One of the big announcements to come out of last week’s Apple press event was the news that HBO’s new standalone streaming video service HBO Now would initially be available exclusively on Apple TV and other Apple devices. Quite a bit has changed in seven days, though, as a new report indicates that HBO Now will also be available to subscribers of at least one internet service-provider.
According to Variety, HBO Now will be made available to Cablevision’s Optimum Online broadband-only subscribers without the need for a pay-television package. This makes Cablevision the first television-and-internet provider to partner with HBO for the service, which allows subscribers to stream HBO programming like Game of Thrones as it airs, without the need for a cable or satellite subscription.
“As New York’s premier connectivity company, we are enabling Optimum Online customers to enjoy content in any way they choose to receive it,” said Cablevision’s chief operating officer Kristin Dolan in a statement accompanying the announcement. “We are well-positioned to support HBO Now and, as technology advances, Cablevision will continue to meet the evolving needs of our customers.”
No pricing was discussed for the new deal, but it was previously announced that HBO Now will cost subscribers $15 per month when it premieres on Apple devices, leading to the assumption that the $15/month fee will be standard pricing for the service.
However, just how users will watch HBO Now at launch may differ. While the Apple TV streaming device, which now runs $69, will make pulling up HBO programming on a TV second nature, there’s no word yet as to how Cablevision users will gain access to the service. Will it be accessible only through a computer? As curious as HBO’s announcement of an exclusive deal for HBO Now on Apple devices was, this new wrinkle is odder still.
Wherever it lands, HBO Now is expected to launch in April, just in time for the fifth-season premiere of Game of Thrones. We’ll update this report when more information becomes available.