Monday, December 21, 2009

HBO Goes Mobile

Holy Hulu, when did this happen? Subscription-based cable network HBO looks to finally be countering criticism of their tepid online presence through the public beta of what’s being called “HBO GO.” The service offers an internet reservoir of the company’s original series, films, and late-night specials, though if the prospect of having the entire library of HBO programming at your fingertips sounds too good to be true, brace yourself, there are a few asterisks.

First, the service is available free of charge, but only to current HBO subscribers with Comcast or select Verizon beta accounts. The 'GO' homepage features a "Television Provider" drop-down menu with an “Other” option, but selecting it merely triggers a “Coming Soon” error message. It’s called a beta for a reason, folks.

Perhaps most disappointingly, however, browsing the available content reveals an identical offering to that which is already offered on the network’s Comcast “On Demand” channel, relegating the service at present to little more than an online convenience. Still, arriving at the handsome price of free, "HBO GO" will likely prove a welcome addition for those who already pay the cable premium, and will now be able to stream full screen, high-definition video from the comfort of (up to three) internet-ready PCs or laptops.

Registration information is available at hbogo.com, and current highlights on the service include cable premieres of “He’s Just Not That Into You” and “Body of Lies,” alongside the latest batch of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” episodes and the first season of the bafflingly popular “True Blood.”

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