HBO Still Dark For Dish Users As Feud Heats Up

The feud between HBO and Dish is getting uglier as both sides are sniping at each other, and Dish users still can't access "Game of Thrones" or any other HBO programming.

Empty living room with TV turned off
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The feud between HBO and Dish is getting uglier as both sides are sniping at each other, and Dish users still can't access "Game of Thrones" or any other HBO programming.

If you have Dish and you’ve tried to watch HBO or Cinemax at all since November 1, you already know that these channels are suddenly no longer available. Users received no prior warning, and the Dish website has very little information to provide an explanation for the sudden blackout.

Dish TV has 10.6 million subscribers who suddenly can’t get a look at Game of Thrones, Westworld, Last Week Tonight or anything else they may want to see on HBO or Cinemax. It’s the first time in TV history that HBO has vanished from any distribution service, according to the Hollywood Reporter, and don’t forget that HBO was the very first cable network. It was established in 1975.

Basically, the disagreement between AT&T and Dish boils down to one central issue: money. Doesn’t everything?

SAN RAFAEL, CA - APRIL 15: A Dish Network satellite dish (L) is mounted next to a DirecTV dish on the roof of an apartment building on April 15, 2013 in San Rafael, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
  Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

The two sides have started sniping at each other through the media, and things are starting to get ugly. AT&T, who owns the DirecTV service, recently merged with Time Warner, who owns HBO. On Tuesday, HBO CEO Richard Plepler released a statement about the merger and the current blackout.

“The notion that AT&T had anything to do with our inability to reach a reasonable deal with Dish is simply not true…It seems to be a silly but transparent attempt on Dish’s behalf to muddy the waters for reasons only they can explain.”

Charlie Ergen, the chairperson for Dish, spoke about the merger at Dish’s third-quarter earnings call on Tuesday, saying “this is purely an anti-competitive play that we tried to warn about,” according to the Wrap.

“We’ve always been able to reach an agreement with HBO,” he said.

“We can’t sign a deal that we would actually pay for their customers.”

Plepler responded to Ergen’s words, saying “in fact, we offered to extend our current contract while we continued negotiating. An idea that Dish initially agreed to and then oddly changed their mind about at the eleventh hour.”

Ergen said it would be “malpractice” for him to sign the deal put forth by HBO, according to Deadline.

“It’s important to clarify that it was Dish who dropped the HBO and Cinemax signals at midnight on October 31, not the other way around,” Plepler said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Dish customers are none too happy with the blackout.

How long will Dish customers have to wait before HBO and Cinemax are back? Well, Univision hasn’t been available on Dish since July because of a dispute.

So, in other words, things don’t look too hopeful at present. Both sides are firing back and forth at each other through heated statements, and Dish doesn’t have a great record of reaching reconciliation quickly.