Starz continues slowly expanding the universe for its branded TV Everywhere streaming service, with premium cabler releasing apps for Android tablets including Barnes & Noble’s Nooks and select Google Nexus devices — none of which are even close to being as popular as Apple’s iPad.
Starz’s Play services today are available only through four participating pay TV partners, available on the Web and via apps for iPads, iPhones and Android smartphones. By contrast, rival HBO’s TV Everywhere offering is nearly ubiquitous, through deals with every major U.S. distributor for HBO Go.
So far, Starz has signed pacts with AT&T U-verse TV, Cox Communications, DirecTV and Verizon FiOS. Premium cabler’s TV Everywhere content also is available through Comcast’s and Dish Network’s own TVE portals.
With the Starz app for Nook, there may be a tiny bit of corporate synergy at work: Liberty Media owns 17% of Barnes & Noble; Starz spun off from Liberty Media in January, and the two are technically independent entities although Liberty Media topper Greg Maffei also is chairman of Starz. Nook sales fell nearly 13% during in the fourth quarter of 2012, leading to speculation that B&N might ultimately discontinue its line of tablets.
In addition to the Nook and Google Nexus apps, Starz has added 3G/4G cellular access to its mobile apps. Previously, Starz’s Play services were limited to access via broadband or Wi-Fi. The programmer recommends minimum bandwidth of 1 Mbps, and a minimum 2.5Mbps for an optimal viewing experience.
The programmer’s three services — Starz Play, Encore Play and MoviePlex Play — provide access to about 1,500 movies, originals and TV episodes from the respective premium TV services. They’re available at no additional monthly charge to customers who subscribe to the TV packages.