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Old Jun 20, 2013, 03:32 PM   #1
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HBO Moved Development In-House to Speed Apple TV Project




On Wednesday, Apple released a long awaited update that brought new channels to its Apple TV, including WatchESPN, Sky News, and HBO GO.

HBO GO has been available on other platforms like the iPhone and iPad, Roku, and Xbox 360 for quite some time, but it was only in January that reports surfaced suggesting that Apple and HBO were in talks to bring HBO content directly to the Apple TV.

In a post that includes an interview with HBO chief technology officer Otto Berkes, The Verge details some of the reasons why it took so long for HBO to get its content on Apple's set-top box.

According to Berkes, the primary reason for the delay was the creation of the app itself, as it was developed entirely in-house. It is unclear if HBO used an existing SDK to create the app, but that the app was devised by HBO suggests that other companies may be able to create similar apps in the future.
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Nothing is more time consuming than writing all the code involved and encoding HBO's massive video library, said Otto Berkes, HBO's chief technology officer, in an exclusive interview with The Verge. He said "optimizing the compression formula to deliver the high-quality video to the lowest bandwidth" is a massive undertaking.

Getting HBO Go on the Apple TV might have taken longer had HBO not begun to boost the number of engineers working at the company's new development center in Seattle. Apple TV was the first app that HBO created completely in-house, said Berkes, a former Microsoft executive who started at HBO two years ago. Prior to Apple TV, HBO teamed with third parties on its apps, but "this was 100 percent created by our software and design staff," Berkes said.
Despite hiring extra engineers to complete the Apple TV project faster, HBO faced other delays. As highlighted by The Verge, complicated negotiations with cable companies are always involved when attempting to bring channels like HBO and ESPN to set-top boxes.
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For instance, Charter Communications has refused to authenticate HBO Go for Apple TV. Comcast blocks subscribers from receiving HBO fare on the Roku, according to HBO's site. Dish won't authenticate ESPN but it does authenticate HBO Go for the Apple TV as well as many other gadgets. Yesterday morning, when Apple announced it would offer HBO and ESPN, DirecTV wasn't authenticating the device. By late afternoon, however, the satellite TV provider had reversed itself.
Though HBO GO is now available on the Apple TV, accessing the content is still dependent on a cable TV subscription. While many hope that content providers like HBO will at some point offer channels on a piecemeal basis that are not tied to cable providers, HBO garners the majority of its revenue through cable operators, which means cutting the cord is a risky prospect at best.

Historically, the Apple TV has taken a backseat to the iPad and the iPhone, which also explains why HBO GO has been available on iOS since 2011 but didn't come to the Apple TV until 2013. Apple has, in the past, referred to the Apple TV as a "hobby project," though the company is rumored to be exploring new product lines that could eventually include an Apple television set.

At the D11 conference in May, Apple CEO Tim Cook reiterated that television continues to be an "area of great interest" for Apple and that the company has a "grand vision" in place.

Article Link: HBO Moved Development In-House to Speed Apple TV Project
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 03:37 PM   #2
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I can't wait for Showtime to be added to the Apple TV.
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 03:38 PM   #3
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Yeah step up your game showtime. Dexter starts in 10 days
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 03:41 PM   #4
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Yeah step up your game showtime. Dexter starts in 10 days
Series finale, I can't believe it. Another good show meeting its end, but a great run it has been.
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 03:41 PM   #5
Rocketman
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I pay for satellite but cannot get everything via STB also. Needs fixin', even if I pay but have no satellite box installed anywhere at all.
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 03:42 PM   #6
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Next Cinemax GO, Epix and Amazon Prime on Apple TV and I will buy it tomorrow.
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 03:44 PM   #7
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Awesome news for me because I haven't had Cable/Satellite in years.
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 03:47 PM   #8
TXCherokee
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What am I missing?

If you need a cable subscription to get HBO Go, wouldn't you have a set-top box already hooked up to the same TV as the AppleTV? This seems redundent. Does the app allow you to watch whatever HBO offers on-demand?
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 03:47 PM   #9
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The 'there is a grand vision' comment arose from the question, "is there a grand vision?". So you can keep your panties on. It's not as if Tim Cook just suddenly proclaimed there was a grand vision.
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 03:47 PM   #10
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Awesome news for me because I haven't had Cable/Satellite in years.
You need a cable subscription to HBO to use HBO Go in the first place though

Which pretty much sucks
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 03:51 PM   #11
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Um, first who cares. Great HBO is available on the Apple TV.... so? Since you already have cable, you have access to all of HBOs catalog via the cable you already pay for. Gee shall I watch GOT on the HBO GO channel on my cable box, or shall I watch it on HBO GO the AppleTV channel. Um, again, who cares?

And I'm so glad they took the entire project in house and did it themselves, it looks... just like every other AppleTV app. Way to go HBO!

Sorry HBO, we will gladly pay for the content we want, but if you force us to spend a $100 a month on cable to get your shows.... don't be surprised when we find a better way.
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 03:53 PM   #12
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Clearly some of you have no clue how hbo go works.
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 03:53 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by TXCherokee View Post
If you need a cable subscription to get HBO Go, wouldn't you have a set-top box already hooked up to the same TV as the AppleTV? This seems redundent. Does the app allow you to watch whatever HBO offers on-demand?
You can watch anything in their catalog of original series programming (including shows no longer on the air), and a large selection of movies. I don't know if it's everything they offer "on-demand", but check with HBO for the specifics.
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 03:53 PM   #14
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You need a cable subscription to HBO to use HBO Go in the first place though

Which pretty much sucks
Yes, which is why all this stuff is going nowhere yet.

I think HBO, ESPN, etc. are waiting for contracts and agreements with cable providers they have to expire so they can offer these subscriptions without cable. It will just take time. Their first step is that the apps are out there.
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 03:53 PM   #15
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The Cable/Satellite providers do NOT want you to cut the cable. But they will allow you to stream content to your iPhone and iPad if you are a paid subscriber. You cannot just subscribe to HBO for $20 a month or whatever. You have to also have a baseline $50-75 per month basic cable/satellite plan plus "premium services" (HBO/whatever).

Apple needs to gain access to HBO (and other channels) content on a standalone basis for some fee even if its a "premium-premium" $30 a month, it would still be less.

This is exactly what Steve meant by Byzantine.

Rocketman

Apple TV/Roku is a variant of iPhone, the C/S monopsony didn't count on.
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 03:53 PM   #16
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I still prefer the Roku 3 than the Apple TV.
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 03:54 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by WhoDaKat View Post
Um, first who cares. Great HBO is available on the Apple TV.... so? Since you already have cable, you have access to all of HBOs catalog via the cable you already pay for. Gee shall I watch GOT on the HBO GO channel on my cable box, or shall I watch it on HBO GO the AppleTV channel. Um, again, who cares?

And I'm so glad they took the entire project in house and did it themselves, it looks... just like every other AppleTV app. Way to go HBO!

Sorry HBO, we will gladly pay for the content we want, but if you force us to spend a $100 a month on cable to get your shows.... don't be surprised when we find a better way.
Your complaint is just like anyone else's and I agree. However, I quite like that I can get it on my ATV now because that is what is in my office. I watch HBO on demand in my family room and HBO Go on my iPad sometimes in my room. Sure, who the **** cares, but I'm happy it's part of ATV.
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 03:54 PM   #18
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.....Though HBO GO is now available on the Apple TV, accessing the content is still dependent on a cable TV subscription. While many hope that content providers like HBO will at some point offer channels on a piecemeal basis that are not tied to cable providers, HBO garners the majority of its revenue through cable operators, which means cutting the cord is a risky prospect at best.

Article Link: HBO Moved Development In-House to Speed Apple TV Project
And those, my friends, are still the sticking points, that will remain for the foreseeable future!

As long as these reportedly lengthy contracts between the cable cos and the content owners/creators remain in effect, APPLE's hands for now, are tied.
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 03:57 PM   #19
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Next Cinemax GO, Epix and Amazon Prime on Apple TV and I will buy it tomorrow.
Amazon Prime is a competing content store, so i doubt we will see that. would love to be wrong, but...

my question is -- why hasnt Amazon Prime allowed AirPlay out on their app? if they did that, problem solved.
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 03:59 PM   #20
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You can watch anything in their catalog of original series programming (including shows no longer on the air), and a large selection of movies. I don't know if it's everything they offer "on-demand", but check with HBO for the specifics.
Correct, HBO On Demand, on cable, only has a limited selection of HBO shows and movies, which changes over time. HBO Go has their ENTIRE back catalog of series and original movies, plus special content.
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 03:59 PM   #21
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Um, first who cares. Great HBO is available on the Apple TV.... so? Since you already have cable, you have access to all of HBOs catalog via the cable you already pay for. Gee shall I watch GOT on the HBO GO channel on my cable box, or shall I watch it on HBO GO the AppleTV channel. Um, again, who cares?
hbo go / apple tv is portable. your cable box is not.
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 04:00 PM   #22
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Does the app allow you to watch whatever HBO offers on-demand?
HBO's cable-based catalog of on-demand content is fairly limited. Game of Thrones, for instance, only has the current season's episodes available on-demand (at present.) The Sopranos currently has no episodes available through my cable-tv subscription.

Via the AppleTV app, however, virtually the entire back catalog of HBO material is available. All eight seasons of The Sopranos; previous seasons of Game of Thrones, Generation Kill; etc. etc.

Yes, the AppleTV version is 720 versus 1080; but its hard to complain about the quality. And if you feel the need for a binge-fix to get you up to speed on a show you didn't catch the first time around, the HBO AppleTV app is thing of beauty indeed.
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 04:05 PM   #23
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I really don't like how they tie you to your cable service to use apps. I guess cable companies are doing everything they can to keep you from cutting.
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 04:06 PM   #24
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Cable companies are rich dinosaurs, and hopefully networks of value such as HBO and AMC will shortly abandon this anachronistic business model.

It's nice to have HBOGo on AppleTV, but I can't wait for the day I can simply pay $10-15/month to Apple for HBO instead of $110/month to ***** Time Warner Cable.
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 04:10 PM   #25
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I like the idea of a "grand vision."
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