Igloo TV went live yesterday after months of false starts, though general manager Chaz Savage says the technical delays have proved a silver lining for the service.
A joint partnership between Sky (51 percent) and TVNZ (49 percent), Igloo offers both free to air and pay television channels with no long term contracts.
Savage wasn't keen to talk about numbers this early on, but told StopPress all indications are positive, with quite a few sales already.
The original intention was to launch in the first quarter of this year, and this was then put back to June (not helping matters was the fact that it received some attention from the Commerce Commission, which sided with Sky and TVNZ's view that the service was adding choice for consumers and says it won't be scrutinising their content deals) and he says the major reason behind the delay of what has been a "very big undertaking" was that they were a bit too aggressive with their timings.
Unlike MySky or many of the other set-top boxes available in New Zealand, he says Igloo was made from scratch rather than bought off the shelf, and while the vendor it chose to build it took "a bit longer to crack the egg" than expected, this allowed them to become more familiar with the product and better prepare the business for the launch.
Igloo has been dubbed Sky-lite as it's aimed at "middle-ground" Kiwis who wouldn't otherwise pay for the full Sky service.
There are three ‘extras’ to choose from over and above the free-to-air channels. The first is a 30-day channel pack, featuring 11 additional channels from Food TV to National Geographic Channel, UKTV to Kidzone24 and Comedy Central. The second is the ability to stream more than 1,000 movies and TV episodes through broadband. And there's also Front Row, a pay-per-view sports channel (prices range from $14.95 for the HRV cup to $39.95 for the Fight for Life). Movies are between $4.99 and $6.99 and TV episodes are $1.99 (identical to iSKY), and there will be no downloading or hard drive functionality, just live pause and streaming ondemand via broadband.
The boxes are now available for purchase for $199 from igloo.co.nz, call centre and retail partners Harvey Norman, Noel Leeming, Bond & Bond and Norman Ross stores.
A version of this story originally appeared on StopPress