HBO Created Apple TV App Entirely In-House, Still Shackled By Cable Companies


HBO Go and ESPN recently got added to the Apple TV, but only if you pay a hefty, monthly sum to a cable or satellite company for a bunch of other channels you never watch. The TV industry is evidently broken. You can have unlimited access to stream HD content for the price of a couple cups of coffee each month, but you can’t pay for HBO a la carte.

The Apple TV is slowly but surely becoming a more formidable media player with the addition of apps like HBO Go. But developers still can’t create apps and submit them to an Apple TV App Store; Apple handpicks partners to work with.

The Verge has a story on HBO and the Apple TV:

Getting HBO Go on the Apple TV might have taken longer had HBO not begun to boost the number of engineers working at the company’s new development center in Seattle. Apple TV was the first app that HBO created completely in-house, said Berkes, a former Microsoft executive who started at HBO two years ago. Prior to Apple TV, HBO teamed with third parties on its apps, but “this was 100 percent created by our software and design staff,” Berkes said. “It marks a turning point. I would say we’re two times faster than just a year ago, and that will increase over time.”

The piece also highlights how traditional cable companies still have their hands around the necks of tech companies like Apple and content creators. For instance, DirecTV was blocking HBO Go on the Apple TV until this morning. DirecTV customers who have purchased the right to watch HBO could not use their logins for the HBO Go Apple TV app until DirecTV removed the block. The fact that such a scenario could even occur is downright asinine.

The TV industry needs some major disruption. Hopefully Apple can start shaking things up.

  • Whodakat

    Great work HBO, its a good thing you brought the design all in house… so that you can make it look like every other AppleTV app there is. Kudos to you.

    By the way, I’m heading over to Pirate Bay now to watch some GOT. I’d gladly pay you for your excellent content, but I don’t need 300 channels of crap for $100/month. So a’torrenting we go!

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a journalist and co-host of The CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." He lives in Lexington, Kentucky. If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Follow him on Twitter.

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