Posted: May 21st, 2012 | Author: Patrick Thornton | Filed under: Notes | Tags: Game of Thrones, HBO | No Comments »
Forbes reports that HBO’s Game of Thrones is on track to be the most pirated show of 2012:
While “Game of Thrones”‘ filesharing rates are probably driven in part by its appeal to the young, geeky male demographic that’s most prone to using torrent sites, HBO hasn’t helped the problem by making the show tough to watch online for the young and cable-less. The show isn’t available through Hulu or Netflix, iTunes offers only Season 1, and using HBO’s own streaming site HBO Go requires a cable subscription. (The situation was captured in thewidely read comic strip The Oatmeal, in which the author attempts the rage-inducing process of trying to watch “Game of Thrones” online before giving up and downloading it from a sleazy porn-ad covered torrent site.)
A frame from the comic strip The Oatmeal, which pointed out how HBO drives ‘Game of Thrones’ viewers to piracy by making the show tough to watch online.
“This is absolutely a reaction to the show’s not being available elsewhere online,” says Big Champagne’s Robinson. “It’s a very tricky game trying to create this kind of scarcity.”
I’ve written several times about the mistakes that HBO is making in the Internet Age. Perhaps most damning is the fact that HBO’s products and services don’t even work well for paying customers.
Erik Kain says HBO only has themselves to blame:
This underscores the larger problem with how so many companies in the entertainment industry think about piracy. Instead of thinking about the ways lack of access to media creates opportunity for piracy, and how increasing the access to products could help stave off illegal downloads, too often people want to take legal measures or implement digital protection on their products. These “fixes” always have easy work-arounds.
Meanwhile, the millions of pirated Game of Thrones episodes show that it’s not difficult at all for non-subscribers to enjoy the show. I’m willing to bet that a stand-alone HBO GO service would largely fix this problem, though nothing will stop piracy altogether.
Game of Thrones in particular appeals to young people — people more prone to be cord cutters. They’ll pay for a standalone HBO product, but aren’t going to get cable just for one network or show.
Posted: May 14th, 2012 | Author: Patrick Thornton | Filed under: Notes | Tags: Game of Thrones, HBO Go, offline caching | 2 Comments »
This is an actual screenshot from my iPad. I usually don’t write actually, but I thought I’d clarify that this did in fact happen.
This is why HBO Go needs offline caching.
The only way I could watch the latest episodes of Game of Thrones in any respectable manner while I’m traveling is to pirate the episodes and watch them when they are done downloading. Watching Game of Thrones on hotel wifi over the HBO Go app was a bit like watching late 1990s Web video. It was blocky, pixelated and prone to stopping randomly.
The best is when HBO Go drops down to an audio-only stream. Yes, instead of providing offline caching or selling digital episodes via iTunes or Amazon during the season, HBO believes showing a blank screen with audio is a good solution.
This actually happened. And it happened several times while trying to watch one episode.
HBO Go is not a to go app.
Posted: May 10th, 2012 | Author: Patrick Thornton | Filed under: Main | Tags: cable, Game of Thrones, HBO Go, piracy | 9 Comments »
The problem with HBO Go is that the name is really misleading.
In what world is HBO Go a to-go app and service for viewing TV shows? Not in this world, that’s for sure.
There will be no HBO episodes on a plane, train or automobile, because you cannot cache episodes on HBO Go for when you don’t have an Internet connection. I’m traveling this week for seven days to Pittsburgh, and it looks like I won’t be able to catch upon Game of Thrones while I’m traveling. It would seem to me that one of the main reasons for HBO Go would be to allow viewers to catch up on TV shows.
The hotel wifi will almost certainly not be good enough for me to stream episodes. It’s not just that HBO Go requires an Internet connection, it needs a good one, especially if you like viewing your video at anything above 1995-online video quality. So, I have to ask, how is HBO Go, a to-go app and service?
I cannot watch episodes on the go with it. I cannot at all. The only thing HBO Go is good for is watching episodes in my own home when I’m away from my own TV. Or if I were to visit a relative or a friend with a fast Internet connection and wanted to watch TV by myself (it’s HBO Go, not HBO social).
Can someone explain why HBO Go doesn’t support caching of episodes?
This issue doesn’t get to the biggest issue with HBO Go; the service requires a cable TV subscription, tethering users to TVs, cable and old ways of thinking about video. I’d love to use HBO Go as a standalone service for $10-20 a month for the pleasure of watching HBO shows without needing cable. I’d be able to watch shows on my TV via a Internet-connected setup box such as the XBOX 360, Apple TV, Boxee box or one of the many other ones. And, in this post-cable world, I’d love to be able to watch my favorite shows on the go.
But, let’s get back to the first major issue with HBO Go: it requires a strong Internet connection. In HBO’s world, a world that wants to protect traditional cable viewing at all costs, how could someone possibly want to watch an HBO show on an airplane?
Crazy right? And why would anyone want to watch an episode of Game of Thrones on a plane via an app called HBO Go? I can’t imagine why Game of Thrones is one of the most pirated shows.
HBO is one of those companies that complains bitterly that people pirate their content, but doesn’t try to provide legal content in ways that people want to use it. The only way to do mobile viewing of an HBO show is to wait for up to a year after the season airs and purchase it on iTunes, Amazon.com or another digital service. Then you can load it onto a mobile device and view it. Very user friendly and modern. Who wouldn’t want to be a year behind on a TV show, all because they wanted to be able to watch TV on a mobile device.
That’s the only legal way. In 2012. I may not have an MBA, but I’m pretty sure that making it easy for people to buy your content is a good way to get them to actually buy it.
As it stands, HBO Go is a good way to watch HBO on an iPad or a laptop on a couch, but nothing more (I don’t understand the concept of putting HBO Go on set-top boxes, since the only way to get HBO Go service is to have cable in the first place, and cable boxes are in fact set-top boxes). This is not a to go service, but I hope that eventually HBO adds both the ability to download shows for offline viewing (or viewing when wifi speeds aren’t fast enough) and the ability to subscribe to just HBO — not the rest of the trash on cable.
Since I don’t have a cable subscription, this whole post is purely academic, of course.
Posted: January 25th, 2012 | Author: Patrick Thornton | Filed under: Podcasts | Tags: Apple TV, Game of Thrones, iBooks, iBooks Author, iTV, Kindle, streaming movies, Washington Post | No Comments »
We follow-up last weeks’s show about iBooks and iBooks Author with some discussion of the infamous iBooks Author EULA.
We then get into whether or not the Washington Post is innovating too much. A common question of newspapers.
We also discuss the mythical iTV and the whole movie rights mess that may be holding it back. I preordered Game of Thrones to stream to my Apple TV, which demonstrates what we could have one day. I now own every episode of the first season in HD and can stream it whenever I feel like it or put it on my mobile devices.
We also talk some other random topics that come up, like how I was pleasantly surprised to see a book I preordered for the Kindle show up just after midnight on the launch day.
Listen to this week’s show:
Download the MP3