Telecom's Netflix-style service gets closer

Vikings - one of Lightbox's exclusive shows

Telecom seems to be gearing up to launch its Netflix-style service in the near future.

Media have been invited to a hands-on preview of "Lightbox" on Thursday.

Telecom (which changes its name to Spark next week) will also announce new shows at the briefing.

The company won't announce an exact launch date for the service, which will offer all of the movies and TV shows you can stream from the internet for $15 a month. It will feature support for streaming content from a tablet to a regular TV.

Telecom is in a race against Sky TV, which also says it will launch a Netlflix-style service before the end of this year.

Sky, whose programming budget alone ($289 million) dwarfs Lightbox's entire launch-year budget ($20 million), has released few details about its service, bar that it will be based on the technology currently used for Sky Go on PCs and tablets, and later be extended to MySky decoders.

Both contenders face competition from increasingly capable incumbent Quickflix, and the small army of Kiwis who are accessing the US version of Netflix directly.

An unconfirmed Australian report says the US-based Netflix, which recently passed $US4 billion in annual revenue and signed its 50 millionth subscriber, plans an Australia-NZ launch early next year. Netflix won't comment on the rumour.

ckeall@nbr.co.nz

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