On Screen
This free to view streaming site is a showcase of New Zealand film and television, with many hard-to-find and older local productions as well as modern favourites, music videos and commercials. If you’re keen for a trip down memory lane, this is the place to find it.
Popular picks include The Legend of Baron To’a, What Becomes of the Broken Hearted, Flat3, and Step Dave.
You don’t need to sign up to start watching, although you will need to be in New Zealand (sorry expat Kiwis).
Sky Sport Now
You no longer need a set top box or Sky subscription to enjoy Sky Sport Now. Compatible across most devices, it covers an enormous range of sports content from boxing to cricket to football to Nascar.
Sky Sport Now features 12 Sky Sport and ESPN channels including live and on demand coverage. You can also rewind if you miss the start of an event.
Sky Sport Now isn’t the cheapest streamer, costing $39.99 per month, plus one-off charges for specific pay-per-view events throughout the year.
Spark Sport also offers a wide range of sports coverage, including Premier League football and NBA, NFL and Formula One.
Compatible across all devices, they provide live, on demand, and pay-per-view events. Unfortunately they don’t offer 4K content nor simultaneous streaming (you can only watch on one screen at a time).
Spark Sport costs $24.99 per month, after a 7-day free trial.
Local Cinema Platforms
During lockdown our local indie cinemas have suffered in New Zealand. Several have responded by creating their own online streaming platforms featuring independent and art house cinema.
Prices are per film, with curated lists from their film experts and collections based on festival, genre, directors, and decade — great for discovering something new.
For horror fans, the only place to go is Shudder. Compatible across most devices, Shudder features horror, thriller, and suspense movies and TV shows from the 1970’s through to today.
Favourites on the platform include Creepshow, Revenge, Blood Quantum, and the documentary Cursed Films. Their film library is deep and niche, and the perfect place to discover something new.
Unfortunately the maximum resolution available for their films is 720p, and many older movies are only available in standard definition. You may also find that some of their catalogue is geo-locked and can’t be accessed from New Zealand.
Shudder costs $7.99 per month and offers a 7-day free trial.
For lovers of the BBC, Acorn is the place to be. It offers classic British dramas, mysteries, and comedies, with a particular focus on TV shows and made-for-TV films.
Watch the back catalogue of Midsomer Murders, Poirot, Finding Joy, Father Ted, or Miranda. It’s compatible across most devices.
Acorn costs $7.99 per month and offers a 7-day free trial.
Perfect for documentary lovers, DocPlay has over 800 films and over 140 TV series investigating a wide variety of people, places, phenomenon, and events.
Highlights include Apocalypse, Beyond The Myth, Galapagos with David Attenborough, James & Isey, Fahrenheit 9/11, The Imposter.
DocPlay costs $7.99 per month, and offers a 14-day free trial.
For art-house and indie films, Mubi has an extensive catalogue curated by film experts. Highlights include Heat, The skin I live in, Primer, and The 400 Blows.
Mubi costs $12.99 per month, and offers a 7-day free trial.
Other niche sites
Other streaming platforms available for New Zealanders include:
- CuriosityStream — for documentaries
- Crunchyroll — for fans of manga, anime, and Japanese TV shows
- HiDive — for anime and animated films
- Kanopy — world cinema and independent cinema (free through selected NZ libraries)
- Filmzie — for old or little known films and TV shows (free with ads)
- Beamafilm — for indie films and documentaries (free through selected NZ libraries)
- Waterbear — for environmental films and documentaries (free to view)
Making movie nights easy
These devices let you stream content from your phone, tablet or computer directly to your TV. Simply plug the device into your TV, download the relevant app or software (Google Home app for Chromecast, or Roku-specific software), follow a few simple setup steps and begin casting.
You can also cast directly from a Google Chrome browser on your computer, once the Chromecast has been plugged into your TV.
If you subscribe to multiple streaming platforms at once, you may also like Just Watch, an app that pulls your entire streaming library into one handy place to make browsing and decision making easier.
It’s free to download and features updates on new releases, what’s hot, and a personalised watch list.
Watch from anywhere
Wireless Nation has a wide range of broadband options to suit every lifestyle and need, from fibre to fixed wireless and portable Lifestyle Broadband.
Check out our plans and enjoy the best of what the internet has to offer. Next time movie night rolls around, you’ll be all set to sit back, relax, and enjoy the entertainment.