HBO Now went live on iOS and Apple TV Tuesday. The standalone service allows users to get HBO content without a cable or satellite TV subscription. It was announced on March 9th for a premier in April, and that day in April is at hand—just in the nick of time for Game of Thrones season 5.
Apple TV - HBO Now
The deal is exclusive to Apple TV and iOS devices for the first three months, and the announcement was timed with a price drop on Apple TV to $69, down from $99. Apple has a web page dedicated to the service that notes that if you sign up for HBO Now before April 30th, you will get your first month for free. From that page:
Subscribe to HBO right from your Apple TV or iOS device — no cable or satellite subscription required. With HBO NOW, you get instant access to every episode of every season of HBO’s award-winning original shows and Hollywood blockbusters. HBO NOW is available for just $14.99 a month — with no long-term contract or commitment. Sign up on your Apple TV, iPad, or iPhone before April 30, 2015, and get the first month free.
HBO Now represents a significant step towards streaming TV content without the need for legacy cable or satellite TV subscription services. HBO and Showtime—both producers of popular original programming—have held the line on requiring a cable subscription, but that line has officially been smudged.
HBO Now on iOS
Apple's exclusive deal for HBO Now was timed to coincide with season 5 of Game of Thrones, one of the most popular programs of all time. It's also a heavily pirated show, something that may have helped push HBO into finally making this move to separate itself from cable TV.
Game of Thrones season 5 premiers on Sunday, April 12th.