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Cable programmer HBO (s TWX) has launched its own TV Everywhere portal, enabling paying subscribers to its cable channels to watch on-demand movies and TV episodes online. The HBO Go service, which was first introduced nearly a year ago as a complement to its linear cable programming, is now ready for prime time.
HBO Go will first become available to Verizon (s VZ) FiOS subscribers that pay for HBO cable channels as part of their TV package. Customers must also be FiOS broadband subscribers to log in to the service, but once they have, HBO Go and FiOS will allow up to three simultaneous household users watching content at the same time.
The HBO Go service will have about 600 hours of programming online, 25 percent of which will be refreshed weekly, with new episodes of its TV shows added immediately after they air, according to Multichannel News. That said, initial reports on the quality of the programming available are fairly negative. TechCrunch’s Eric Schonfeld, for instance, bemoans the lack of interesting content that might draw him to the site: “[F]or the most part the selection is worse than what you get on Netflix (s nflx) via its streaming option. I’m not sure I want to see The Chumscrubber in HD.” While I have yet to check out the HBO Go implementation myself, based on what I’ve seen available from HBO on Comcast’s TV Everywhere portal, I’d have to agree that the content mix (other than having the entire run of The Wire available) is not that compelling.
The same content that’s being rolled out to FiOS customers is also available through Comcast’s (s CMCSA) Fancast Xfinity TV, the cable provider’s own premium content portal for subscribers. The Fancast offering was launched in December to allow Comcast subscribers to access on-demand video content from 30 different cable programmers.
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