TVNZ ondemand - A first look

I had a look at TVNZ ondemand before it was opened to the public, and here’s my review.

PlayPoints – the currency

When you register on the site, you get 10 free PlayPoints. PlayPoints are the ‘currency’ of the site. So, A 23 minute show (eg: Shortland Street without ad breaks) will usually cost 4 PlayPoints, and a 44 minute show (eg: Rude Awakenings without ad breaks) will cost 8 PlayPoints.

The PlayPoints are 50c each, and can be purchased in batches of $10, $20, $50 or $100. You will need your credit card for this transaction, and if you don’t have one, you may need to get one of these.

Site Layout

For a larger screenshot, click here!

The site layout is really nice! It’s flash, user-friendly and much better looking than
There are RSS feeds on each section of the site. So, we have:

♦ Catch Up, where you can download or view your favorite shows online that you may have missed, or just want to see again.
♦What’s Hot, where you can download or view TVNZ’s most popular shows online
♦Coming Soon, where you can preview what’s coming soon on TVNZ
♦Weekly Recaps, where you can view weekly recaps of selected TVNZ shows. For example: The Best of Breakfast
♦Classics, where you can view popular and iconic NZ shows from the TVNZ archive.
♦Insider Info, where you can view exclusive video from your favorite shows.

Each button has a glossy look to it (see left & right). It’s just one of those small things that you don’t need, but makes the site look even better.

Watching A Show

You can watch free content and previews of shows you can buy. It streams to your browser, and can be a bit slow at times.

For a larger screenshot, click here!
To the left is where you can browse though the available episodes and choose one. To the right – The box where the episode streams, and other information such as links, rating, how much to download, and a brief on the episode.

For a larger screenshot, click here!
Full screen view of a streaming show. The menu at the bottom fades away when your cursor is not on or near the bottom of the screen.

Downloading A Show

For a larger screenshot, click here!
Before you download a show, you can do a speed test to calculate how long the download will take. When the test is finished, you will get a message similar to this: “This 200 MB download will take approximately: 25 minutes 10 seconds”

For a larger screenshot, click here!

When you click download, you get a cute little ‘Thank you for downloading’ pop-up, followed by the TVNZ ondemand Download Manager. This nifty little manager allows you to pause downloads, turn your PC on & off again and continue downloading.

Once it’s downloaded and ready to go, clicking Launch in the manager will get you in Windows Media Player, and another cute message will visit you:

For a larger screenshot, click here!

Clicking ‘Set Up my PlayPoints Account’, will let you type in personal details, name, email and password.

For a larger screenshot, click here!

After doing this, you can instantly get your free 10 PlayPoints. But if you still planning on watching a show, this will go down as soon as you activate your licence to view the show.

For a larger screenshot, click here!

What’s there so far?

Well, there’s not much but there is going to be Shortland Street episodes (there are some there now), Eating Media Lunch, Rude Awakenings, One News, Breakfast, possably Karaoke High and NZ Idol, Ticket to the Tribes and so much more. Still being in BETA, there’s not a lot there but there will be, trust me!

All the old favorite shows are going to slowly be added over time to the Classics area, but so far there is Radio With Pictures (1982), A NZBC News clip on the Wahine disaster (1968), To Live In The City (1967) and a few others. These, are free to view.


♦When you purchase a program, it’s not there for you to view forever. After 7 days since you downloaded it, your license will expire, and the show will not play. You will need to purchase another license in order to view it after 7 days.

♦The site does not work on Macs.

The site has launched so check it out at!

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About the author

Kyle Wadsworth

Kyle Wadsworth is a trained multimedia journalist with a passion for film and television - notably Westside and Outrageous Fortune! Also known as TuiKiwi (the name of which has also featured on Outrageous Fortune as a guest-starring beer brand).
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  • ell

    cool stuff!

    are you able to say what kind of shows are in the Classics section

  • Tui

    Yup – I’ll get to that soon 🙂
    I’m still checking out the site and sorting out screenshots – but I’ll get there. But remember – not alot of the content is there yet. 🙂

  • nzgabriel

    Looks really good, can’t wait for it to be released. One question, do they have international content?

  • Tui

    International content…. I haven’t seen any there yet, but I think they are going to add it, going by this:

    What shows are available on TVNZ ondemand for free?

    Most of our locally made content is free, although we may have some exceptions. Most of our international content has a cost and therefore a license has to be purchased.

  • DeViI D0do

    NZ broadband needs to get MUCH better before people can even start to think about streaming video… but downloading is another question.

    What the resolution of the video? File size?

    I don’t really like anything on TVNZ anyway, heh… But I definitely think this is where the future of entertainment is going to be. In on demand services… Obviously, watching tv on a computer ain’t ideal… but as the technology grows and NZ starts to catch up with the rest of the world I hope we start to see more services like this going directly through a set-top box or something… like a TiVo. And I don’t think it’ll be a long wait for something like this to eventuate… Digital TV is just around the corner.

  • Tui

    Very true. Today I got into the Joost beta, and it’s so slow thanks to slow broadband. It’s 211 MB, and the Downloads are high resolution.

  • ell

    do you need to register with a credit card if you only want the free content?

  • Tui

    Nope! The last three screenshots is how to set it all up. But to make an account and get playpoints, you need to download a show first, and then you can register 🙂

  • ell

    oh ok, that makes sense. cheers.

  • campgrrls

    For myself I’m not really interested in this. There’s enough on free-to-air TV for me to see and it’s so much easier. It seems to me the on-demand thing is opening the way to pay for stuff I now watch free on TV eventually. With digital TV on the way there’ll also be more choice. I don’t really see what’s so great about the on-demand thing.

  • ell

    More and more people are switching off their tv’s and downloading shows or using you tube for entertainment. people are moving away from the whole sitting down at 7:30 for Coronation St or sitting down for such and such a programme, to wanting to watch it when they want. Thats why it good.

  • DeViI D0do

    I download ‘Heroes’ and ’24’ on a Tuesday night and we all sit down to watch them both on Wednesday night… no ads, no waiting for a specific time, it’s awesome! On demand is where it’s at…

    If they created a legal service like this that downloaded straight to a tv box (rather than having to connect a laptop to tv), I’d so be in… (if the price was reasonable)…

  • Rachel

    Were there ads in the shows?

  • Richard Principal

    GREAT! now Internet is going to get even slower as ideas like this soak up Internet bandwidth. When sky came out I feel like smashing my TV, soon I feel like smashing my computer, man I got get a anger management book fast.

  • Tui

    If you are watching a streaming clip on the website, there is a short ad before the show or preview starts. There are no ads in the downloaded shows.

  • Rachel

    Thanks. How big were the files you downloaded?

  • Tui

    One of the shows I downloaded (Shorty St) was 211 MB.

  • Tui

    Eating Media Lunch episodes are free 🙂

  • Richard Principal

    I downloaded Open Office once (free office suite) on dialup about 70 meg that took about 6 hours, now I wait till it comes out on the next computer magazine.

  • campgrrls

    I often record shows and ff thru the ads. Not that much difference really, and I have them to keep if I want. If people don’t watch ads we’ll get more and more product placements which is a kind of like brainwashing cos people will be less aware that they’re actually watching ads.

    I don’t know that many people who download lots of TV progs. I think most people still watch telly and will continue to do so.

  • Richard Principal

    I must say Tui you have put a lot of work into this thread and you changed your logo to a picture along with Rachel,
    I made my logo today, I was going to use “DHT” to go with the name LOL ……. then I thought of “TV xx?x” this is normally a three letter word, I use a ‘s’ at the end to indicate my thoughts are non-singular, then thought we dont want to see this word all the time at this web site, lowering the tone of it, after considering using greater than, less than symbol to replace the x.

  • Tui

    Yup, it took me awhile but it was worth it 🙂
    I changed my picture because of a new ‘Friends’ feature. When you add someone as a friend, their picture appears in your profile. It made more sence to use a photo instead of a logo 🙂

  • Anoyzmous

    so whats the link to this sucka? c’mon, share the love 😉

  • EVS

    My long time dream is now a reality 😀

    I loathe being tied to a tv schedule –
    I really dislike the endless ads on tv –
    I hate it when I miss something that I really wanted to see –
    Now all of my pet bleats about tv are solved 😀

  • regan

    TVNZ have password protected the ondemand this morning

  • Tui

    Hah I can’t reveal the link :p
    LOL at it being password protected! 😀

  • Tui

    EVS – at a cost, yes 😉

  • TV Queen

    congrats Tui I’m very impressed. LOL TVNZ can’t get their act together enough to prevent this sort of episode.

  • Tui

    Thanks! 😀

  • Steve

    So is this Windows Only?

    What about Mac and Linux users?

  • Tui

    Sorry I have no idea…

  • Anonymous

    re: credit cards – solves the age/having a normal card problem

    i use em for subs all time

  • Tui

    Ahh yes, I forgot about that! Thanks for pointing it out 😀

  • Dolce4Life

    First i just have to say big ups to TuiKiwi!! lol great detective work, great thread! Thanks! I download Veronica Mars and The OC episodes but is usually wait for shows like Greys and DH to air on TV and none of the NZ stuff interests me anymore so i cant see myself using this just yet. I like the look of the site though.

  • shantaram

    This site looks absolutely fantastic, what an excellent resource of historical N.Z. t.v., as well as a great way to catch up on Shorty and shows people rave about from overseas. Good work TVNZ and great thread Tui.

  • Tui

    Thanks 😀

  • Anomynous

    man thats great work Tui! i dont even understand that computer talk language Lol.
    *is proud that i have personally met Tuidude!

  • cabinboy

    Greeting Tui – Thanks for the report (came over from R B).

    What parts of the site are not Mac compatible and can you tell us the format of the video files?

    Interested to see from a number of comments that there are others who have adapted their TV watching to the new electronic landscape. I too prefer to download just the shows I enjoy and watch on my TV (burn disks etc… a hastle… I am witing for AppleTV to solve this for me-mp4 iTunes files only, I know, but there are work rounds).

    The way of the future, but I find it extraordinary that in this day and age TVNZ builds a site that exclude Macs, Lunix…

  • Tui

    Is that you chev?!? Thanks! 😀

    cabinboy! The video files are wmv naturally, the site is okay with macs, but you won’t be able to download files as they are infected with DRM, which will need Windows Media Player. You can watch the streaming videos though – thats all flash.

  • regan
  • Elmo

    Good on Tui 🙂

  • Rachel

    Yay Tui, congrats for the article in the paper 😀

  • Tui

    Eeeee yay 😀

  • Tui

    I was reading in the paper how the site was ‘only there for the weekend’, but parts (that wern’t protected) are still there! The site can’t have just been there for the weekend.

  • nzgabriel

    I found this link to videos that are located on their website for ondemand:

  • Richard Principal

    Congratulations Tui I read about you in today’s NZ Herald. How come you get all the luck? I didn’t think your real name was Tui, I thought maybe you whistle a happy bird tune when you drink lots of that “liquid refreshment” Yeah right!

    All I get is a clairvoyant from Auckland North shore keeps sending me junk mail, why doesn’t she look into her crystal ball and work out I am not going to reply to her.

    Then today I got a letter from Canada that says I just won big money and ask for my credit card details, dreamers why dont they just send me the cheque I will make sure I bank it, a figure that big I will even throw a sicky to visit my bank.

  • nzgabriel

    do you have the link?

  • Tui

    nzgabriel – That was actually one of the index pages i found ages ago when I first went hunting for the site. Only then, the videos didn’t work for me :s

    Richy Prince – Firstly, thanks! I don’t get all the luck! This was just one of those occasions where you grab any opportunity.
    My ‘full’ username is TuiKiwi – and while on other blogs people started to shorten it to Tui, and when I joined here I dropped the Kiwi part as it was getting alittle old.
    At least you get mail – I love getting mail but it doesn’t happen often.

  • jhjh2000

    hunting for the site how?

  • drangd

    Well done Tui! Your post was informative, positive and thorough. Considered a career in investigative journalism one day? Keep it up, love your blog on here.

  • Tui

    jhjh2000 – aye?

    drangd – Thanks! I have considered it, yes 🙂

  • Tui

    I’d like to see if people overseas can access the site….once it’s been launched of course..

  • Me

    drangd, lol @ investigative journalism! For a minute it made me think; i bet Ian Wishart is looking at this, a State run TV Company being exposed by a 14yr old idolblogger hehe 🙂 The World is your bluff Oyster Tui!

  • Elmo

    From Taranaki Daily times

    TVNZ has tightened security around a new website after a New Plymouth schoolboy helped himself to episodes of his favourite show.

    Kyle Wadsworth (14), a New Plymouth Boys’ High student, embarrassed the broadcaster by tapping into its new on-demand television website at the weekend and wrote about it on blog site Throng. “It was pretty easy, it was just there,” Kyle said.

    The site, which is not officially open yet, will sell episodes of selected shows for $2 a half-hour. Kyle had been searching through an index on the website and after making slight changes to a web address he was in.

    While on the site Kyle downloaded two episodes of Shortland Street for free.

    Kyle was surprised at how easy it was to gain access.

    “They have hyped it up so much as being revolutionary, I thought it would be protected.”

    By yesterday Kyle’s posting about the TVNZ site had recorded more than 2000 hits and the feedback had been positive.

    Kyle said the TVNZ site was “pretty good”.

    “It is really easy to navigate. A bit modern for TVNZ,” he joked.

    Nobody from TVNZ had contacted Kyle. “I thought I would get a telling off, but I guess I’m just lucky.”

    Kyle’s story appeared in the New Zealand Herald yesterday but not many of his fellow students knew what he had done. “I told a few, I don’t think many of them read the Herald, not like the Daily News.”

    He had mixed emotions about what would happen when his story was in the local paper today. “I don’t like to think about it actually. It has just been really overwhelming.”

    Kyle said he was not always on his computer and liked to just hang out with his friends at the beach at times.

    He would like to be an actor and has just been added to the books of the New Zealand Talent Agency in Auckland.

  • regan

    That’s fantastic… one way to get yourself noted Tui! 😀

  • Tui

    Haha yes :p
    Because of the Taranaki Daily News, I got woken up at 6.45am by Classic Hits who wanted to do an interview at 7.10am. Ugh, lol apparently they had been going though the phonebook, trying to find my number! The guy said the they love stories on how the little guy embarrasses the big guy or something like that.

  • regan

    So the local Classic Hits in Taranaki then?

  • Tui

    Yeah. And another local station – 106.7FM.
    I have a recording of both XD

  • MBL_NZ


  • nzgabriel

    Can you, please, provide us with the URL?

  • kimhmm

    That’s so cool Tui XD Shame tvnz. (and they don’t merit capitals)

  • regan

    and tui makes another paper

    in fact, at the time I write this, it’s the 7th most viewed story on today! 😀

  • regan

    watch out for something in the Sunday Star Times this weekend too! 😀

  • Tui

    Oh please ignore the picture on stuff….i’ve never had a picture that bad before :'(

  • Anonymous

    have a look at the link

  • Tui
  • eMz DaWg

    sup sup yol meliza hunz how r ya doin love aw i love ya oxoxoxoxo eMz

  • Tui

    In fact the time I found ondemand was 7.30pm, Saturday March 3rd 2007 (going by gmail chat history to rachel).

  • loser3434

    oh give it up tuikiwi you’re so full of your own self-importance

  • 272653

    Meh, get over it TuiKiwi.

  • Tui

    oh give it up tuikiwi you’re so full of your own self-importance

    And? Your point?

  • mikeoxlong

    hello wat u doin I’m at skwl n ur sitting nxt 2 leon. 🙂