Netflix chief complains about Comcast broadband loophole

HBO Go has found itself an unlikely pitchman: Reed Hastings.

The Netflix CEO took to his Facebook page Friday afternoon to complain about the blockade that select cable operators have erected around HBO’s digital platform on Xbox, which just added HBO Go earlier in the week.

“Comcast: I’m paying you a lot of money for HBO, so please let me watch HBO Go on my TV,” Hastings wrote. “I want my HBO Go.”

For Hastings to come to the defense of HBO Go is more than a little odd given he’s repeatedly referred to it and HBO in general as competitive threats.

But Hastings hints at an ulterior motive later in his Facebook post: “Once I get HBO Go on my Xbox, then it will be strange that streaming ‘Game of Thrones’ from the HBO Go app on my Xbox will count against my Comcast Internet cap, but when I watch those same ‘Game of Thrones’ streams through the Comcast app on Xbox, over the same Wifi connection to my Xbox, then it will not count against my cap. Hmmm…”

Hastings is referencing Comcast’s decision earlier this week to make any video programming streamed from its own Xbox-based VOD offering — which includes some HBO programming but is separate from HBO Go — outside the bounds of the bandwidth caps imposed on its broadband subscribers. That policy enraged network-neutrality advocates who characterize the decision as Comcast showing favoritism to select content within its own pipe.

Hastings is essentially pointing out that neither HBO Go or Netflix would get that special treatment from Comcast. Given unlimited consumption of its content for a monthly fee is the cornerstone of the Netflix offering, Hastings has always been outspoken when Internet service providers impose any conditions that disadvantages his company.

Just never quite like this.

Comcast isn’t the only MSO preventing access to HBO Go outside of its own set-top box. Time Warner Cable has done same and on another over-the-top device, Roku, last year.Maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Hastings is suddenly overidentifying with HBO Go considering reports earlier this month that he is looking to get carriage for Netflix with cable operators.

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