HBO has finally announced its standalone internet service, following months of rumours and speculation on what would be coming. Named HBO Now, it will offer all of the shows from the past, present and future of HBO, live and on-demand.
The TV service was announced at Apple’s event yesterday, where HBO CEO Richard Plepler revealed an exclusive deal with Apple to bring HBO Now to iPhone, iPad and Apple TV first.
The deal will reportedly last three months, but users will supposedly be able to view HBO Now from PCs. This is essentially Apple’s way of neutering Google’s Android platform, its main rival.
In light of the deal, Apple has dropped the price of the Apple TV to £59 ($69) worldwide. Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted at more TV-based unveilings in the coming future.
HBO Now will launch in the US one week before the premiere of Game of Thrones. It will cost $14.99 (£9.90) per month (no word on UK pricing), but users that subscribe on April will get the first month free.
In terms of foreign viewers, HBO Now will only be available in the US at launch. It is still not clear how well developed the system will be, meaning geo-location changers or VPN tools might be able to slip past the region lock.
It is unlikely HBO Now will be available in the UK anytime soon, due to the long-standing agreement between HBO and Sky. All content either premieres on Sky Atlantic, or is shipped to Now TV a few months later.
This barrier to entry means UK viewers (and most global viewers) are unlikely to be able to watch Game of Thrones, or any of the other HBO shows at the same time as Americans, unless HBO breaks a lot of agreements set in stone.