Today, Apple and HBO announced that HBO’s standalone streaming service, HBO Now, will be exclusively available to Apple devices in April. The press release indicated that customers will be able to subscribe to the HBO Now service using the HBO NOW app on their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or directly on Apple TV.
The service will be available prior to the of Game of Thrones 5th season premiere on April 12th at a price of $14.99 per month. That’s quite a bargain considering it’s less than what many cable subscribers pay for HBO. Furthermore, HBO will offer a 30 day free trial of HBO Now for those customers signing up through their Apple device.
The service will provide access to HBO’s entire library of Original shows and it’s massive catalog of feature films. Clearly, HBO Now will not be a watered down version of HBO Go as some may have feared.
Some Must Wait For HBO Now
HBO’s choice to offer HBO Now exclusively to Apple device owners will surely leave some cord cutters out in the cold, but according to CNN the exclusivity deal will only be for three months. Therefore, streaming devices like Roku and Amazon Fire TV will have a chance to offer the service in July, should they cut a deal with HBO.
CNN also reported that Internet service providers like Comcast and Time Warner are working on deals with HBO to offer HBO Now as part of a broadband service package. Should such a deal unfold, consumers may have the option of obtaining HBO Now through their ISP and stream it on other approved devices.
Apple TV Price Cut
Apple is taking every advantage of this opportunity as they have also announced a price drop of their Apple TV streaming device from $99 to $69. Sales of Apple TV have lagged behind Roku for some time. Clearly Apple is looking to retake some of the market share.
I have long held that the Roku 3 slightly edges out Apple TV based on content availability. However, the marriage of HBO and Apple TV make the Apple TV the must have streaming device for at least for the next 3 months.
As I own an Apple TV, I plan on signing up for HBO Now the minute it’s available. I am planning on doing a full review of the service, so if you’re interested in HBO Now please check back in for the review.
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