Posted: June 6th, 2012 | Author: Patrick Thornton | Filed under: Notes | Tags: HBO, HBO Go | No Comments »
HBO confirms that they don’t have plans, for the time being, on allowing people to purchase HBO without a cable subscription:
“Take My Money, HBO!” is a very simple Web page that was started this week by Jake Caputo, a Web designer who wants to be able to subscribe to HBO via the Internet. The page asks: “How much would you pay monthly for a standalone HBO GO streaming service? Enter a number and Tweet it to let HBO know we want it and we will pay.” The page quickly gained attention from others like Mr. Caputo who want to subscribe to HBO without having to subscribe to a cable or satellite provider like Comcast or DirecTV.
Of course, HBO’s message included the words “for now” — a reminder that as the economics of television change, so too could HBO’s calculations about its relationships.
This will change in time. Will it be a year? Five years? 10 years? I don’t know, but the market will break HBO. The people will break HBO.
The future is in streaming and mobile, two things HBO does terrible or not at all. HBO can’t keep delivering a product that doesn’t work for people without cable and doesn’t work for mobile users.
In the short term, I’d settle for HBO making its mobile product better.
In the meantime, HBO will continue to lead in piracy and people will continue to share HBO Go accounts and do group viewings. Make no mistake, people are watching HBO content. It’s HBO’s choice on how many people they want to actually pay for it.
Posted: May 22nd, 2012 | Author: Patrick Thornton | Filed under: Podcasts | Tags: American Community Survey, government warnings, HBO Go, iPad, streaming video, Wifi | No Comments »
This actually happened. And it happened several times while trying to watch one episode on HBO Go.
We discuss the usability issues with HBO’s app HBO Go.
Besides the problem with using it on the go, it’s a pretty good app. Make of that what you will.
We also discuss our iPad setups for work, and how we use the iPad to get stuff done.
We then discuss how we’re all lucky be subjected to a second unskippable government warning before movies we buy. Double your pleasure.
And then we discuss how the American Community Survey is in jeopardy. It’s kind of a BFD.
Listen to this week’s show:
Download the MP3
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.