Hobby huh? Not so sure. What kind of hobby business makes you settle a deal with one of the most popular content provider out there?
Obviously this is a good deal for both companies, here is why. HBO has been struggling for years to do better than HBO Go, its OTT service tied to a cable subscription. They knew a standalone service will generate a huge demand and they had to be prepared for that. This kind of service requires a lot of preparation and the best time to launch such a service is a new season of your most popular content: Game of Thrones.
Nowadays, any content provider need to think about dozens of devices/operating systems before launching a new OTT service, in order to reach quickly a critical mass. It is also smart to start with a few, well known platforms, to let the product bake, cope with bugs and customer complains. So here the 3 months exclusivity with Apple buys some time to HBO to build out the software for other devices.
On Apple side, the AppleTV business is there, they used to work with content providers. They provide a very strict framework to port their video assets to AppleTV. On a TV with a remote, you are not willing to build complex UI such as on an iDevice.
So let’s make it simple, that will probably speed up the implementation. And when you think about it, reducing features reduces bugs too.
Overall, I think this is a good deal for Cupertino company because it doesn’t cost them a lot, and even better, it will make AppleTV more attractive than ever, for 3 months.
I think the looser here is the cord cutter willing to watch HBO on its large screen TV. While using a computer with iTunes is still be possible, the best experience will be AppleTV without a doubt.
The top cord-cutting services named Netflix and Hulu Plus are available in most smart TV, game consoles and players. And they are doing a pretty good job.
Another set top box.
The price drop to $69 should not makes you forget this is basic hardware. It is not 4K/H.265 capable, and it doesn’t come with an HDMI cable. Not to mention the black squared box is not able to do better than Dolby Digital. It matches the cable experience after all. If you want the best quality, you’ll have to wait and purchase the Blu-ray discs period.
At the end, I’ll be able to watch Netflix on 4 devices in my living room: the TV itself, the Wii U, my Blu-Ray player and the AppleTV. There’s something wrong here.