HBO Now launched apps on the Xbox One and select Samsung Smart TVs Thursday. The service is being made available on 2016 Samsung TVs first, and will be coming to 2015 models in the near future. This is also the first time HBO Now is available on a game console, but signing up isn’t quite as easy as through other platforms.
Gamers who want to access HBO Now on the Xbox One still have to sign up through one of HBO Now’s authorized payment providers, which include Amazon, Apple, Google, Roku, Verizon and Cablevision as well as now also Samsung, but not Microsoft.
This means that a user will have to first download the HBO Now app on their mobile phone or visit a third-party website to sign up for the service, which costs $15 a month, before they can also use it on the Xbox One. That’s because unlike Netflix, HBO isn’t actually selling its subscription service directly to consumers. Instead, it has been outsourcing billing to partners — an approach not unlike the traditional pay TV model, where operators are in charge of billing and promotion.
HBO first launched its standalone subscription service a year ago in partnership with Apple. The network was able to sign up 800,000 subscribers by February, a number that HBO CEO Richard Plepler celebrated as a success: “We’re very excited about where we are,” he told analysts two months ago.