HBO Go likely to pave the way for more TV on your iPad or iPhone

Apr 22, 2011
Tech

Soon iPhone, iPad and Android device users will be able to watch HBO shows and movies, and that’s pretty good: “Pret-ty… pret-ty… pretty good,” as Larry David might say in Curb Your Enthusiasm, one of HBO’s television series. HBO Go, the cable television network’s portal to accessing content online, was first made available to Verizon […]

Soon iPhone, iPad and Android device users will be able to watch HBO shows and movies, and that’s pretty good: “Pret-ty… pret-ty… pretty good,” as Larry David might say in Curb Your Enthusiasm, one of HBO’s television series.

HBO Go, the cable television network’s portal to accessing content online, was first made available to Verizon FiOS consumers last year, and will be available to HBO subscribers with iPhones, iPads and Android devices May 2.

The HBO Go app is the latest example of the ongoing migration of television programming to mobile devices. The app, with its recently expanded library of programs, is one of many approaches to offering television content on the go.

Television networks, cable companies and television stations have all launched apps, and each one is a little different.

The public television network ABC recently launched the ABC Video Bookstore app, which appears to combine content from multiple stations as well as other sources, and turns them into longer stories.

At the same time, a quick survey of the iTunes App Store revealed more than 30 apps with the ABC logo representing local stations are available for download.

Meanwhile, Hulu, owned by NBC, News Corp/Fox and Disney/ABC, is the second most popular online video site after YouTube. When Comcast and NBC Universal merged earlier this year, some experts predicted a change in Hulu’s offerings.

Comcast, a cable company, supports TV Everywhere, which requires users to prove they have cable subscriptions in order to access content online, much like HBO Go.

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But television networks also want to control how programming is made available online. Since the merger of Comcast and NBC Universal solidified powers of a cable company and television network, some said more content on Hulu would be put behind a pay wall. Hulu Plus, the company’s mobile offering, does that to some extent today.

Cable companies and television networks pay large sums of money for programming, and we’re seeing the jockeying for control of that content in this new medium. Technological advances which allow TV programming to be made available on mobile devices has intensified the struggle for control, because now its playing out on computer monitors and touchscreens.

I expect more agreements, and possibly mergers, between cable companies and television networks as they seek to control programming and increase profits. What exactly that will mean for consumers has yet to be seen. But if my hunch is correct, more programming will be available to those consumers willing and able to spend more on entertainment than they do today. I’m not so sure that’s “pretty good.”

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