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Cable Operators

HBO Punches ‘TV Everywhere’ Buttons

2/27/2012 12:01 AM Eastern

Cable operators and programmers may generally
agree that authenticated “TV Everywhere” services
are the best way to keep people paying for TV.

But the parties don’t always see eye to eye when it comes
to how viewers log in on specific devices.

HBO’s popular
TV Everywhere
service is
now available on
Samsung’s Internet-
connectted
HDTVs —
but customers
of Comcast and
Time Warner Cable
can’t access
the feature today.

The two biggest
U.S. cable
operators also
prevent access
to HBO Go on
Roku’s Internet
set-tops, while they do allow subscribers to access the service
via computers, Apple iPads and mobile phones.

Meanwhile, DirecTV will let customers log in to HBO Go
on Samsung TVs, but like Comcast and TWC, the satellite-TV
company hasn’t given the green light to Roku. DirecTV said,
“While Roku is an innovative product, our priority is to… integrate
HBO Go into products that are a part of the DirecTV
ecosystem (such as Samsung’s line of RVU televisions) so that
we can ensure the highest quality video experience possible.”

According to sources familiar with Comcast and Time
Warner Cable’s positions, HBO has not yet agreed to all of
the conditions the MSOs require of their TV Everywhere
partners, such as how subscriber information is handled
on third-party devices and websites.

Comcast declined to discuss why it is not allowing Xfinity
TV customers to use
HBO Go on Samsung
TVs. “We continue
discussions with HBO
on this,” Comcast
spokeswoman Alana
Davis said.

TWC and HBO declined
to comment.

Pay TV providers
that allow access
via both Samsung
and Roku platforms
include Dish Network,
Cox Communicat
ions, Charter
Communications,
Suddenlink Communications,
AT&T U-verse, Verizon FiOS TV and RCN.

Cablevision Systems, for its part, announced an agreement
with HBO to offer HBO Go to subscribers in December,
saying it expects to go live “in the next few months.”

Separately, at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show,
Samsung showed demos of 2012 models of its smart TVs
providing content from Comcast, TWC, DirecTV and Verizon
FiOS. Comcast and TWC are delivering on-demand
content through the Samsung sets. Verizon is providing 26
live TV channels as well as VOD, and DirecTV is enabling
access to live and DVR content directly on Samsung’s 2012
line of Smart TVs without the need for additional set-top
boxes.

Comcast noted that the Xfinity TV app for Samsung will
provide a wide selection of VOD movies and TV shows —
including all the same content as HBO Go.

On Time Warner Inc.’s Feb. 8 earnings call, CEO Jeff
Bewkes urged the industry to make cable content available
on as many devices as possible — as quickly as possible.

“Frankly, I don’t understand the reticence of distributors
to authenticate on third-party sites like Roku and
get HBO and TNT and all of those channels to television,”
Bewkes said. “As a general principle, we, as an industry,
should be making sure viewers have availability with ondemand
TV of all of their favorite networks on any platform,
any device that they want to use.”

The HBO Go service is available exclusively to HBO subscribers
through participating affiliates, for no additional
charge. Viewers have access to more than 1,400 titles, including
every episode of every original HBO series, plus
movies, documentaries and other programming.

HBO Go is compatible with only certain models of
Samsung Internet-connected TVs, according to the
companies.

 

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