HBO Go, the cable network's a la carte online streaming service, is now available for the Xbox One game console, Microsoft confirmed Thursday.
Available only to paid channel subscribers, HBO Go lets viewers access HBO's entire library, from "The Sopranos" to "Game of Thrones." While it has been available on Microsoft's last-generation Xbox 360 and Sony's competing PlayStation 3 for months, the network's app was absent from both companies' newer hardware since it was released a year ago.that Xbox One users would have access to HBO Go by the end of the year.
"Xbox One users can get in on the action and Kinect [sic]" with HBO series and films, said Jeff Dallesandro, HBO's vice president of digital domestic network distribution. His play on words was referring to Microsoft's Kinect voice-controlled camera that can be used to play TV shows and switch apps.
HBO Go joins Microsoft's existing library of media offerings including Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant Video for the Xbox One, which retails for $350 in the US after Microsoft.
Console makers have been aggressively marketing their new devices as both centers for video game playing and hubs for entertainment. Sony and Microsoft are eager to be invited into consumers' living rooms as the cord-cutting crowd, now pegged at about 10 million homes in the US, continues to grow. In fact, the most common device for accessing Netflix on a television screen is a video game console, according to a September report by market researcher GfK.
Yet game companies are still beholden to content providers like HBO and the corporations that own them, in this case Time Warner, whose businesses primarily targets the 50 million cable subscribers in the US. The amount of time it takes to provide media apps on newer devices has been tricky for Microsoft and Sony. Without the availability of HBO Go, viewers have been forced to switch to Web browsers and other streaming devices -- and away from their Xbox or PlayStation.
After Netflix, HBO Go is one of the most sought-after media options for consumers deciding which of the many streaming device options to purchase. Amazon's recently released Fire TV Stick doesn't have HBO Go support, in contrast to Google's competing Chromecast, and illustrates the difficulties even big companies like Amazon have in securing streaming rights to HBO shows and movies.
HBO announced last month that it'sfor viewers who do not subscribe to cable. That service will be separate from HBO Go, though the company hasn't said how it may differ from HBO Go or how much it will cost.