For the first time in decades, HBO will be available independent of an expensive bundled cable package through HBO Now, a subscription streaming service available for $14.99 a month. Currently, the service will only be available on your device or through Apple TV (not Roku, etc).
The launch date is April 1. The press release adds that, “HBO will offer a 30 day introductory free trial period to new HBO NOW customers who sign up through Apple in April.”
Like HBO Go, HBO Now will make immediately available much of HBO’s back catalogue of the network’s shows, sports programming, and movies.
Apple will give viewers the ability to enjoy HBO programming via HBO NOW. Upon launch, customers can subscribe using the HBO NOW app on their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, or directly on Apple TV for instant access. Users can purchase HBO NOW directly in-app for $14.99 a month. Upon registering, subscribers will also be able to watch at HBONOW.com. HBO will offer a 30 day introductory free trial period to new HBO NOW customers who sign up through Apple in April.
HBO continues to be in discussions with its existing network of distributors and new digital partners to offer HBO NOW. At launch, HBO NOW will be available on iOS devices and on PCs.
“HBO NOW is the next phase of innovation at HBO,” said Richard Plepler, chairman and CEO, HBO. “With this new partnership, a natural evolution for the network, we have access to millions of Apple customers who are used to getting their favorite apps immediately. Now, they can do the same with an HBO subscription.”
The HBO Now launch is timed around the premiere of the fifth season of HBO’s biggest hit, “Game of Thrones.”
On its own HBO Now is not a big deal. Taken together with Netflix, Amazon Streaming, a streaming news channel, and a $20 streaming cable package that includes ESPN, the reasons to hold onto your obnoxiously expensive cable package are dwindling by the day.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC