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Design: Tina Tiller
Design: Tina Tiller

Pop CultureNovember 22, 2023

Good news: ThreeNow isn’t munted anymore

Design: Tina Tiller
Design: Tina Tiller

After years of borked buffering and glitchy graphics, ThreeNow finally has a new app. Tara Ward takes it for a spin.

What’s all this then?

In welcome news to television fans around the motu, streaming service ThreeNow has finally been updated. ThreeNow has long been the problem child of all the streaming apps, unpredictable and prone to crapping itself at the worst possible moment, frustrating many New Zealand viewers. There’s no shortage of one-star reviews online that complain about the app freezing, buffering or suddenly shutting down, while other users lament a pink pulsing circle in the centre of their screen and too many ads. “I want to throw my phone at the wall in frustration,” one angry viewer wrote. “Why is it so bad?!” vented another. 

Thankfully, this week the app has had a much needed zhuzh, with the addition of several new features that should go some way to placating annoyed viewers. In a press release announcing the news, Warner Bros. Discovery said the updated ThreeNow would offer audiences “an enhanced viewing experience, live-viewing of new streaming channels and streamlined access to the very best content from Aotearoa and around the world for free.”

The new look ThreeNow

What’s good?

The new ThreeNow has more of the basic features you’d expect in a streaming service. There’s a new menu where you can now search by category (either by genres like drama, comedy and news, or by channels like Bravo and Eden), which makes it easier to discover other shows you might like. At the end of each episode, you’ll now automatically be taken to the next one, and apparently the picture resolution has been boosted to “premium quality”, which is exactly how I like to watch the latest season of Sex Sent Me to the ER, thank you very much.  

The platform itself seems similar in layout and features to TVNZ+. I had to watch ads on my phone app but not on the ThreeNow website, but thanks to a partnership with, some shows (including Below Deck, Homebound 3.0 and Double Parked) will be streamed ad free. Users can also now create their own watchlist, which means you can save all the shows you’d like to watch one day but probably never will. 

In terms of other new features, Discovery is especially excited that viewers can now shift between live TV, video on demand and ThreeNow’s five new live-streaming channels, all in one place. Who doesn’t want to move seamlessly between Ghost Asylum, Say Yes to the Dress and Newshub Nation? 

These new channels are exclusive to ThreeNow, but they are niche: WBTV Paranormal, WBTV True Crime, WBTV House Hunters, WBTV Reality and WBTV 90 Day Fiance. They live-stream 24 hours a day, so viewers can enjoy a never ending stream of ghouls, grooms and gutters without having to endure the prolonged agony of choosing what to watch next. I went from Home Sweet Homicide to The Perfect Murder without blinking an eye, and Discovery says there are more channels to come in 2024. 

Having a lovely time on new channel WBTV House Hunters

All of these improvements mean it’s now easier to access and enjoy the variety of content on ThreeNow. Over the past few months, ThreeNow has been quietly adding some solid international dramas to its catalogue, like the excellent Northern Irish police drama Blue Lights, Australian series One Night and acclaimed drama Mystery Road. There’s also a strong selection of New Zealand-made comedies, dramas and documentaries on offer, from Far North to 7 Days to David Lomas Investigates. 

What’s not-so-good?

It would be great to see a “what’s new” category that showed the latest content added to the platform (although there is a “new episodes this week” option on the home page). The selection of movies isn’t great (only 21 in total, and most of them are Hallmark-type films), and breakfast show AM is still not part of ThreeNow’s on-demand offerings, which has always seemed a weird omission. 

The verdict

So far, the new ThreeNow is a big improvement on the old ThreeNow. It seems to have addressed many of the issues that made people reluctant to use it, and hopefully shows will no longer glitch or drop out. It feels like ThreeNow has caught up with every other streaming app in terms of features and usability, and while there’s still nothing flashy or transformative about the new ThreeNow, the vibe is much better. And for an app that we pay absolutely nothing to use, maybe we can’t ask for much more than that. 

ThreeNow is available on a variety of smart TVs and mobile devices, as well as Check out all the ways to watch ThreeNow here.

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