Photo (cc) by Idhren
HBO’s long-awaited stand-alone streaming service, dubbed HBO Now, will be available to consumers next month. But before you get too excited about catching the April 12 season premiere of “Game of Thrones” on the new service, be prepared: you’ll need to have an Apple device to watch it.
The first month of HBO Now will be free, Apple said. After that it will cost $14.99 a month on a month-to-month basis — no long-term contract or commitment required.
“With HBO Now, you get instant access to every episode of every season of HBO’s award-winning original shows and Hollywood blockbusters,” Apple explained.
According to Engadget, Apple has a three-month exclusive contract with HBO to serve as the digital provider of HBO Now.
“So it will be at least that long until someone like Google, Amazon or even HBO itself could sell access,” Engadget noted.
HBO is expected to open up to additional platforms including PCs after the exclusive contract with Apple is complete, and function similar to the way that Amazon and Netflix operate, Barbara Kraus of Parks Associates told Engadget.
HBO first announced plans to launch a stand-alone streaming service in October.
Rich Greenfield, a media analyst with BTIG Research told The New York Times:
“This is a wake-up call to the industry. HBO is taking its future into its own hands.”
I was giddy when HBO announced that it would be offering a stand-alone service, because I have grand visions of cutting my cable, and HBO is the primary reason I still have cable.
But I don’t want to watch HBO Now shows on my iPad or iPhone, and I don’t have an Apple TV, so I’ll likely hold off on cutting my cable until the service is made available on a different platform.
What do you think of HBO’s exclusive contract with Apple for the first three months of its HBO Now service? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.