Feb 2010 17

In an effort to hang onto subscribers HBO has launched GO a new video streaming site offering content from the HBO and Cinemax channels.  The service will be free for all 38 million existing subscribers.

HBO Go offers all the same content that you would see on HBO including full series, movies, and specials which have premiered on the network. I went to the site and saw that I can watch the full series of The Wire for free! It is very similar to what you might find in the OnDemand service of your provider, but with a lot more selection. The site itself is set up very similarly to the video streaming giant, Hulu.  The service is being offered as an alternative to pay services like Netflix and Blockbuster Online in a declining econmy where people are reducing their entertainment costs.

HBO Go will have a few pluses over rival Netflix. Since HBO pays huge fees to get early access to films, HBO Go users will be able to stream many films before they appear on Netflix’s streaming service. Although, Go still won’t offer disc rental like Netflix, and Netflix will have a much wider catalog over all.

Despite all news sources saying that this is Time Warner’s, the parent company of HBO, way of dealing with Netflix. This looks more like a Hulu competitor to me. Netflix is a huge brand whose profits are steadily rising, and a lot of that is due to its wide spread video streaming services which are on TVs, Blu-Ray players, Xbox 360s, and PS3s. I’ll hold my breath and wait and see if this gamble pays off for the pay TV network.

Note: The service is not available in all areas yet.  The service is still in Beta testing. So far it appears only Comcast and Verizon FIOS subscribers are the people who can sign up for the service. Which means the St. Louis area is currently without access to the new site.

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