Netflix launches in New Zealand today, in direct competition with Spark's Lightbox and Sky TV's Neon. Should you join? Chris Schulz weighs up the pros and cons ...

Pro: It's cheap

When Netflix finally announced their pricing plans yesterday - from $9.99 to the basic package, to $15.99 for ultra-HD - its main competitor Lightbox announced plans to drop its prices to compete with Netflix head-on. Whichever service you choose, there's no debating the fact that the addition of Netflix to New Zealand's on-demand market has already been good for consumers.

Read more: Lightbox drops prices in response to Netflix's pricing plan announcement

Con: No House of Cards

It's Netflix's biggest and best show, a critically acclaimed masterpiece starring Kevin Spacey in one of his best ever roles, yet consumers can't watch

House of Cards

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on its New Zealand service. That's because Lightbox snapped up the rights to the first two seasons. As for season three? It's already available in America, but here, no one seems to know when or where it might land.

Read more: NZ 'joins the Netflix family' - but where's House of Cards?

Pro: Original content

Netflix has a strong line-up of original content, and shows like

Bloodline, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

and

Sense8

all look incredible. By the end of the year, they've promised to deliver a full season of its own original series every two weeks. No question that it's an impressive target.

Con: No Game of Thrones

That's right, the world's biggest show kicks off its fifth season in April, but to watch it on-demand, you'll need Sky's Neon package. Netflix won't be airing any HBO content, as that goes on HBO's own streaming service in America, HBO Go. So you'll have to look elsewhere for your fix of the mob drama, or equally acclaimed shows like

The Wire

and

The Sopranos

. Boo.

Pro: Movies

Yes, Netflix has an impressive movie catalogue, including

Wall-E, Argo

and

Saving Private Ryan

. Most movies hit the service a year after their theatre debut, Netflix told us, and the service is starting to commission its own too, with the first, a sequel to

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

, due out in July.

Con: Decisions, decisions

If you only have room in your budget for one on-demand service, it's a very tough choice. Netflix, Lightbox, or Neon? Our advice is to sign up to the one-month trial and decide if it's for you. By the end of the year, we should know which one's winning this three-horse race.

Pro: Winter is coming

Okay, that's a

Game of Throne

s reference and as previously discussed, you can't watch the damn thing on Netflix. But there's so much content on there to binge watch over the coming months, it might be time to upgrade your television and home theatre system in preparation. Toasted cheese sandwiches and hot chocolates are optional.

Con: Cricket

Could Netflix have picked a worse day to launch? Yes, we'll get around to bingeing on all six seasons of

Lost

- what

is

in that hatch? - at some stage, but today, we're all about the Black Caps. Come on Vettori and co, lets smash South Africa and make it to the final.

* Sign up for Netflix here. Your first month is free.
Read more: Binge on this: Getting the Netflix NZ hard-sell

- nzherald.co.nz