HBO's New Cable-Free Streaming Service Is Live (But There's A Catch)

HBO's New Cable-Free Streaming Service Is Live (But There's A Catch)

HBO Logo 310x

$15 per month gets you Home Box Office, sans-cable tv.

HBO Now is live, and Home Box Office is finally available without a pesky cable TV subscription attached. The $15/month service has all the content from HBO that you're looking for -- Game of Thrones included -- from Bill Maher to Life with Louie.

...but there's a catch, for now.

In order to use HBO Now, you need to be an Apple user, or a Cablevision ISP subscriber. The latter likely means you have to live in New York City, New Jersey, or Connecticut, while the former isn't quite as location-specific. Cablevision aside, you're going to need Apple's hardware in order to buy the service.

The exclusivity window secured by Apple isn't eternal, of course. And for many of you (those with iPhones and iPads), you can immediately enjoy the app starting today. But for the Android and Windows users of the world (and the Roku owners, the Amazon Fire contingent, and console cowboys), the wait is not quite over. We're all stuck using our friend's or family's HBO Go logins, it seems.

The app is built by MLB Advanced Media, which was contracted by HBO after the premium cable outlet fired its CTO.

Source: HBO

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HBO seem like they are deathly allergic to money. They almost seem to be going out of their way to force people into alternate means of watching GoT.

Put GoT up on your site and let me buy it directly to stream it as it airs.

Alright HBO fair enough, apparently you just don't want my money.

Oh come on! Really?

When this first was mentioned months ago as a thing they were going to do with no details i honestly got excited as it would mean for once I would finally get to watch Game of Thrones as it aired. I really, really don't want to pirate it, I try doing such on the principal that between netflix, hulu, crunchyroll and funimation I have enough affordable content that I can watch legally. Throw in youtube and the mountain of content loading ready run produces and I have more entertainment than I have hours left alive to watch it.

I don't have any apple devices however out side of an ipod touch and I wouldn't pay that much to watch something in tiny vision. 15$ is around what i had expected to pay and I would have been glad to do so instead of having to wait 10 months for the dvd sets to come out while trying to avoid spoilers. HBO really doesn't understand how these kinds of things work now do they? I would have gladly payed the 15 while Got was palying and maybe I'd look and see what else they had and watch some of that and keep it for the whole year. which would have been $180 per customer. Now I'm seriously condiering pirating it, something i've never done before and if i'm thinking of it I'm sure others have already decided to do so. I really don't mind paying for things I love but it seems that HBO doesn't want my money.

I didn't know that old Louie Anderson cartoon was on HBO... (Perhaps the correct title would be Lucky Louie.)

Revolutionary:
Alright HBO fair enough, apparently you just don't want my money.

pretty much this.

fuck apple hardware and fuck that cablevision exclusivity.

HBO is clearly run by dark age jackasses.

Who wants to watch something as awesome as Game of Thrones on a phone or a tablet the night an episode airs? I know there is Apple TV how many people use that?

HBO knew that people wanted this and instead of giving it to everyone they decided to make an exclusive deal. Because of that I refuse to support them. I will wait a year for season 5 on blu-ray and buy it from an independent seller, not from HBO.

$15 a month... dude that's like as much as I pay for cable with HBO where I am...and Why Apple. do they not realize that Windows covers the greatest share of the desktop and laptop market while windows, and Android combined offer at leastequal the share of the tablet platform.

This is LoL. None of this sounds like anything positive.

I think I'll just wait for the DVD/Blu-Ray to come out next year again. I'm a patient man, I can hold out for a year.

So, can you watch it on itunes running on a Windows PC? (HBO's site tells me shit. Clicking on "How to Watch" just shows me a picture of a Macbook, a TV with an Apple TV in front, an iPhone and an iPad.) It's still in Apple's ecosystem (and cash flow), but doing that would open up the user base tremendously. I'm sure many GoT fans with a Win PC, no desire for anything else on cable/sat and no itunes account would be signing up for an Apple ID and possibly axing cable/sat right on the spot. It would be really stupid for HBO and Apple to not allow that, but it seems to be the case here. (Apple might even be trying to sell more Apple TVs.)

Looks like I can continue to save money with netflix and buying their shows on dvd.

You know I was thinking about getting this just yesterday, but now it turns out I can't because I'm not an Apple user. Guess I won't be seeing Game of Thrones anytime soon, and HBO won't be seeing my money - for the time being, at least. Maybe I can borrow somebody's Season 3 and 4 dvds.

I find it risible that all these people talk of cablefree or "cut the cable" when the alternative is to get the same content over broadband and your broadband provider is almost invariably, hold your breath, your cable provider!

ON apple devices this is region locked to hell... I'm almost positive that's gonna happen....

so it's just for apple devices and just for US territories :/ you really force my hand HBO, I'll have to see GoT for free online in crappy quality while waiting another darn year for the Blu-Ray :@ $15 dollars feels like a good deal I was willing to pay and not deal with the cable providers and their "high prices just to add HBO to my package" on my country

That $15 a month price is going to have to go down if they want to compete. Especially with Canada's CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) and Provincial equivalents telling the Telecom Oligarchy of Bell and Rogers they can't have streaming services require a cable subscription, we're seeing alternatives to Netflix that are pretty good.

shomi and Crave TV offer a hell of a lot. Crave offers the majority of HBO's catalogue for $4 a month. $15 a month seems really stupid.

I wonder how much Apple paid them

*sigh*.

Hey, HBO? This is not a question of how much money you can make as part of an over-priced cable subscription versus how much you can make through exclusivity details.

This is a question of whether you want to reward people for going the legitimate route for your content versus giving them excuses to justify their piracy of your content.

Every time you put an arbitrary wall between would-be legitimate viewers and your content- many of whom would like to pay you for the privelege of watching, if given the chance- a few more people get habituated to not paying for it, and a few more say "if that's the way you're going to be about it, I don't want anything to do with you". (And many of the latter, by "don't want anything to do with you", also mean "I'll go back to torrenting your shows.")

I'm not saying this to condone that thinking or those actions. But that is the reality, and I get the sense that many of us thought that your offering a purely digital service meant that you understood that reality.

Guess not.

Did no one in your marketing department suggest that the Venn Diagram of "people who habitually buy the latest Apple devices" and "people for whom premium cable is not a budget concern" probably has a fair amount of overlap already?

To the people saying that HBO apparently doesn't want your money - sure they do, they just want you to also give money to their good friends at Apple who gave HBO a big bag of cash to cement that friendship...

Lol oh well I guess HBO doesn't want my money bc I was all set to subscribe. They already have HBO apps on android and for the PS4 so there's really no reason they can't offer this service to everyone willing to pay...

Ugh, Apple User? Every friend I've got had the same response.

HBO without cable: "Yay!" Tell them about the requirements: "Oh, you have to be an Apple User? Guess I'll just count this as the Beta then and wait for the real release..."

Callate:
*sigh*.

Hey, HBO? This is not a question of how much money you can make as part of an over-priced cable subscription versus how much you can make through exclusivity details.

This is a question of whether you want to reward people for going the legitimate route for your content versus giving them excuses to justify their piracy of your content.

Every time you put an arbitrary wall between would-be legitimate viewers and your content- many of whom would like to pay you for the privelege of watching, if given the chance- a few more people get habituated to not paying for it, and a few more say "if that's the way you're going to be about it, I don't want anything to do with you". (And many of the latter, by "don't want anything to do with you", also mean "I'll go back to torrenting your shows.")

I'm not saying this to condone that thinking or those actions. But that is the reality, and I get the sense that many of us thought that your offering a purely digital service meant that you understood that reality.

Guess not.

Did no one in your marketing department suggest that the Venn Diagram of "people who habitually buy the latest Apple devices" and "people for whom premium cable is not a budget concern" probably has a fair amount of overlap already?

There's only two things I'm thinking of here:

1. Maybe they do mistakenly believe that opening up to the general internet means more piracy when you can already get everything they show via piracy so it's no different.

2. Maybe this is currently a loophole in their contract? Maybe with Apple having their own TV offerings this allows HBO to give them access without breaching some sort of contractual agreement that was otherwise designed to prevent this from happening.

In their FAQ HBO says nothing about how it's limited to apple products:

http://help.hbonow.com/app/answers/detailHBO/a_id/11/session/L3RpbWUvMTQyODUxNjk4Mi9zaWQvLVB5dU5tam0%3D

The app for mobile use seems to require an apple device. But if you want to stream GOT legally to your desktop, you don't need the app.

Are you sure your report is accurate?

Exterminas:
In their FAQ HBO says nothing about how it's limited to apple products:

http://help.hbonow.com/app/answers/detailHBO/a_id/11/session/L3RpbWUvMTQyODUxNjk4Mi9zaWQvLVB5dU5tam0%3D

The app for mobile use seems to require an apple device. But if you want to stream GOT legally to your desktop, you don't need the app.

Are you sure your report is accurate?

According to PC Magazine: (link}

For now, the only way to sign up for HBO NOW is via your iTunes account on an iOS device or Apple TV, or by adding it to your monthly Optimum Online broadband service from Cablevision.
Apple inked a deal with HBO for the first three months of HBO NOW, which it detailed at its recent Apple Watch event. To sign up, download the HBO NOW app on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple TV. Then, purchase a subscription, which will run you $14.99 per month after a 30-day introductory period.
Once you have HBO NOW log-in credentials, you can watch on your Apple device or via HBONOW.com on the PC or Mac.

So, yes, if you have an Apple device to sign up, you can apparently view HBO Now through a non-Apple PC browser... But you still need to have an Apple device to get those credentials in the first place.

Callate:
So, yes, if you have an Apple device to sign up, you can apparently view HBO Now through a non-Apple PC browser... But you still need to have an Apple device to get those credentials in the first place.

That is the stupidest thing I've ever heard.

Nintendo Executives are pointing and laughing at HBO right now saying, "Do you even know how the Internet works?"

You guys in America are always angry that you can only watch it if you have to go borrow someones Itunes credentials. We over in Europe can't buy this no matter what. And in the current internet age that is really stupid. I can download it the same day as you but in order to buy stuff on demand we have to wait six months at least.

Maarten Kluiters:
You guys in America are always angry that you can only watch it if you have to go borrow someones Itunes credentials.

Not iTunes. An apple account may refer to the TV service that Apple is offering. If it were just an iTunes account then that's free to set up.

I wonder if HBO just doesn't want to be responsible for distribution of media? Otherwise they could just create their own internet service. I hope my theory that HBO is able to offer this to Apple due to a loophole in the contract (since Apple is also a TV provider now) is incorrect. But that would be an easier explanation.

 

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