HBO Chief Exec Discusses Possibility of Broadband-Only Play

HBO’s new chief executive Richard Plepler alluded to the fact that a standalone HBO broadband option could potentially exist somewhere down the road. “We recognize that there’s a piece of the audience out there that, if they could get HBO without going through a pay package, we would get it,” he noted, adding that he is hesitant to alienate HBO’s distributors by taking the channel directly to consumers online right now. Continue reading HBO Chief Exec Discusses Possibility of Broadband-Only Play

Game Consoles May be Aging, but PlayStation, Wii, Xbox Still Selling Strong

  • Despite analyst speculation that video game consoles may be in jeopardy due to the increased capabilities and growing popularity of smartphones and tablets, “Microsoft’s Xbox and Nintendo’s Wii sold in record numbers last week as Americans kicked off their holiday shopping,” reports AllThingsD.
  • Some 960,000 Xbox 360s were sold last week and 500,000 Wiis were sold the day after Thanksgiving. Game consoles are still experiencing strong sales five and six years after they were introduced.
  • “It’s difficult to imagine any other consumer hardware that could attract that kind of demand after such a long period of time,” suggests the article.
  • Blockbuster game titles like Activision’s “Call of Duty” game, which grossed $775 million in its first five days, continue to juice the market.
  • Motion-controls such as Wii and Microsoft’s Kinect open up the market beyond gamers to a family market.
  • And, as previously reported on ETCentric, game consoles are becoming entertainment centers for streaming video, music and other media content through partnerships with providers such as Netflix, Hulu, ESPN, HBO GO and others.

Next for HBO GO Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, Blu-ray Players

  • Time Warner launched the HBO GO platform earlier this year, with Android and iPhone apps that stream HBO content to mobile devices.
  • TG Daily reports that HBO GO may soon be “getting optimized” for TVs, with the platform becoming available on the PS3, Xbox 360, and other Internet-ready devices.
  • “It may seem like a pointless feature, because if you’re watching your TV, you could just tune into your cable box and watch HBO On Demand from there,” explains TG Daily. “But this way, you’d be able to take your HBO subscription to a friend’s house, or watch content on the app that may not be available on the current HBO On Demand library.”
  • In addition to regular programming content, HBO GO provides exclusive content (such as behind-the-scenes clips) and an intuitive video search interface featuring customizable lists.

HBO GO to Provide Streaming Content to iOS and Android Devices

HBO announced that its streaming service HBO GO will soon offer more than 1,400 titles for streaming via iPads, laptops and smartphones. According to the press release: “HBO subscribers can instantly watch every episode of classics like The Sopranos, Sex and the City and Deadwood and current award-winning series like Boardwalk Empire, Entourage and True Blood as well as blockbuster theatricals – where they want, when they want.”

HBO made its announcement with a YouTube video posted last week. The service will be available for iOS and Android devices.

The HBO promotional video suggests May 2nd as a launch date. The press release specifies that HBO GO will be available to HBO subscribers through Comcast XFINITY TV, Verizon FiOS, Cox Advanced TV and AT&T U-Verse customers. Surprisingly, Time Warner Cable is not currently included in the list of providers (HBO is owned by Time Warner).

HBO was in the news earlier in the year after senior vice president of corporate affairs, Jeff Cusson told The Hollywood Reporter that HBO “has no intention of making its content available for streaming on Netflix,” adding that the company “believes in content exclusivity, especially for high-value content.” It looks like the new capabilities of HBO GO support that strategy.

Related CNET story: “HBO Go teased for iPad, iPhone, Android” (4/19/11)

Related Gizmodo post: “HBO Go Will Bring Every Episode of All Their Shows to iOS and Android” (4/19/11)

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