In a recent interview, HBO’s 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 company’s 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 doesn’t authenticate HBO Go for Apple TV, while Dish won’t 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.
Source: The Verge