August 04, 2011, 7:36 AM — We're relatively new to HBO at my house. We subscribed in order to watch the TV adaptation of G.R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones and then stuck around for the current season of True Blood. Once that gets over there won't be a lot to keep us around until new seasons of the two shows start up again next spring. We're not a big movie-watching family and we're hopelessly behind on HBO's other original series.
When we first heard about HBO Go we thought it would solve all our problems. The HBO Go service lets us watch all kinds of older (and current) HBO content via a web browser or the iPhone, iPad or (a few) Android devices. In theory there's a lot of value in the service, but in practice we're just not all that motivated to huddle around a computer monitor or the iPad to watch content longer than, say, a 5 minute YouTube video.
So I was back to planning on canceling once Sookie was done fraternizing with vampires, witches and other 'supes.' But now there's hope! According to GigaOm, who sat in on an HBO earnings call Wednesday morning, the company is planning to bring HBO Go to game consoles and connected TVs. The announcement was very light on specifics; Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes didn't say which devices, nor did he give a time line more specific than 'soon.'
I'm willing to speculate on the game consoles, at least. Unless Microsoft shells out a bag o' cash for an exclusivity deal, I'd expect HBO Go to hit the Sony Playstation 3 first, then the Xbox 360 in the spring update. I base this mostly on Sony's less structured release schedule and more open policies. Also the PS3 is backed up, so to speak, by Sony's connected televisions and Blu-ray players; presumably HBO would roll out the service across the entire line at once.
Bewkes mentioned that the HBO Go app has been downloaded 44 million times already, though he didn't mention any numbers relating to how many pieces of content have been streamed.
Nor was there any mention of offering an HBO Go-only subscription for folks who don't have cable service or have it through a provider that for some reason doesn't offer HBO Go. I can't help but think the company is leaving money on the table by not opening up the service to cord-cutters, but I suppose they know their business better than I do. (Perhaps they're worried about cannibalizing DVD sales?)
When HBO Go hits my game consoles, I'm going back to watch Deadwood and Rome. How about you?
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