Time Warner debuts new HBO movie and TV download service

“Here’s the latest entry in the what-you-want, when-you-want-it movie download race: HBO, Time Warner’s iconic superbrand pay-TV service. The new service is called HBO on Broadband, and while Comcast CEO Brian Roberts mesmerized a recent Consumer Electronics Show audience with visions of TV shows and movies capable of streaming lickety-split across his cable TV wires, the guys from Time Warner are offering what is clearly a work in progress,” Ron Grover reports for BusinessWeek.

“First, the basics: You can watch the live HBO feed online, choose from more than 350 movies, and download and store such TV shows as Sex & the City, The Sopranos, and Entourage. It will set reminders for you when things are on, allow you to preset to record movies and TV shows when they air on the cable network, and suggest new stuff that maybe you would like to watch,” Grover reports.

“HBO describes HBO on Broadband as free. But to get the service, a cable subscriber will need to have already paid not only the $12 or so a month to get the pay channel, but also the $30 or $40 a month to get a cable operator’s broadband service. That’s right. The free HBO actually costs subscribers $52 or more per month because consumers will first have to dip into their pockets to buy HBO from their cable or satellite provider, and then add broadband service from the same provider,” Grover reports.

MacDailyNews Take: Hey, $30 + $12 = $42. So, the “free” HBO on Broadband actually only costs subscribers $42 or more per month.

Grover continues, “So when Time Warner starts to roll out the new service on Jan. 21, why are they only doing it in a single system in two areas—Green Bay, Wis., and Milwaukee—when Time Warner owns 23 systems from Hawaii to Portland, Me.? No, it’s not a test, says HBO Co-President Eric Kessler, although he expects some fine-tuning. ‘We’re involved with discussions with other service providers, and we expect to have some to announce down the road,’ he says.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “HMCIV” for the heads up.]


  1. “. . . why are they only doing it in a single system in two areas—Green Bay, Wis., and Milwaukee . . .?”

    Because this audience is incredibly busy getting stuffed with cheese and beer, TW is hoping they won’t notice how much it sucks.

  2. They are still stuck with how business is now, not where it is going!

    I would gladly pay (a fair price, $9/12 per month) for HBO Broadband, through my AppleTV

    Would be great if Apple got some of these guys on board!

  3. Come, come, Ampar, that’s not nice… We shouldn’t be labeling people just because they live in the cheese&bear;capitals of the world…

    But seriously, this venture is so far below Apple’s radar it’s pretty much just sitting there on the ground, with the ants, bugs, worms…

  4. My understanding is this service is — wait for it — PC only, and not available for Macs. And probably won’t come with a closed caption feed, so the 10% of the audience that’s deaf or hearing impaired can’t watch it anyway.


  5. Not for me!

    I just ditched HBO and my cable tv provider and switched to…. the antenna in the attic for getting over the air HD.

    Sorry… too many channels… still nothing on.

    At least with Netflix, I get to choose WHAT I want to watch, even if I can’t watch it exactly WHEN I want to watch it, since I have to wait for the discs to arrive.

    Still this is better than flipping thru 250+ cable channels, and finding nothing worthwhile to watch.

    Now, if my cable provider would let me cherry pick my own personal channel line up, and pay accordingly, I’d still be a customer. But they won’t and so I won’t pay them anymore.

    And if HBO would let me watch their shows online for $10.00 a month, I’d be happy to sign up. But they won’t so I can’t.

    MDN word = black

    Until content providers really get it, my checking account will continue to be in the black, while theirs are in the red.

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