HBO Now has been officially announced and will be available just in time for the release of Game of Thrones Season 5 next week. It has been something that many have waited for — the ability to stream HBO without having to pay for the full cable subscription.
According to the New York Times, HBO Now will be available as an app, giving people the chance to stream content to their hearts' desires. In other words, it is going to be very similar to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon's video service. It makes sense since HBO did need to compete with the various streaming services out there.
HBO needed to do something. Over the last few years, Game of Thrones was the most illegally downloaded show. There were 4.3 million people downloading the episodes in 2012, according to various reports. HBO Now will give people a reason to avoid illegally downloading, and HBO will end up getting extra money.
The streaming service went live in the United States on Tuesday. However, there is a downside for those elsewhere. The Huffington Post reports that Canada will not get the service. Another downside is that it will only be available on Apple devices for now, as it is exclusive to the iTunes Store for the time being. Android users will have to wait for their app to be released, but it is not likely to come before April 12.
#HBONOW is a U.S. service that will not be available in Canada. @HBOCanada and @CraveTVCanada will continue to air HBO's iconic programming.
— HBO Canada (@HBOCanada) March 9, 2015
Some good news is that Canadian Game of Thrones fans will not be left watching the service on TV only. HBO Now will be released in a way through CraveTV. Bell owns HBO in the country, so it has access to the streaming service. CraveTV is already a competitor to Netflix in Canada, but users will need a subscription to Bell TV to get access.
HBO Now is available for $14.99 per month. Users will have access to all the HBO programs, including the highly popular Game of Thrones. The Season 5 premiere of the Song of Ice and Fire adaptation will be released on Sunday, and will be available for streaming without the need for a cable subscription in the United States for the first time.
It is a major game-changer to the TV world. Many have been calling for something like this for a while, but the cable companies have worried about profits. However, it seems that HBO is listening to what the people want. After all, it makes sense to release HBO Now in time for Game of Thrones than face another 4.3 million people downloading episodes illegally, where it definitely leads to a loss of profit.