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  • Cable Providers Still Hesitate to Authenticate HBO Go App on Apple TV


    In a recent interview, HBOís CTO Otto Berkes outlined the difficulties the company faced in bringing a totally in-house app to the Apple TV but the bigger challenge may be getting content to customers as a number of cable providers are blocking subscribers from using the app. Berkes told The Verge that one of the biggest technical challenges in bringing HBO Go to Apple TV was delivering the companyís video content in a high-quality, but compressed format. Although daunting, the app launch underscored another problem; getting cable providers to view products such as the Apple TV as a benefit instead of as competition.

    Apple recently announced that the availability of the HBO Go, WatchESPN and other channels, touting the streaming options as a boon for Apple TV owners. With the proliferation of Internet set-top boxes, service providers are becoming uneasy, perhaps fearing that the streamers will one day boot them out of the living room. In response, a few cable and satellite companies that already carry HBO and ESPN are refusing to authenticate mobile or set-top boxes for streaming. According to the publication, Charter Communications doesnít authenticate HBO Go for Apple TV, while Dish wonít authenticate ESPN. Other providers such as Comcast have similar restrictions for the Roku player.

    A person with knowledge of the situation said the following regarding the matter:

    Affiliates are always initially hesitant about things connected to the TV. They were nervous.
    There was also a lot of discord among Apple TV owners regarding the subscription arrangement required for viewing, but the setup may be a way to assuage cable and satellite company fears that attached Internet streamers will take over. While still leery, the cable and satellite companies are looking at HBO Go as a possible positive as its performance on other platforms have increased Internet distribution and may help to keep subscribers. Although itís good news for some, this most likely means that paying separately for HBO content through Apple TV or another form of streaming without a subscription is still out of the question, at least for now.

    Source: The Verge
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Cable Providers Still Hesitate to Authenticate HBO Go App on Apple TV started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      Huh, I'm using the app on both of my ATV's (through Comcast) and everything seems to be working fine. I haven't noticed any restrictions...yet. I say they just let it be, unless HBO decides to start a monthly subscription, users are already paying for the channels so why shouldn't they be able to watch it on different devices...?
    1. fleurya's Avatar
      fleurya -
      Unbelievable.

      First they pay content providers to NOT offer their content by other means, and now they’re blocking content from people who are already customers? These idiots need a good swift kick. Blocking competition rather than innovating will only carry you so far, and as long as they are going to continue these shady practices I’ll continue mine to get content without paying them a dime.
    1. snoozkewl's Avatar
      snoozkewl -
      Once everyone has access to Google Fiber I hope these cable companies do go tits up. They have been a thorn in my side from the 90s
    1. Shigoroku's Avatar
      Shigoroku -
      None of this is true. HBO doesn't grant authorization unless they can verify that you are already an HBO subscriber. I work for a small, local cable ISP and my jaw dropped when I saw a Superbowl ad that said: "If you have HBO, you already have HBO Go." I knew we would get calls.

      Anyone trying to use HBO Go would only get to choose from a few major nationwide providers! HBO hadn't shown any interst in setting up a way for smaller cable companies to verify services and authenticate HBO subscribers. Massillon Cable, in association with NCTC came up with WatchTVeverywhere.com for smaller cable companies that are part of NCTC. Now, there is a system that would allow HBO to verify that a subscriber account has HBO service...but they still want to renegotiate contracts and charge more money per-subscriber. So far, my customers can only use their WTVE account to watch a few NBC networks and Fox News. Years have passed and we've gotten nowhere.

      ESPN hasn't taken any steps to allow WatchESPN. It would require renegotiated contracts and higher per-subscriber fees (regardless of whether-or-not that subscriber actually watches ESPN).

      Worse, we already pay a fee to ESPN for every Internet subscriber, even if they don't have TV service. It was supposed to allow our Inet subscribers to watch the online-only channel, "ESPN 360" -- which was later renamed to "ESPN3." The online channel had a lot of exclusive content, and it would sometimes even simulcast a major event that was also airing on one of the TV networks. Eventually, they changed the website over to "WatchESPN" -- for streaming all ESPN networks -- but didn't give us a way to validate / authorize our TV subscribers. They made it tricky to filter the unwatchable content and find only the ESPN3 content we are still paying for. On top of that, nothing is ever simulcast and ESPN3 is usually off-air...so it has far less content than it did when we made a contract to give us access to it. It's like bait-and-switch.