Last week I downloaded the new HBO "Go" iPad app. I've long lamented the fact that while the rest of the world was allowing full episode streaming online, the paid premium networks hadn't found a solution. Now, however, HBO is making its entire catalog availble online and via iPhone and iPad if you're a subscriber.
HBO is making their ENTIRE catalog available. My current AT&T Uverse "On Demand" only offers a few of the latest episodes... that's it. I also can start watching entire HBO series without having to spend a ton of money on $1.99 episode downloads in the iTunes store.
While the HBO series are the quality programming that people care about, they also include movies, with a not-too-shabby selection.
The quality of the streaming is pretty good, and I've had little trouble with performance. There are also a few nifty features, like the ability to create a queue of shows or movies you want to watch.
Internet connection is required. This means that if you do want to watch something on a plane, you can't download it to watch while you're offline. I really hope that HBO figures this one out soon.
Apparently, not all HBO subscribers can access the service, only those who are subscribing through premium providers like AT&T, Charter, Time Warner, etc...
It's clear to me that these apps will drive subscriptions for HBO. More than a few people have told me, after seeing it that they would subscribe to have access. The problem is that it's hard to see the role of the cable companies moving forward. We pay for hundreds of channels we don't watch, and there are only a few worth the money. I don't think I'm alone in the feeling that if HBO offered direct subscription through digital, I'd join the growing ranks of cord-cutters.