Spark’s Lightbox and Sky’s Neon streaming TV and film services are merging into one. Here’s everything you need to know.
In February after much speculation, it was announced that Sky had bought Spark’s streaming TV and film service, Lightbox, and that it would be folded in its own service, Neon.
After that, details were scant. But today, we learn that on July 7 Lightbox will cease to be a brand and that its programming will be soaked up by Neon.
What does this mean for subscribers of one or both services, or to those who get Lightbox free with their Spark broadband plans?
Well, the Spark incentive will end, but paying subscribers to Lightbox can continue as Neon subscribers (and continue to have it paid through their Spark bill) with a four dollar reduction on the full Neon price of $13.95 per month.
But what does it all mean, and how will Neon change with the addition of Lightbox programming to its lineup?
While Lightbox does have a tidy repertoire of excellent content to draw on (with excellent shows like The Handmaid’s Tale and Breaking Bad), Neon already has a lot of top-notch shows. It’s our guess that what Sky really wanted to avail themselves of was the technology behind the Lightbox app.
The Neon app is famously buggy, and no amount of service desk help seems to fix the numerous issues that crop up, from error messages preventing next episodes from playing to frequently losing a viewer’s place in a programme to coming up with whole episodes mysteriously missing. The Lightbox app, on the other hand, is smart and runs smoothly.
The newfangled Neon will – like the current app – work via Chromecasting or Airplay to the big screen but presumably, there will be no app available on the Apple TV streaming gadget.
Things for existing Neon customers will otherwise remain much the same. The price is the same but the viewer gets extra content.
Sky is expecting that customers with programmes saved to ‘my watchlist’ might find those items missing for a few days during the changeover, so it’s Witchdoctor’s recommendation that prior to refreshing their Neon app, viewers take note of programmes they especially want to see, along with a log of how far they got through a particular film or series!
Ultimately, the merger should be a win-win for viewers, and while it’s sad for the Lightbox brand, we look forward to a refreshed, reinvigorated Neon.