HBO Now to Launch on Apple TV

Game of Thrones most pirated TV

Price of Apple TV reduced from $99 to $69

Apple TV will be the exclusive launch partner for HBO Now, the standalone subscription-based streaming service the pay cabler is rolling out in an attempt to court consumers who don’t want to sign up for cable service.

HBO Now will be available for $14.99 a month, starting in April — in time for the return of “Game of Thrones.”

It’s planned launch on Apple devices that will also include iPhones and iPads, was made at the start of an Apple press event in San Francisco on Monday.

Apple’s exclusive rights to HBO Now, however, covers the first three months after launch and only non-MVPDs.

That means that HBO Now could still launch on a cable provider at the same price in April, as well, but not on platforms like Google’s Chromecast and Roku.

HBO continues to be in discussions with its existing network of distributors and new digital partners to offer HBO Now, the company said.

“The overwhelming majority of our customers prefer to access video via digital cable bundles for convenience, service quality and the unmatched value,” a spokesman for Cox Communications said. “That said, our goal remains to provide customers the content they want on the platforms they choose. Clearly we have a good relationship with HBO, we’re both highly motivated to continue to attract customers to the cable ecosystem and we continue to discuss ways to evolve our offerings to better meet customer needs. We’re talking to HBO to better understand the service they’ve announced, but our distribution agreements have not changed.”

The three largest MVPDs — Comcast, DirecTV and Dish Network — declined to comment.

Apple has sold 25 million Apple TV units to date. The company announced that it’s lowering the price of Apple TV from $99 to $69.

HBO Now also will be available on Apple’s iPhones and iPads.

“All you need to get HBO Now is a broadband connection and an Apple device,” said HBO CEO Richard Plepler during the press event. “When you subscribe to HBO Now, you will have access to all our acclaimed original programming — past, present and future — as well as our unmatched lineup of Hollywood blockbusters.”

Similar to HBO Go, HBO Now will offer access to more than 2,000 of the network’s title online. That includes “Game of Thrones,” “True Detective,” “Girls” and “Veep,” “True Blood” and “Sex and the City,” but also upcoming series like “Westworld,” with episodes to appear on HBO Now as they air on the pay cabler.

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  1. R Bettendorf says:

    HBO price point makes sense. They are saying if you want to cut the cord, fine, but don’t expect us to reward you with a cut rate. This is what unbundling is, people. You don’t want the fluff of all the Time Warner/Viacom/Disney channels you shell out $100+ for? Fine, but to get the premium channel you’ll need to pay what HBO charges to cable customers. Hence the $15 tag. And yeah, calm yourself – HBO will be up and running on a bunch of OTT devices soon enough.

  2. Geri says:

    Why limit themselves to Apple? Very shortsighted. And $14.99 for what? Watch HBO’s current what to watch in March and 90% of it is for stuff that premieres in April. Yes HBO has a handful of great shows and the movies they make are quite entertaining, but other than that the network is very weak. Its film library is incredibly weak. No thanks.

  3. Mr. Miller says:

    I think the key words in today’s announcement were that Apple will be HBO’s exclusive partner AT LAUNCH. Surely, others will be signed on in time.

  4. mibtp says:

    I have a Roku. Don’t need or want Apple TV. Too bad. I was ready to jump in until this piece of news. I do have a macbook pro. Should be able to stream on computer.

  5. tim says:

    So no web based option like HBO Go is now? I don’t have or need a streaming device. My PC is connected to my TV via HDMI and that’s how I stream everything. And anyone that thinks 14.99 a month is too much must have no idea how much their programming costs to produce.

  6. David K says:

    No thanks, don’t want an Apple TV in the slightest

  7. nerdrage says:

    $14.99 is not too high. What HBO is doing is preserving its premium brand image by deliberately pricing their service higher than the mainstream competitors Netflix and Amazon. To

    price it equivalently would send a message that the content is equivalent and of course it will never be. HBO is not going to start licensing TV shows and movies from other sources. Instead, it is carving out a niche for itself by being an adjunct to the mainstream services.

    HBO assumes that higher income households will subscribe to HBO Now (terrible name btw) in addition to, not instead of, Netflix and/or Amazon. And since that’s still about $25/month for Netflix + HBO or Amazon + HBO, how high income do you really need to be to afford that? Just ditch cable and chop your bill by a quarter or a third.

  8. Nanny Mo says:

    The price is too high. I would have done $7.99 a month but $14.99 a month is too high. That’s basically $180 a year and Netflix streaming is basically $95 a year and it’s thousands of movies, Amazon Prime is $49 a year (if you take advantage of one of their many discount programs). Leave it to greedy Hollywood to over price a really good idea, kill the idea and then say it didn’t work. I like the idea but not at this price.

  9. Karen Young says:

    That sucks! I wanted to buy HBO but I am not buying an Apple TV. Really disappointed that they are limiting their potential customers that way.

    • nerdrage says:

      It’ll come to Roku, never fear.

    • Apple TV is the best $99 you will ever spend, don’t see why you should state you not buying one. Good for HBO for partnering with an elite company with an elite customer base. HBO would not fit on Google or anywhere else…

      • stewartgrant says:

        For people comparing Amazon Prime, Roku, Chromecast and Tivo (is that really still a thing?) to Apple TV you are way off. I’ve used all of those devices and services (except Tivo because it’s not the 90’s anymore) and Apple TV offers more content and easier user interface than all the others. I’m not saying the others are bad, I’m just saying there is a reason Apple TV is the most expensive. Because it offers the most.

      • Tommy says:

        An “elite” customer base?? Thanks for the laugh this morning! I type this on my Macbook Pro and own an iPad and an iPhone. I also own a Nexus tablet and a Samsung Galaxy phone (which the iPhone has only now barely caught up to). I own a new Tivo, which is FAR superior to Apple TV if you watch live TV at all. I’ve personally used Roku, Chromecast and Apple TV. There’s nothing special about Apple TV unless you are 100% Apple, and if that’s the case, you’re a just the type of consumer Apple loves – uneducated about consumer electronics and dedicated to brand vs. the quality and features and functions of the product. Very proud to not be “elite”, if elite means being an ignorant consumer. I love Apple when Apple is the best option. In this product category? Not even close. HBO knows this. They’ll have it on Roku and Tivo by summer.

      • Jim Heartney says:

        I already have Rokus, a ChromeCast and a PS3 on various TV’s in the house. I don’t need another redundant streaming box trying to sell me iTunes Store content. And I say this as a longtime Apple household.

      • Greg S. says:

        they’ve lowered the Apple TV price to $69.

      • Stephen says:

        Typical. Chromecast is a $35 solution for streaming TV. Apple TV is $99. Yes, paying more makes you “elite,” but it doesn’t make you smarter. HBO would fit anywhere.

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