Adam Scott gives the performance of his life in Apple TV+’s sci-fi drama Severance. Photo / Apple TV+

Once the undisputed king of streaming services, Netflix has spent the last few years slowly being pushed out of the limelight.

The streaming service has been accused of doubling down on controversial decisions that have caused subscribers to flee in droves, turning to Neon, Apple Plus and Acorn TV.

With such a daunting list to choose from, many have found their relationship with Netflix gone from monogamous to increasingly tenuous.

With the rapid loss of both subscribers and the drop in their share price, Netflix has entered cost-cutting mode, quickly halting production of several internal TV shows and confirming that the platform will no longer be ad-free by the end of 2023.

Long gone are the days when the only decision as to whether most of us would listen to a movie recommendation would come down to the answer to the question, “Is it on Netflix?”

New Zealand has officially entered the streaming age, and with a casting device readily available in almost every home, choosing the right service for you might seem like a near-impossible task.

So if you’re looking around for options and wondering which streaming services are really worth your money; Don’t worry, we’re here for you.

Here are five of the best alternative streaming services to try:

Looking for something more family friendly? Try Disney+

Disney+’s original appeal was for parents who were tired of endlessly scrolling through streaming sites looking for something age-appropriate for their child to watch. Disney never wanted to be a competitor to Netflix, instead the service aims to be a family-friendly companion that lives alongside some of your heftier subscription options.

However, the sheer permanence of the Disney backlog makes the service appealing not only to parents but also to viewers of all ages. And that’s all before adding Disney’s partnership with Star, a new channel that effectively doubles the service’s content library with significantly more mature plans.

Whether it’s timeless hand-drawn classics like Sleeping Beauty or modern franchise epics like Star Wars or the MCU, Disney+ has something for you no matter your age.

Free trial period: none
Simultaneous streams: 4
Price: $12.99 per month

Looking for some excellent HBO drama? Try neon

Neon is one of the more expensive offerings on this list, but $16 gives you access to arguably the highest-quality content available on any streaming service: The HBO library.

Neon’s exclusive deal with Home Box Office means you get access to box sets of some of the biggest dramas of all time like The Wire, Oz and The Sopranos, and watch the latest episodes from big shows like Winning Time: The Rise of The Laker Dynasty, Barry , The Staircase and Euphoria on the day they come out.

Additionally, Neon includes the option to download select shows and movies to watch offline later. This is an excellent added incentive for anyone who wants to keep their roaming charges low and still consume content on their daily commute.

If you consider yourself a TV fanatic, neon is a must-have and will help you keep up with any discussion about office water dispensers.

Free trial period: 14 days.
Simultaneous streams: 2
Price: $15.99 per month

The cast of the award-winning HBO show Euphoria celebrate.  All episodes are currently streaming on Neon.  Photo / Getty Images
The cast of the award-winning HBO show Euphoria celebrate. All episodes are currently streaming on Neon. Photo / Getty Images

Are you looking for something cheaper? Try Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime is arguably one of the least known streaming services here in New Zealand, often eliciting a blank stare at the mention of it. But in terms of value, Prime offers one of the best deals in New Zealand.

Just like Netflix, Amazon has consistently put out original TV shows and movies, just with far less fanfare. Shows like The Boys, The Expanse, and Upload have garnered quietly positive reviews and a cult following.

Prime’s library is also packed with classic movies and shows, appealing to a demographic Netflix has seemingly forgotten.

At just $8 a month, Prime is one of the best deals, especially when you factor in exclusive access to premiere movies that Amazon has bought the rights to.

Free trial period: 30 days.
Simultaneous streams: 3
Price: $8 per month

Looking for quality instead of quantity? Try AppleTV+.

Only recently launched in 2019, Apple has been quietly building its own library of original shows and movies to keep up with its competitors.

In direct counterpoint to the sexual and violent excesses of Netflix’s own TV shows, Apple’s offerings are decidedly less flashy, more character-driven affairs.

From delightful, heartwarming comedies like Mythic Quest and Ted Lasso to expensive, big-name dramas like The Morning Show and For All Mankind, the service is sure to satisfy anyone looking for a new series of excellent, really seeks original content.

The Apple TV+’s content library is the slimmest on this list and could use a few more movies, but at a paltry $8.99 per month, it’s astronomical value for money.

Free trial period: 7 days.
Simultaneous streams: 6
Price: $8.99 per month

Looking for something specially curated? Try Acorn TV or Shudder.

And for those with a little extra income looking for a specific genre, Acorn TV and Shudder have you covered.

Acorn TV offers access to a wealth of British TV programs with a focus on mysteries. For just $11.48 a month, Acorn caters to fans of British TV classics like Midsomer Murders and more recent Acorn originals like Penance and Harry Wild.

Shudder, on the other hand, is for the horror connoisseur. Shudder customers can expect a massive selection of scary movies, both new and old, and an ever-growing library of podcasts, documentaries, and original shows and movies.

Frustratingly, the Shudder app’s maximum streaming resolution is 720p, giving the other services a slight advantage in stream quality, but anyone with even the slightest interest in horror should check out the service’s surprisingly extensive library.

At just $7.99 per month, this service could be an ideal deal for the die-hard genre fan looking for a hell of a time.

Free trial period: 7 days.
Simultaneous streams: 1-3
Price: $7.99 per month

The judgment

While Netflix still seems to be the fan favorite here in New Zealand – anyone Bridgerton? – Other streaming services seem to be closing the gap. Neon and Amazon Prime offer a wide variety of shows, and streaming fans seem OK with an increase in viewership. But Netflix will undoubtedly bounce back in 2022 and 2023 with many more great shows and blockbusters planned. Streaming wars are just starting to heat up, and viewers will be the only real winners once it escalates into a full blown inferno.

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