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Cable Technology Feature Article

February 04, 2013

HBO Go to Hit Apple TV in 2013

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

Apple (News - Alert) TV is one of an increasingly large number of devices out there that can make it possible for users to throw over their cable television in favor of streaming video and online alternatives. But its focus has been mainly on its own iTunes service, adding other sources of streaming video getting after the fact. One hole in the lineup that, according to two sources familiar with Apple's plans, is HBO Go, and that hole may be patched up by the middle of this year.

Right now, HBO Go is available to HBO subscribers, and once an HBO subscriber authenticates with a cable provider, that subscriber can get access to 1,700 different movies and television shows. This provides plenty of extra value for subscribers in terms of time shifting in the short term as well as substituting programs or movies subscribers would rather watch with what's currently showing. The addition of HBO Go will likely prove helpful to Apple as it fends off an increasingly large number of systems that can handle streaming, from the set-top boxes offered by Roku to the growing presence of gaming systems in the market to even televisions and Blu-ray players that offer the service.

The Apple set-top box, meanwhile, has fueled intense speculation that Apple is readying a full-sized, Apple-branded television release complete with unusual design schemes and powerful new control options. Some reports, however, suggest that Apple's efforts to bring out a full-sized television have been hamstrung at the content provider level, forcing Apple to go back to the drawing board as far as what it can actually do.

Some may find the HBO Go offering a little on the weak side in terms of value, especially given the need to already have HBO before being allowed to use HBO Go. There has been some speculation about HBO Go materializing as a separate service in the near future, complete with separate subscription rates, but those haven't fully materialized as yet. If those plans, currently on a test basis right now, fully realize, then Apple TV users will likely get plenty of value out of that approach. With Apple selling more than two million Apple TV boxes in the first fiscal quarter alone, it's a big audience that HBO would no doubt like to get in on, especially it goes with the separate service after all.

The ultimate value of HBO Go on Apple TV remains to be seen, but for those users who have both an Apple TV and a cable subscription with HBO involved, it will likely prove a welcome addition to the lineup.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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