The arrival of HBO GO on the Xbox 360 was mostly met with cheers, although Comcast customers were upset when the initial HBO GO launch on the 360 didn’t support their cable providers. Now (after the official launch on Monday), Xfinity subscribers can enjoy the service as well. But what took so long and why are Time Warner subscribers still left in the cold?
HBO GO has been a hit ever since HBO launched it over a year ago. The service lets HBO subscribers access the networks content from their computers, and the list of supported devices has steadily grown in the months since its launch. Although it started on computers, it soon made its way to tablets and streaming boxes. The arrival of the service on the Xbox 360 was highly anticipated, as the 360 is a device HBO subscribers are likely to already own. However, it took until now for Comcast users to get in the deal.
The lack of support for Xfinity subscribers was curious considering Microsoft’s ongoing push to keep the Xbox 360 on the forefront of technology by turning it into an all-in-one entertainment machine. Other services, such as AT&T’s U-verse and Cox Communications support the app and have launched without a hitch for the most part. The arrival of HBO GO on the 360 without support for two of the largest cable companies in America seemed to indicate that this was a deeper problem. If the service was launched without support for these two carriers, it seemed unlikely that the issue would be resolved in a short time.
Regarding who’s to blame for HBO GO’s delayed lack of availability on the 360 for Xfinity subscribers, it appears most of the blame can go towards Comcast and Microsoft. There is and has been an HBO GO app for the iPhone and iPad for some time, and this app has included support for Xfinity subscribers. This makes it seem less likely that the issues in bringing the service to Xfinity subscribers via the 360 were due to any differences between HBO and Xfinity.
As it turns out, the holdup in making HBO GO accessible for Xfinity subscribers appeared to have had something to do with customer information and how third parties could access it. Not much is known about Comcast’s stance, but based on this knowledge it appears that they were either devoted to protecting their customer’s privacy or simply unwilling to let Microsoft gain any competitive edge.
There is still no word on the status of Time Warner’s support for HBO GO on the Xbox 360 (even though Time Warner owns HBO). Most speculation has attributed its lack of availability to the same subscriber information concerns that have been blocking Xfinity subscribers for so long. Whatever the case, there’s little doubt that Microsoft wants to get the situation resolved as quickly as possible.
This is a guest article by Ruben Corbo, a writer for the website Broadband Expert.