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HBO Finally Unveils Broadband Video Plan
'HBO Go,' only available to HBO subscribers via ISP partners...
by Karl Bode 12:55PM Wednesday Feb 17 2010
HBO hasn't exactly warmed to the broadband-driven Internet video revolution. Over the years they've been accused of poisoning copies of their TV shows available for download via BitTorrent, petitioned the FCC to make DVR recording of subscription video-on demand illegal, and even hinted at possibly suing Slingbox for allowing the re-transmission of their content. Of course these efforts do very little to evolve your business if you fail to offer consumers an alternative to piracy. That's where HBO has stumbled, failing to deliver a legitimate broadband solution.

Click for full size
They did announce a broadband delivery project in 2006, which as of January of 2008 only saw limited deployment as a trial run. We'd heard nothing about HBO's broadband plans until this week, when the carrier officially unveiled their new HBO Go website. According to HBO, the project is belatedly stumbling out of beta starting tomorrow, and should offer three to four times the content currently offered via HBO On Demand from any broadband-connected PC.

"This is HBO On Demand with the styling and the engine of a Ferrari," proclaimed HBO executive Eric Kessler at a press conference today. "As people get familiar with it, it will be as integral a part of the viewing experience as HBO On Demand is today," he insists.

Not so fast. As with so many broadcast industry efforts to battle piracy, HBO Go appears to fall short of the mark. For one, only users who already have a paid subscription to HBO service through a carrier will be able to access the content. And you'll only be able to access HBO Go if your cable TV provider has struck a deal with HBO to offer the service. According to the HBO Go website, so far only Comcast and Verizon have struck deals with Time Warner to offer the service.

While the media has already started pegging this as a Netflix streaming or Hulu "killer," it's a little hard to compare HBO Go to these initiatives when it's hidden behind a pay wall. Like the cable industry's TV Everywhere initiative, HBO Go is designed more out fear than out of evolution or ambition. These initiatives are designed to try and keep users subscribing to regular cable, not to give users who've already decided to cut the cord an alternative to piracy, Hulu, or Netflix streaming. That difference is substantial, but often missed.

HBO Go also appears to embrace a new controversial business plan. Like ESPN 360, Time Warner appears to have embraced a model where the nation's wealthiest ISPs get the service first. If your ISP doesn't carry the service, you're apparently supposed to beg your carrier to pony up and pay Time Warner. ISP content exclusivity deals raise a lot of questions that haven't yet been answered, have a tendency to be hard on small ISPs, and also assume that many people have a choice of multiple providers.

HBO Go officially launches tomorrow for Comcast and Verizon customers, and if you're able to give the service a try, drop us a line with your impressions or dump them into the comment section below.

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caco
Premium
join:2005-03-10
Whittier, AK

Sign in process

Fios users get sign on screen , Comcast users get directed to go to Fancast.

Any preference?

Youandme

@comcast.net

Big Fat Hairy......

DEAL!

JeepMatt
C'mon the U
Premium
join:2001-12-28
Wilmington, DE
kudos:2

Tried It

last evening - streamed a movie (17 Again) - PQ was very decent.

(This is over FIOS)
--
"ONE team - ONE city - ONE dream!!"

aztecnology
O Rly?
Premium
join:2003-02-12
Murrieta, CA

Re: Tried It

Sweet, I'll have to check this out...
Bob61571

join:2008-08-08
Washington, IL

For ..

Verizon FiOS and Comcast customers only, so far.
No other TV providers listed yet.

Just checked the HBO Go website.
glinc

join:2009-04-07
New York, NY

Signed up

Well, just went ahead and signed up since I have fios.

onyxmicro

join:2007-06-06
Roanoke, VA

1 recommendation

No Real Time with Bill Maher?

Meh...Pass....
Madtown
Premium
join:2008-04-26
Madera, CA
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: No Real Time with Bill Maher?

said by onyxmicro:

Meh...Pass....
You know what that's the only reason I haven't dropped HBO from my subscription, Real Time with Bill Maher, everything else I can get on Netflix for $8.99 per month.

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

2 edits

Plenty available if you subscribe to HBO on Comcast

It works well for me. You must have the "Comcast Access" DRM software running for it to work.

What is available from HBO on Comcast Fancast
200 movies plus the following series(multiple episodes):

TV Series
A
* A Family is a Family is a Family: A Rosie...
* A Little Curious
* Alice
* The Alzheimer's Project
* Autism: The Musical
B
* Band of Brothers
* Big Love
* Bill Maher... But I'm Not Wrong
* Bill Maher: Victory Begins at Home
* The Black List: Volume Three
* The Black List: Volume Two
* Blake Clark: "You're Right... I'm Sorry"
* Bored to Death
* The Boundary
* Boy Interrupted
* By the People: The Election of Barack Obama
C
* Chain of Command
* Consequence
* Crashbox
D
* D.L. Hughley: Going Home
* Dennis Miller: The Raw Feed
* Dirty Driving: Thundercars of Indiana
E
* Ellen DeGeneres: Here and Now
* Ellen DeGeneres: The Beginning
* Extras
F
* Finishing Heaven
G
* The Gates
* George Carlin: It's Bad For Ya
* Getting Over Him in 8 Songs or Less
* Ghost Trackers
H
* HBO Comedy Half-Hour
* HBO Comedy Half-Hour: Bobcat Goldthwait
* HBO Comedy Half-Hour: Jack Coen
* HBO Comedy Half-Hour: Janeane Garofalo
* HBO Comedy Half-Hour: Jeff Garlin
* HBO Comedy Half-Hour: Jeff Stilson
* HBO Comedy Half-Hour: Judy Gold
* HBO Comedy Half-Hour: Margaret Cho
* HBO Comedy Half-Hour: Warren Hutcherson
* HBO First Look
* Habla Mas in Chicago
* Habla Más
* Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales For Every...
* Harold and the Purple Crayon
* Heidi Fleiss: The Would-Be Madam of Crystal
* Hijos del Carnaval
* How to Make it in America
* Hung
I
* I Spy
* Into the Storm
L
* The Leopards Take Manhattan: The Little Band...
* Life Support
* The Life and Times of Tim
M
* Making Habla
* The Making Of: Coraline
* The Making Of: Fred Claus
* The Making Of: He's Just Not That Into You
* The Making Of: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
* The Making Of: Sex and the City (The Movie)
* The Making Of: The Golden Compass
* The Making Of: The Soloist
* The Making Of: Towelhead
* The Making Of: Tropic Thunder
* The Making Of: Watchmen
* The Making Of: Yes Man
* Mandrake
* The Music in Me: The Family Special
O
* Omen IV: the Awakening
* One-Night Stand
P
* Premature
R
* The Recruiter
* Richard Jeni: A Big Steaming Pile of Me
* Ring Life
* Robert Klein: The Amorous Busboy of Decatur...
S
* Sex and the City
* Someone Had to Be Benny
* The Sopranos
* Sweet Blackberry Presents Garrett's Gift
* Sweet Blackberry Presents: The Journey of...
T
* Temple Grandin
* Terror in Mumbai
U
* Uncle Killa
W
* We Stand Alone Together: The Men of Easy...
* The Wire

PGHammer

join:2003-06-09
Accokeek, MD

Re: Plenty available if you subscribe to HBO on Comcast

And as much as some folks hate DRM, Comcast Access is one of the least-intrusive DRM schemes out there.

First off, you can manage your authorized-PC list right from Comcast Access (or via Fancast, or even via the comcast.net portal).

Second, it's actually x64-friendly (I run Windows 7 Ultimate x64, and have no issues accessing pay-TV content from HBO or any other pay-TV service I subscribe to).

Lastly, it has a VERY low footprint (less than SecuROM, for example), and actually cleans up after itself (like a well-behaved DRM program should do; one of the reasons for the hostility is that very few DRM programs do clean up after themselves).

Postum Scriptum: While I'm an HBO subscriber, I don't have a STB in my bedroom, or at my computer. Therefore, *this* is how I get my HBO fix.

SLD
Premium
join:2002-04-17
San Francisco, CA
Entourage?

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: Plenty available if you subscribe to HBO on Comcast

said by SLD:

Entourage?
Not on list for full episodes; clips only. HBO isn't making ALL their content available on HBO Go
AVonGauss
Premium
join:2007-11-01
Boynton Beach, FL

1 recommendation

In other news...

In other news, HBO has finally formally announced they still don't get it.

fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2

I like Starz play's model better

Available on any provider and done through your netflix sub.

DaveDude
No Fear

join:1999-09-01
New Jersey
kudos:1

Re: I like Starz play's model better

HBO should do exact what starz did on netflix. The coming irrelevance of cable is happening sooner then most think..

Sterling
IP Support Tier III
Premium
join:2003-05-30
Pittsburgh, PA
HBO Go was already a part of the comcast fancast beta service as part of the xfinity project, infact you could say, they have encore, cinamax, shotime, tmc, starz go

axiomatic

join:2006-08-23
Tomball, TX

Sling?

"They've hinted at possibly suing Slingbox for allowing the re-transmission of their content."

Huh?!?! It's still the first transmission of the content, its the viewers location that has changed by using the Slingbox. That is a silly allegation from HBO regarding Slingbox.

Where is the law that states that you must be in the room with your DVR to watch HBO shows.

Now if they mean someone "loaning" access to their Slingbox to bypass "blackout" rules or something like that, well then its still not Slingbox the company you go after in court but actually the OWNER of that Slingbox.

Gbcue
Premium
join:2001-09-30
Santa Rosa, CA
kudos:8
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse

Online Only Subscription

HBO should have an online only subscription service where users can subscribe only to the content available online (which would include all their shows). That way, HBO gets to keep 100% of the money instead of giving any away to the evil cable companies.
--
My Blog 2.0

Jim Kirk
Premium
join:2005-12-09

HBO is too much $$$

If they had an HBO Originals channel where they only played their original series and charged maybe $1/month, I'd jump all over it. I couldn't give a sh!t about movies.

dvd536
as Mr. Pink as they come
Premium
join:2001-04-27
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:4

Re: HBO is too much $$$

said by Jim Kirk:

If they had an HBO Originals channel where they only played their original series and charged maybe $1/month, I'd jump all over it. I couldn't give a sh!t about movies.
Yeah. seeings how the movies are the same thing over and over and over.
--
When I gez aju zavateh na nalechoo more new yonooz tonigh molinigh - Ken Lee

mod_wastrel
iamwhatiam

join:2008-03-28
kudos:1

Really?

"...only available to HBO subscribers..."

Why would I even bother with this?

fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2

Re: Really?

said by mod_wastrel:

"...only available to HBO subscribers..."

Why would I even bother with this?
Because it's free to HBO subscribers. Kinda like HBO on demand with some providers.

mod_wastrel
iamwhatiam

join:2008-03-28
kudos:1

Re: Really?

Yeah, I understand that. I'm not currently an HBO subscriber. I might like to be, but only to get HBO and nothing else the cableco offers. I'm not going to get basic cable just so I can get HBO. I would actually like to have this service... if I could get it.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Re: Really?

said by mod_wastrel:

Yeah, I understand that. I'm not currently an HBO subscriber. I might like to be, but only to get HBO and nothing else the cableco offers. I'm not going to get basic cable just so I can get HBO. I would actually like to have this service... if I could get it.
Yep companies ike HBO somehow fail to see this a huge revenue booster that it can be. How can so many media companies be run by complete idiots?
rmckofke

join:2001-05-15
Staten Island, NY

I'll stick with Netflix

I'm nearing the end of a 3 month free promo and when it's over, so is HBO for me. It's WAY too much $$. For 2/3 less I get more on Netflix than HBO can ever offer me.
Madtown
Premium
join:2008-04-26
Madera, CA
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: I'll stick with Netflix

said by rmckofke:

I'm nearing the end of a 3 month free promo and when it's over, so is HBO for me. It's WAY too much $$. For 2/3 less I get more on Netflix than HBO can ever offer me.
I have Netflix too, and I'm not sure how much HBO is on Dish, but I do know that Netflix is cheaper than HBO.

45612019

join:2004-02-05
New York, NY

Does it offer...

DRM-free x264 encodes of HBO's content in 1080p?

Otherwise... I'll stick with piracy. Nice try HBO.

maartena
Elmo
Premium
join:2002-05-10
Orange, CA
kudos:1

Re: Does it offer...

said by 45612019:

DRM-free x264 encodes of HBO's content in 1080p?

Otherwise... I'll stick with piracy. Nice try HBO.
Not that I am applauding piracy, but this has been the problem of TV stations trying to offer online content.

The streams are often loaded with DRM, require the use of their software, don't always work with Mac or Linux, and the "anywhere" usually implies you can't go on vacation to Mexico and expect to watch a few shows from your hotel room's internet connection. Instead, "anywhere" means "anywhere on your providers network", not necesarily in the park on some public wifi connection.

And indeed, although my DVR has DRM built in.... at least I can watch programming in full HD on my 40" TV.

And when I BUY a movie or TV show, yes BUY, I would like to be able to use that TV show anywhere in my household, and on any device. That means I should be able to view it on my iPod, AND on copied disk in the back of my car, AND from a USB stick on my laptop.
--
"I reject your reality and substitute my own!"

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Re: Does it offer...

said by maartena:

And when I BUY a movie or TV show, yes BUY, I would like to be able to use that TV show anywhere in my household, and on any device. That means I should be able to view it on my iPod, AND on copied disk in the back of my car, AND from a USB stick on my laptop.
Yes but what they are afraid of is that you'll also make copies for all your friends and family. And many do and hence the problem.

dvd536
as Mr. Pink as they come
Premium
join:2001-04-27
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:4
said by 45612019:

DRM-free x264 encodes of HBO's content in 1080p?
NOBODY gets it. every for profit venture always centers around low bitrate DRM infested crap. the pirates have it right, excellent quality with no DRM.
--
When I gez aju zavateh na nalechoo more new yonooz tonigh molinigh - Ken Lee

BBBanditRuR
Dingbits

join:2009-06-02
Parachute, CO

Hulu/Netflix Killer?

Ha!

HBO Go is No Go, Ho Ho, HBO's a no show, gotta pay a cabelco.

Row Row your pirate ship yo.

Michael C

join:2009-06-26
Cedar Park, TX

No need for Net Neutrality? Really?

ISPs have been whining all this time that Net Neutrality is a "solution in search of a problem". Well thanks to these exclusivity deals, I think the ISPs will be making a great case for why we need Net Neutrality rules.
SuperWISP

join:2007-04-17
Laramie, WY

Re: No need for Net Neutrality? Really?

What this shows, actually, is that "net neutrality" rules -- which purported to protect consumers against abuses by ISPs -- were not necessary and never will be. It's content that is king, and it's content providers who are abusing their market power.
JSM88

join:2000-12-20
Falls Church, VA

Important point on net neutrality here

We really can't say much about a content provider signing an exclusive deal with an ISP - that is NOT a violation of net neutrality, no matter how wrong it may seem. Content providers are free to sell their goods to whomever they chose, and not sell as the case may be - witness the NFL and DirectTV BUT - and this is the big BUT - if an ISP offers this service, and exempts the bandwidth used from caps, or charges a difference price for the bandwidth, that is a fundamental, anti-competitive violation of net neutrality and should be dealt with in the harshest manner possible. By privileging some methods of content delivery over others the ISP's will be closing out the market in ways that content providers (Netflix vs. HBO) could never do to each other.

The funny thing is that the ISP's, in their fights with the FCC over jurisdiction, are missing the far broader area of anti-trust law that will eventually doom any effort to tie content to delivery. The settled law that allowed the government to prevent movie studios from owning movie theaters is directly applicable to this situation, and can be applied by the courts without any legislative or executive action should a case arise.

swintec
Premium,VIP
join:2003-12-19
Alfred, ME
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·VoicePulse
·Sprint Mobile Br..
·RapidVPS

Roku..

make this service available on the Roku streaming set top box, and allow me to purchase just the online service from HBO and then I will be interested...Until then, no thanks.
--
Block Accounts | UseNet Now
TheMG
Premium
join:2007-09-04
Canada
kudos:2
Reviews:
·NorthWest Tel

1 edit

FAIL

"For one, only users who already have a paid subscription to HBO service through a carrier will be able to access the content. And you'll only be able to access HBO Go if your cable TV provider has struck a deal with HBO to offer the service."

COMPLETE FAIL!!!

What do they gave against giving anyone access to the content?

Seriously, it's not that hard. All they have to do is allow people to subscribe to view their online content, either for a monthly fee, or per-use basis. Simple. Why does it have to be limited to specific ISPs?

It goes against what the internet is all about.
mrschwarz

join:2001-12-01
Flower Mound, TX

Re: FAIL

I have FIOS internet and Dish Network TV. I pay as much for HBO as anyone else, but apparently I am second class when it comes to this.

I guess this is the soon to be another failed attempt to try to define what people want, instead of just giving them what they really want.

Selenia
I love Debian
Premium
join:2006-09-22
Fort Smith, AR
kudos:2

Epic Fail

HBO is owned by Time Warner. My provider is Time Warner Cable. While I know that TWC is different from the entertainment division, it is still ironic that Comcast and FIOS users can use this, but TWC subscribers can't. Someone asleep at the wheel?
--
deltree /y C:\*.*