Apple reportedly in talks to be launch partner for new standalone web service ‘HBO Now’

“HBO is in talks with Apple to make Apple TV one of the launch partners for its highly anticipated streaming service when it debuts next month,” Michael Learmonth reports for The International Business Times.

“HBO and streaming partner Major League Baseball Advanced Media are working to have the standalone service, called ‘HBO Now,’ ready to launch in April in conjunction with the premiere of the fifth season of ‘Game of Thrones,’ according to sources familiar with their plans,” Learmonth reports. “When it launches, consumers will be able to subscribe to HBO Now directly from HBO for the first time, rather than through a cable, satellite or telco TV distributor such as Comcast or Verizon.”

“The retail price is expected to be $15 a month when purchased directly from HBO, or about what consumers pay when they order HBO through their cable, satellite or telco provider,” Learmonth reports. “Apple has been most aggressive in courting HBO in a bid to add the service to Apple TV, sources say. ”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Cord cutters rejoice!

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


  1. I am a cord cutter. But if I have to pay a small monthly fee for every individual channel I want, and then pay a monthly fee for high speed internet, it’s going to cost more then if I just go ahead and keep cable.

    It will not catch on if there is not better way to price these channels. Maybe bundling, maybe whatever Steve thought of, I have no idea.

    1. Therein lies the paradox.

      Channels, priced on their own for the average customer end up adding up to be more than the average customer pays for cable.

      The channels could be bundled, but then that ends up being pretty much the same situation where we started from, just via alternative delivery infrastructure, which isn’t necessarily that different if you’re still using Comcast for your Internet.

      It’s going to be a slow transition as people change their habits and companies change their policies and methods of distribution.

      The end result won’t be people spending less money.

        1. ⅞ turns out to about 25 channels via Comcast, not including things like music channels. The average cable bill is $65. That means you’d be paying less than $2.60 per channel to save money as compared to the bundled as is price of $65.

          But that’s not going to happen. Premium channels go for much more than that. Even if the middlemen, not only of the cable company but also the networks themselves, were to go away, the $2.60 is below what production companies would charge for their shows.

          People have this misguided notion that they have a bazillion channels they never watch and it would be awesome to take the percentage of channels they do watch and apply that to the monthly bill… Hey, I only watch 10% of the channels, I should only pay 10% of the bill!

          Ya, it doesn’t work like that, and it’s not likely to for a long time… if ever, more likely and entirely new structure will become the standard (like direct from production company to service).

          At issue is that all of the bazillions of channels we don’t want are being thrown into the bundle we do get because they’re sponsored/commercial and aren’t really factored in the $65 we do pay on average.

          The channels that aren’t just thrown in, are already available individually or bundled. They’re the premium channels.

  2. HBO giveth and HBO taketh away! It seems like cable TV really went mainstream with HBO (and CNN, etc.) in the 70’s and 80’s. Now that they are ready to break away from cable, I think cable providers will hear the sound of sucking as subscribers leave in droves. When HBO announced a streaming service last fall, we finally had the push we needed to cut the cord, even though HBO Now was not available yet. Once the service is launched…. its going to be a tidal shift!

    1. With HBO Now, HBO is competing with the Netflix steaming service. Netflix is only $9/mo. and no commercials. They don’t have first-run movies, but there is more than enough older movies, TV shows, documentaries and good original series like House of Cards that, for the price, the hours of programing we get à la carte is a great value. HBO as a streaming service may be a bit more expensive since they do have recent movies and arguably better original programming (but not TV shows), but I don’t think they would have commercials since they need to compete with Netflix and Amazon Prime, etc. and since they don’t have currently have a sales force/infrastructure for selling commercial space. In any case, I would pay between $10 and $20 a month for HBO streaming and, having cut cable subscription from my budget, I have that $90/mo saved burning a hole in my pocket!.

  3. If I can use iTunes Store credit to pay the monthly fee, and if I can access content on any Apple device (not just an Apple TV), I’d be more likely to subscribe to individual “pay” channels this way instead of through cable.

    I’ve been buying iTunes “gift cards” for myself since discovering that several times a year, I can get a $100 gift card for $75. They are most often offered by “PayPal Digital Gifts” on eBay; they send the redemption code via email, so there is no actual “card.” The “store credit” is good for iTunes Store media (songs, movie rentals, etc.), including apps and ebooks, from Mac or iOS. In effect, I’m getting a 25% percent discount on “everything in the store,” all the time.

    The idea here is to make it MORE appealing to get it separately. However, I doubt that HBO actually wants to make it more appealing for people who already have cable. They just want to access potential customers who are currently NOT accessible.

      1. TiVo or Comcast Box with Component output connected to an EyeTV HD. With an IR Blaster it can program and control the TiVo or Cable Box.

        Once the video is in Eye TV (MPEG 2) it can be transcoded into the video format of your choosing. EyeTV has presets for Apple TV and iPad/iPhone. You can also use El Gato’s Turbo 264 USB for hardware acceleration or the SW only for transcoding. I mostly use Handbrake.

        The EyeTV is available from ElGato via any number of retailers- Apple used to carry it, cannot vouch if they do currently.

        The key is a Cable Box, DVR or TiVo with component output.

        1. So you are still manually converting each recording in Handbrake?

          I just want to automate everything as much as possible. Oh, and I just with there was a simple DVR, plug and play, solution.

          Hopefully with ATV 4 comes out, Apple will introduce a reasonable subscription service too.

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