HBO Go streaming video app close to 3 million downloads

Many have been wondering if the massive growth in Netflix's streaming video business will take away from the audience that watches broadcast and cable TV shows. Well, premium pay cable network HBO is doing something about that and so far it seems to be successful. It launched its HBO Go streaming video app for iPhone, iPad and Android based phones and it generated one million downloads in its first week.

Now News.com is reporting that HBO should break the 3 million download barrier for the app this weekend. Tonight sees the premiere of the fourth season of its popular vampire themed drama True Blood. HBO is doing something unusual by offering HBO Go users a way to see the full second episode of the season via the app right after the first episode airs on HBO's cable network.

HBO Go lets users stream not just its current catalog of movies but also all of its acclaimed TV shows with all seasons and episodes intact. The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Wire and many more are all available to be accessed via the app or by going to the HBO Go web site if you have a PC. None of those shows are available for streaming on Netflix. The good news is that if you subscribe to HBO on your cable TV system you can access all of this for no extra cost. The bad news? Your cable company must cut a deal with HBO in order for you to access HBO Go's services. Large cable TV providers like Time Warner Cable currently don't give their providers access to the streaming video service.

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17 Comments

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Enron said,
Is this HBO Go thing in HD?

i couldn't find a specific answer to that question, but judging by the video quality i'm seeing, it looks like a heavily compressed 720p. it uses silverlight's dynamic-stream-quality-auto-adjustment-thingy, and it DOES get pretty clear on a full HD 23" monitor.

GetUsed2It said,
silverlight's dynamic-stream-quality-auto-adjustment-thingy.

Silverlight Smooth Streaming.

Takes a good IIS host with a fat pipe to make it work well.
For instance, my local ISP was pushing 6Gb/s on a dozen servers during the winter olympics for 14 days straight with the smooth streaming content.

KingCrimson said,
What's the use of this? You have to have a TV subscription already. Talk about soaking the customer.

It's HBO's version of Hulu. You get to watch all their old shows as well and its free. Assuming you aren't stuck with a provider like TimeWarner like I am. You can also watch stuff on mobile devices for HBO now through this.

The fact that they are allowing people to see the new episode one week early is not a new thing, they did it for GoT episode 7 or 8 i think. I think there are a few good shows on HBO and that has to do with the number of subscribers.

Also there's an error in the article. In the last phrase, the second time you wrote providers i think you meant customers.

Why even compare it to netflix? HBO Go still requires cable subscription and therefor is completely ignorant to the market dynamics that are allowing Netflix to grow like wildfire. I'm sure if i paid for the ripoff of HBO+Cable i would download away to try and get my monies worth, but as a whole, i don't think there is value add when it requires a ripoff service to begin with.

spudtrooper said,
Why even compare it to netflix? HBO Go still requires cable subscription and therefor is completely ignorant to the market dynamics that are allowing Netflix to grow like wildfire. I'm sure if i paid for the ripoff of HBO+Cable i would download away to try and get my monies worth, but as a whole, i don't think there is value add when it requires a ripoff service to begin with.

You know you pay for Netflix too right? And the basic price is the same as an HBO subscription?

SpecialK. said,

You know you pay for Netflix too right? And the basic price is the same as an HBO subscription?

You can't buy an HBO subscription by itself. You usually have to buy some premium cable package at least $70/month to get HBO. Whereas with Netflix you can get streaming-only for $9.95/month. You are not understanding the market dynamics that are causing Netflix to skyrocket in user base.

KingCrimson said,

You can't buy an HBO subscription by itself. You usually have to buy some premium cable package at least $70/month to get HBO. Whereas with Netflix you can get streaming-only for $9.95/month. You are not understanding the market dynamics that are causing Netflix to skyrocket in user base.

Netflix is a solely a rental/streaming service. HBO is a production company, operates several different television stations in over 100 countries, and is owned and operated by Time Warner at the end of the day. While Netflix is an independent company with only shareholders to support with it's actions. HBO has an upper echelon to approve any and all decisions made by the company and many more shareholders after that. HBO is slowly building it's services while Netflix has reached it's potential unless it can further convince other production companies to strike a deal with them and release their movies for instant streaming, especially with the introduction of bandwidth caps in America, Netflix potential growth has stagnated in the past year.

Netflix has reached a glass ceiling until it branches out as they have already confirmed themselves when they approached Time Warner Cable in March of this year trying to bring themselves more along the lines of a direct competitor with HBO, as well as wanting to expand internationally into Spain by the end of next year.

And while I'm not saying HBO is any different, HBO's growth fluctuates based on services rendered, while subscriptions go up during times that it's original programming is on, like say True Blood, Game of Thrones, The Pacific, or Band of Brothers, it declines in periods where there is no original content being broadcast. HBO has found a dedicated niche of subscribers, and it has floods of new subscribers that came in to view or purchase original content.

At the end of the day, you are comparing two very different beasts with similar because they are starting to act like one another.

SpecialK. said,

At the end of the day, you are comparing two very different beasts with similar because they are starting to act like one another.

Which is why i asked they compared the two. Its obvious they're completely different. HBO is tiered off cable. If HBO needs to be tiered to protect its revenue why not reach an agreement to tier off Netflix? I'd pay another few bucks a month to subscribe to HBO content on netflix if it was their premium content and didn't force me to watch it on DVD for the missing episodes or other bull crap.

HBO is "old media" as long as it attaches to a cable service. It will be forever doomed to Netflix or netflix type players unless they join that market.

both HBO and Netflix license content so they both have costs. Netflix will be paying as much as $200 mil a year for content. HBO however In actuality probably produces very little content in house -- I haven't delved into it but I suspect that they are very much like the Discovery Channel which has nothing but a sales office and what you see aired as original content is produced by third parties, edited at production companies and delivered to them on tapes for playback.

Now, in order for me to get HBO on Comcast I must first subscribe to a minimum of a 'Digital Starter' package:
$56.95/month before 13% tax,
a minimum of $8.95/month for 1 cable box plus 6% sales tax
and then $15.99/month for HBO plus tax.
Additional cable box is $8.95+outlet fee+tax

So in order to get to HBO I have to pay approximately $91.9092 per month or $1,102.9104 per year

Contrast that with Netflix which for $99/yr will get you a streaming account with 4 simultaneous streams so you can watch on an Xbox, Tivo, Roku and whatever else and if I want newest movies it's a few bucks more to get DVDs shipped.

I'm not sure where you're getting that HBO is growing, they've been hemorrhaging viewers for a long time and growth has been stagnant to say the least. In 2009 they grew by 100,000 and mostly because of a Dish Network promotion. In 2010 they lost 1,600,000 subscribers which according to analyst reports online took them to 2005 subscriber levels when they had 28,000,000 subscribers. Starz and Showtime grew in 2010 by about 1.3mil subs each.

mmjm said,

Now, in order for me to get HBO on Comcast I must first subscribe to a minimum of a 'Digital Starter' package:
$56.95/month before 13% tax,
a minimum of $8.95/month for 1 cable box plus 6% sales tax
and then $15.99/month for HBO plus tax.
Additional cable box is $8.95+outlet fee+tax

So in order to get to HBO I have to pay approximately $91.9092 per month or $1,102.9104 per year.

wow! insane prices. just as a comparison (in Serbia):

$10/month basic cable subscription
$10/month HD DVR set top box
$5/month HBO PREMIUM package (hbo, hbo comedy, cinemax, hbo HD, hbo OD,HBO GO)
======
same content, huge price differences.. interesting.

SpecialK. said,

You know you pay for Netflix too right? And the basic price is the same as an HBO subscription?

In the U.S., (Verizon FiOS, Time Warner Cable, Cable Vision, DirecTV, Dish Network) Netflix is $7.99 and HBO is around $12.99.

However, Torrents are free

UndergroundWire said,
However, Torrents are free

I pay for the subscriptions, but actually watch content from torrents.

Best DVR ever, even wipes commercials on major network shows!!!

mmjm said,

both HBO and Netflix license content so they both have costs. Netflix will be paying as much as $200 mil a year for content. HBO however In actuality probably produces very little content in house -- I haven't delved into it but I suspect that they are very much like the Discovery Channel which has nothing but a sales office and what you see aired as original content is produced by third parties, edited at production companies and delivered to them on tapes for playback.

Now, in order for me to get HBO on Comcast I must first subscribe to a minimum of a 'Digital Starter' package:
$56.95/month before 13% tax,
a minimum of $8.95/month for 1 cable box plus 6% sales tax
and then $15.99/month for HBO plus tax.
Additional cable box is $8.95+outlet fee+tax

So in order to get to HBO I have to pay approximately $91.9092 per month or $1,102.9104 per year

Contrast that with Netflix which for $99/yr will get you a streaming account with 4 simultaneous streams so you can watch on an Xbox, Tivo, Roku and whatever else and if I want newest movies it's a few bucks more to get DVDs shipped.

You didn't include internet service in your comparison. Since you don't have cable, but likely have service with them that's $50-60 there, and a $8 modem rental if you didn't purchase it. Still a savings yes, but not as big as you are trying to represent.