Apple and HBO are working out the details for a deal that would bring the entertainment company's shows to Apple TV without requiring a cable or satellite television subscription. The service, called HBO Now, is scheduled to launch in April and would give TV viewers a way to pay just for HBO and open up their programming to the 10 million U.S. broadband Internet subscribers who don't have a TV channel package.
HBO to offer its own Apple TV subscription
HBO is expected to charge US$15 a month for HBO Now, according to International Business Times. That would be in line with the price cable and satellite package subscribers pay for HBO content.
Apple has been pushing hard for a deal to make sure HBO Now is available on Apple TV at launch. Assuming the two companies can reach an agreement, HBO Now would be a big win for Apple and could drive more consumers to buy into the Apple TV set top box.
Offering HBO as a stand-alone subscription would also make it much easier for many cable and satellite TV subscribers to cut their cord, so to speak, and stop paying for channel packages loaded with content they don't want.
Along with Apple TV, HBO hopes to launch HBO Now on Roku, Amazon, Xbox, and other devices as it expands beyond traditional package deals.
HBO Now will be an independent offering from HBO Go, which is already available. HBO Now will be an option for viewers who don't have a cable TV subscription package, and HBO Go lets viewers who already pay for HBO through their content provider to watch shows when on their iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV.
HBO hasn't announced an official launch date for HBO Now, but sources said the company wants to have everything in place to coincide with the premier of season 5 of "Game of Thrones."
The company announced last year that it was looking to offer HBO content outside of cable and satellite subscriptions.
"In 2015, we will launch a standalone, over-the-top HBO service in the United States. We will work with our current partners," said HBO CEO Richard Plepler. "And we will explore models with new partners. All in, there are 80 million homes that do not have HBO and we will use all means at our disposal to go after them."
It looks like HBO has been aggressively working to make that a reality, and this could be a big step towards convincing Comcast and other providers to start unbundling channels from subscriptions.