Lightbox review: price, features and content

Lightbox has more than enough content to satisfy television fanatics.

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A relatively new name on the subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) scene, Lightbox was founded in 2014 and is owned by Spark New Zealand. For a monthly subscription fee, you gain access to a wide range of TV content from around the world. Subscribers can also rent recent movies on a pay-per-view basis.

What is Lightbox?

Lightbox is a streaming video on demand service from Spark, mainly focused on offering TV series. Earlier in 2018, the platform also introduced a movie rental service, so you can spice things up with the occasional blockbuster. Lightbox is a great option for Spark clients, as it comes free with eligible broadband and mobile plans. However, it may appeal as a worthy Netflix alternative as well given its generous and diverse content library.


Lightbox offers two types of subscriptions – Standard and Premium. Both grant access to the platform’s entire TV library and come with no contracts. With the Standard Plan, you can watch on two screens simultaneously, while the Premium Plan allows you to watch on four screens at the same time. Plus, Premium also brings you offline viewing – the ability to download titles on mobile devices to watch them later. Either way, you can register up to five different devices on both plans.

The Standard Plan is free for select Spark customers or costs $12.99/month otherwise. The Premium Plan is usually $15.99/month or $3/month with eligible Spark plans. A free 30-day trial is available for new customers.

To rent movies, prices start at $6.99 for new releases and $4.99 for older titles. You don’t necessarily need a TV plan to indulge.

Updated November 15th, 2019
Name Product Service 4K/UHD? Simultaneous streams Price Subscription length Min. cost
Lightbox Premium
Lightbox Premium
On-demand streaming
Digital Movie Store
No
4
NZD15.99
Monthly
$15.99
Lightbox Standard
Lightbox Standard
On-demand streaming
Digital Movie Store
No
2
NZD12.99
Monthly
$12.99

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What devices and platforms is Lightbox compatible with?

Lightbox is compatible with a variety of devices. You can stream content via your browser on computers/laptops, or download the app for both Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. Keen to watch on the big screen? A Lightbox app is also available for selected 2013 or later Samsung Smart TVs, 2014 or later Panasonic Smart TVs, 2013 or later LG Web OS Smart TVs, and 2014-16 Sony Smart TVs.

Additionally, subscribers can also stream content with PS3 and PS4, Chromecast/Airplay, and Apple TV.

What content does Lightbox have?

The Handmaid’s Tale, Suits, and The Good Doctor. There are also plenty of comedies available, like New Girl, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Seinfeld, and The Office.

Plus, subscribers get access to a small selection of NZ shows and documentary/reality series. Kids have plenty of titles to keep them busy, from SpongeBob Squarepants to Paw Patrol to Dora the Explorer.

If you’re keen to rent some movies, you’ll be happy to know that Lightbox offers recent blockbusters like Ocean’s 8, Tag, Game Night, and more. Classic flicks like Taxi Driver, Jumanji, and Mad Max are also available to rent.

Early in 2018, Lightbox also commisioned two original New Zealand productions. First was High Road, a dramedy about an aging rock star that was transformed from a successful web series into an 8-part TV series (with a totally original second season also commissioned) and Nori Roller Coaster Boy an animated kids series (think Thomas the Tank Engine with roller coasters).

Our top picks on Lightbox

  • The Handmaid’s Tale
  • The Good Doctor
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Outlander
  • Castle Rock
  • Suits
  • Preacher
  • The Americans
  • Modern Family

How much data does Lightbox use?

Since data usage depends on your broadband speed and device, it can be hard to estimate how much data a streaming session can end up burning. However, according to data provided by Lightbox, if you were running at full quality for an hour a day on your home broadband connection, you’d be using up to 80 GB per month. That translates to an average of 2.6GB/hour. On the same note, you were running at full quality using mobile data (3G/4G), you’d be using up to 3GB per hour. On average, expect the service to burn around 1GB (on standard definition) and 3GB on High Definition (HD) during one hour of streaming.

To save mobile data, you can get the Premium Plan and benefit from the offline viewing feature. As for Internet speed, streaming on lowest quality starts off at requiring 600Kb/s. For the highest quality HD titles, a speed of 5800Kbp/s is recommended. Generally, Lightbox requires a minimum internet bandwidth of 2Mbps in order to access quality viewing of the content.

How do I sign up to LightBox?

Signing up for LightBox is easy. Simply follow the instructions below.

      1. Visit the LightBox website using any of the links provided. The homepage looks like this:
      2. Select ‘Start your free trial’
      3. You will be asked to enter your details and add your payment method.
      4. That’s it! We told you it was easy.

Verdict

Lightbox is a solid streaming service on the TV front, a worthy competitor to the likes of Netflix and Neon. Its major downfall is the lack of movies included with the subscription. But if you’re mainly focused on streaming the latest TV episodes, it should more than satisfy for needs. Plus, you can rent a movie every once in a while if you stumble upon a title that catches your eye.

How does Lightbox compare?

Updated November 15th, 2019
Name Product Service 4K/UHD? Simultaneous streams Price Subscription length Min. cost
Neon TV shows
Neon TV shows
On-demand streaming
No
2
NZD11.99
Monthly
$11.99
Neon TV and Movies
Neon TV and Movies
On-demand streaming
No
2
NZD20
Monthly
$20
Prime Video
Prime Video
On-demand streaming
Yes
3
NZD5.99
Monthly
$5.99
Prime Video is currently available to New Zealanders at $2.99 per month for the first six months. Price reverts to $5.99 per month after the first 6 months.
Lightbox Standard
Lightbox Standard
On-demand streaming
Digital Movie Store
No
2
NZD12.99
Monthly
$12.99
Lightbox Premium
Lightbox Premium
On-demand streaming
Digital Movie Store
No
4
NZD15.99
Monthly
$15.99
Netflix Basic
Netflix Basic
On-demand streaming
No
1
NZD11.49
Monthly
$11.99
Netflix Standard
Netflix Standard
On-demand streaming
No
2
NZD14.99
Monthly
$14.99
Netflix Premium
Netflix Premium
On-demand streaming
Yes
4
NZD18.49
Monthly
$17.99
TVNZ On Demand
TVNZ On Demand
On-demand streaming
No
1
NZD0
No subscription
$0.00
Fan Pass Month Pass
Fan Pass Month Pass
Sports
No
1
NZD99
Monthly
$99.00
ThreeNow
ThreeNow
Catch-up
LiveTV
On-demand streaming
No
1
NZD0
No subscription
$0.00
Fan Pass Mobile Only
Fan Pass Mobile Only
Live TV
Sports
No
1
NZD15.99
Monthly
$15.99
This plan is only available on mobile devices.
Fan Pass 6 Months Pass
Fan Pass 6 Months Pass
Live TV
Sports
No
1
NZD55.99
6 months
$335.94
Fan Pass 6 Months + Google Chromecast
Fan Pass 6 Months + Google Chromecast
Live TV
Sports
No
1
NZD75.99
6 months
$911.88
This Fan Pass Plan comes with a Google Chromecast included.
Fan Pass Month + Google Chromecast
Fan Pass Month + Google Chromecast
Sports
No
1
NZD129.99
Monthly
$129.99
This Fan Pass Plan comes with a Google Chromecast included.
Acorn TV
Acorn TV
On-demand streaming
No
1
NZD7.25
Monthly
$7.25
Acorn TV offers British TV shows on-demand.

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What devices and platforms is Lightbox compatible with?


Lightbox is compatible with a variety of devices. You can stream content via your browser on computers/laptops, or download the app for both Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. Keen to watch on the big screen? A Lightbox app is also available for selected 2013 or later Samsung Smart TVs, 2014 or later Panasonic Smart TVs, 2013 or later LG Web OS Smart TVs, and 2014-16 Sony Smart TVs.

Additionally, subscribers can also stream content with PS3 and PS4, Chromecast/Airplay, and Apple TV.

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