HBO GO Confirmed For TiVo

Dave Zatz —  December 6, 2015

As we await the TiVo WWE app and long overdue Hulu refresh, a Google alert tripped several weeks back has seemingly confirmed HBO GO will also be on the docket. I’ve got no pretty marketing materials or photographic evidence to share with you, just an HBO GO config file … with 288 provider references to TiVo. And, thus far, Comcast won’t be blocking TiVo owners from accessing HBO GO. I expect Roamio, Mini, and Bolt hardware will partake whenever the time comes. A December announcement would be ideal, given the critical holiday shopping period. But, dependent upon where TiVo is in the development cycle, they could conceivably be holding back for a CES unveil.

tivo-hbogo

There’s no evidence yet of support for the cord cutter-centric HBO NOW streaming service and it appears release of an OTA-only Bolt is stalled. Yet I expect both to eventually turn up.

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42 responses to HBO GO Confirmed For TiVo

  1. I assume HBO is prime on comms. However, I’d think TiVo would have some input.

  2. Considering Showtime anytime is also an over the top application I wonder why it’s not available as a TiVo streaming app?

  3. “a Google alert tripped several weeks back has seemingly confirmed HBO GO will also be on the docket.”

    What was this alert? What did it say, and where was it from? (If you can reveal, of course.)

    I completely believe the config file as full confirmation, but I’m just curious how this intentionally or unintentionally got leaked.

    “There’s no evidence yet of support for the cord cutter-centric HBO NOW streaming service”

    Did you ever try/manage to find the equivalent ‘affiliates’ config file for HBO NOW? My brief attempt at amateur sleuthing couldn’t find it, but you’re far better at this than me…

  4. As a beta tester, I have no comment on this ;)

  5. Michael, It’s up to the content providers if they’ll invest resources developing for TiVo, who has a relatively small footprint… I’m surprised they’re as successful recruiting as they are. Although it leads to situations like we saw with Amazon and now with Hulu, that they don’t always come back around for updates in a timely fashion.

    Chucky, I suspect HBO NOW is using a newer platform, outsourced to MLB. So the technical dynamics differ. http://www.theverge.com/2015/8/4/9090897/mlb-bam-live-streaming-internet-tv-nhl-hbo-now-espn

    Regarding Internet sleuthing, I say “Google alert” in the generic sense as I employ a number of canned searches, page monitoring tools, page monitoring tools monitoring Google searches, etc. Some are free and some even my shoestring budget can support.

  6. “Regarding Internet sleuthing, I say “Google alert” in the generic sense as I employ a number of canned searches, page monitoring tools, page monitoring tools monitoring Google searches, etc.”

    If, and only if, you feel like revealing the thing that tipped you off, I’m still curious. Were you monitoring that particular config file, or did you somehow pick up traces of the beta tester program, or what?

    “I suspect HBO NOW is using a newer platform, outsourced to MLB. So the technical dynamics differ.”

    If Go is still in-house, that’s really, really bizarre. I well remember reading the news that they were outsourcing to MLB, but I just figured it was obvious that they’d put both almost identical services in the same place. I simply can’t imagine any potential upside for them in keeping Go in-house by itself.

    (And even that article you linked seems to strongly imply they moved Go to MLB…)

  7. Could someone explain the benefit of getting HBO GO on TiVo? I am an HBO subscriber and TiVo owner.

    I see the benefit in getting WatchESPN, as it would allow me acces to games/events not already available via ESPN channels.

  8. Albanyhdtv, I would view the benefit as being access to full library of HBO shows (as even if you have Comcast on demand, xfinity on demand won’t have everything and I’ve had a bunch of flakiness with getting the on demand platform to reliably work on TiVo. Also benefit in I guess saving hard drive space on various movies or shows you haven’t had a chance to catch up on. But yes, I agree the benefit would be marginal for me.

  9. Excellent news indeed! If I go with an internet + HBO package from Comcast next year, having an HBO Go app on my TiVo Roamio OTA would be a very welcome addition. Although I’d probably rather just get internet service alone and then subscribe to HBO Now for a few months here and there.

    HBO has stated that they intend to bring HBO Now to all platforms that have HBO Go, so if TiVo gets HBO Go in the next several weeks, I expect HBO Now to follow before next season of Game of Thrones debuts. (I’m aware that HBO Now works on the superior streaming infrastructure of MLB as opposed to HBO Go’s in-house tech but I wonder how much difference that actually makes in the codebase of the end-user client application? The UI is pretty much the same between HBO Go and HBO Now on a given device. I would think that the two apps share a fair amount of codebase on the same device.)

    Now if my preferred premium service, Showtime, would only bring their OTT app to TiVo maybe I can set up a OnePass for Billions when it debuts in January. (Or, at the very least, maybe we’ll get an updated app from Hulu or Amazon that will support Showtime as an add-on.)

    http://variety.com/2015/digital/news/amazon-video-subscription-bundlea-1201648991/

  10. Hopefully they update both HBO and WWE apps at the same time and soon.

  11. “Could someone explain the benefit of getting HBO GO on TiVo? I am an HBO subscriber and TiVo owner.”

    Seriously? To be honest, I’m not sure I really understand your question.

    Is it: what is the benefit of HBO Go for anyone with a DVR?

    If so, well, as Dsbatt001 noted, you get the full HBO catalog. So if you want the back seasons, or back episodes of the current season of a show you just started watching, well, there it is. And there is the (heavily likely) possibility of you not having recorded something you then discover you might want to watch. For one example of many, HBO has a pretty incredible documentary division that usually runs their programming a few times, but then sits there on HBO Go for a long time. I have a kickass TiVo, but I’ve loved HBO Go since its rollout. Also, as Dsbatt001 notes, you can watch shows you didn’t think you were interested in enough to blow hard drive space on.

    Or is it: what is the benefit of HBO Go specifically being on TiVo?

    If so, the big advantage for me is OnePass. I currently watch pretty much all OTT except HBO Go via OnePass, since I much prefer the unified ‘one place’ UI, over navigating each individual balkanized OTT UI. And adding HBO Go to TiVo integrates it into the universal search, which is also a biggie. Finally, it means not having to switch inputs to Roku just for HBO Go. But, again, OnePass is really the game-changer for me.

    Finally, don’t forget that it adds updog capability.

  12. “Although I’d probably rather just get internet service alone and then subscribe to HBO Now for a few months here and there.”

    I find it very difficult to believe that HBO Now won’t be rolled out either simultaneously, or soon after, the HBO Go rollout.

    The only way I don’t see this coming to pass is if Time-Warner had to promise the MSO’s not to bring HBO Now to TiVo in order to get them to not block HBO Go on TiVo. But I think that scenario is heavily unlikely. At very, very worst, I can imagine Time-Warner agreeing to give HBO Go a short limited exclusive window on TiVo to mollify the MSO’s, but even that just means a short wait for HBO Now.

    (Contra Dave, I’ve always thought the impediment to bringing HBO Go to TiVo was not Time-Warner, but instead the refusal of the MSO’s to authorize HBO Go on an input 1 competitor. That’s why I’ve always thought HBO now changed the game with HBO Now. At that point, Time-Warner could tell the MSO’s that it was going to rollout both services for TiVo, and dare them to block HBO Go, which they wouldn’t do, since it would go against the MSO’s own incentives.)

  13. Thanks for the responses. If there’s a show I want to watch on HBO, I set a season pass on the TiVo and watch it when I have time. If I’m away from home, I can watch the HBO GO app on my iPad.

    From these explainations, I understand the benefit of HBO GO on TiVo to be access to shows no longer available on HBO On-Demand. This is not a measurable benefit for me, as I am not the the type of person who would look to watch an old, previously watched, episode of The Sopranos or Boardwalk Empire.

    The more apps they add to TiVo, the better. My TIVo experience would benefit more from the addition of a WatchESPN app so I don’t have to fumble through trying to use my FireTV stick to watch live sports via the WatchESPN app.

  14. As a TiVo owner on Verizon, I don’t have access to On Demand… and many shows I learn about after they’ve begun. Further, I haven’t yet gotten around to watching Newsroom or Silicon Valley, so the HBO GO library is beneficial. Beyond original series, they also have documentaries, as Chucky mentioned, comics, films, and other things I may not have known to record but would enjoy. I agree the ESPN is a tentpole service – we’ll see if they’re willing to invest on the TiVo platform.

  15. “If there’s a show I want to watch on HBO, I set a season pass on the TiVo”

    But you never forget to schedule a show? You never miss something in the listings that you later discover on HBO Go? If so, you’re a better man than me. (And I’m damn good at checking the schedule once a week and setting up recordings.)

    “I am not the the type of person who would look to watch an old, previously watched, episode of The Sopranos or Boardwalk Empire.”

    But you’ve never had the experience of not initially being interested in a series or indiviudal show, thus not recording it, and then wanting to watch it for the first time? I certainly have. I absolutely love Time-Warner Original Programming, but with only a 3TB hard drive, you can’t record everything they throw at us.

    “I understand the benefit of HBO GO on TiVo to be access to shows no longer available on HBO On-Demand.”

    Don’t forget that not all MSO’s offer On-Demand. (Mine doesn’t.) And as Dsbatt001 notes, MSO On-Demand seems to have a large number of fairly serious QoS complaints compared to HBO Go.

    And again, don’t forget the big advantage of updog.

  16. “I agree the ESPN is a tentpole service – we’ll see if they’re willing to invest on the TiVo platform.”

    Going by my thesis outlined upthread about MSO’s being the crucial veto point on what MSO-authorized services come to TiVo, contra Dave, ESPN has zero leverage to force the issue without a standalone service.

    So I don’t think there is any way in hell ESPN is coming, and I don’t think it’s Disney’s decision.

  17. bump for that weird WP bug…

  18. “Further, I haven’t yet gotten around to watching Newsroom or Silicon Valley”

    You will enjoy Silicon Valley, kind sir. Mike Judge + the tech absurdity you partially follow. Mike Judge, fergawdsakes…

  19. steve lunceford December 7, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    With this, I’d only be missing native multicast to have my Roamio be my one box…though I’d like to see the small issue I’m seeing with data from streaming services fixed: http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=533574

  20. This is important to us “almost” cord cutters! I have the Comcast Internet Plus plan which includes Internet service, limited basic channels (read: OTA channels) plus HBO channels. While the Xfinity On Demand is nice, as noted above, it does not include the entire HBO library. The price point for Internet Plus was very appealing, and you get a $2.50 credit each month for customer owned equipment (Tivo with Cablecard).

  21. n.b @ Tim:

    MitchB’s comment is an example of the logic of why we possibly wouldn’t see an HBO Now rollout on TiVo simultaneously with the HBO Go rollout, with a potential ‘exclusive period’ delay, or something more serious.

    Comcast is the nation’s biggest MSO, and they seem to have some kind of mutual ‘entente cordiale’ thing going on with Time-Warner’s HBO division that they both believe helps themselves.

    So in that ‘entente cordiale’ spirit, I could imagine that in the minor backwater of TiVo-land, Comcast could ask and get some kind of delay or hold on HBO Now.

    Again, don’t think a permanent stop is likely, and don’t think even a delay is probable, but that’s the logic in my mind behind the concept of lack of simultaneousness…

  22. I wonder if there is any hope for us Premiere users. I know the new stuff seems to have stopped trickling down to Premiere users – like the commercial skip feature only trickled down to Roamio. But with a lifetime service investment on my 2-tuner Premiere, it would be nice to get HBO Go on my Premiere, rather than switch to my XBox 360’s HBO Go app everytime I want to watch HBO VOD.

  23. @Chucky: Yep, I agree that we’ll likely see HBO Now come to TiVo after HBO Go does, if not at the same time. As the head of HBO Go & Now states in this interview, “The end goal is to get HBO Now to parity with HBO Go in terms of the number of different devices we support.”

    http://www.theverge.com/2015/7/16/8975777/hbo-go-now-streaming-bernadette-aulestia

    Given that TiVo is traditionally associated with cable subscribers (and I’m sure there are currently more folks who use TiVo with cable than without), it makes sense that HBO first puts its resources toward an HBO Go client for TiVo. But once HBO Go is on a device, HBO Now follows. Eight months after its debut, HBO Now is available on every platform that has HBO Go with the exception of Samsung Smart TVs.

  24. As an HBO subscriber for over 10 years, after having looked around the HBO Go per my MVPD, I can tell you there are MANY, MANY, shows, HBO Films and Documentaries and Specials that I had NEVER noticed to catch on my hunt for content over the years. HBO Go/Now is about a lot more than old Sopranos or other well-known HBO content. Believe me, when you get the chance to poke around YOU WILL find compelling content that you missed the first time around when they aired, especially documentaries and specials, but also, for me, I had missed the HBO Mini-Seires “Mildred Pierce” with Kate Winslet who gives a tremendous performance that would make any actor feel inadequate, and it is an interesting contrast to the great Joan Crawford film, with HBO’s Emmy winning production allowing far more time to stay faithful to the book in both amount of content and its mature content that was verboten back in 1940’s Hollywood.

    OK, have I sold the value of any of these OTT apps of premium services. As stated, have we all not forgotten to set recordings or be told to watch an older HBO show by friends we knew about the first time, but upon accessing on HBO GO/Now, we find we like them?

  25. Avik, Premiere is not out of the question given similar Haxe underpinnings. Time will tell.

  26. “I had missed the HBO Mini-Seires “Mildred Pierce” with Kate Winslet who gives a tremendous performance”

    Yeah. Mildred Pierce is absolutely phenomenal. And you’re dead-on in its fidelity to the novel. But it’s not just the great Winslet. The supporting performances are all incredible too. And it’s helmed by the genius Todd Haynes, in his best work since Safe. I think I’ve watched it four times by now. I also think if they’d released it theatrically on two screens for week before bringing it to HBO in order to qualify, it would’ve been a genuine contender for the Best Picture Oscar® that year.

    Some of the other HBO mini-series are also pretty phenomenal, if not quite as good as Mildred Pierce. I recommend checking out Olive Kitteridge and Show Me a Hero

  27. “Considering Showtime anytime is also an over the top application I wonder why it’s not available as a TiVo streaming app?”

    Ask and ye shall receive. (As long as we’re not talking the kind attached to your cable-sub the way HBO Go is.) Amazon today launched a streaming partners program that integrates numerous services into Amazon Video, including Showtime. The only catch is that you have to be a Prime member.

    So, while we’ll have to wait for someone to test it on a TiVo to make 100% sure, it seems highly likely that you can now get standalone (non-cable-sub) Showtime on your TiVo via Amazon…

  28. Re: Showtime & Amazon Streaming Partners on TiVo:

    One thing I realized, while I think it’s highly likely this will all show up on the Amazon TiVo app, will it show up in TiVo integrated search, and thus for OnePass?

    That seems as if it’d be extra work on TiVo’s part. But maybe Amazon will just provide a simple API that works like their other stuff does. And then it’s only simple work on TiVo’s part. Who knows? But I did wonder…

  29. Yep, I alluded to the possibility of Amazon offering Showtime in my original post here a couple days ago. I haven’t tried it myself yet but I’ve read elsewhere that someone has signed up for the free Starz trial via Amazon Prime and they’re seeing that content available to them through the Amazon Video app on TiVo. So that’s promising. (Please let Showtime content be in 1080p24!) And yes, Chucky, I too am wondering about whether this new add-on content will be integrated into TiVo’s OnePass. I REALLY hope so as I, like you, am a big fan of OnePass. It wouldn’t surprise me if the stuff from smaller providers is not but it seems likely that we’ll see Showtime and Starz content in OnePass if the app supports it. If all this turns out favorably, I’ll probably switch my Showtime subscription from their standalone app (which I access on Apple TV) and to Amazon Prime. Between Plex earlier this year, possibly now Showtime and hopefully HBO Now next year, TiVo may finally become the complete TV box I’ve been hoping for since I bought it last spring…

  30. “I’ve read elsewhere that someone has signed up for the free Starz trial via Amazon Prime and they’re seeing that content available to them through the Amazon Video app on TiVo. “

    We have reliable confirmation!

    “Please let Showtime content be in 1080p24!”

    Of course it will be. One of the reasons to outsource this stuff to Amazon in the first place is that, beyond billing, they totally kick ass at fulfillment.

    “I too am wondering about whether this new add-on content will be integrated into TiVo’s OnePass. I REALLY hope so as I, like you, am a big fan of OnePass. It wouldn’t surprise me if the stuff from smaller providers is not but it seems likely that we’ll see Showtime and Starz content in OnePass if the app supports it. If all this turns out favorably,”

    It’s an interesting tech engineering / corporate strategy thought experiment.

    Considering that TiVo search currently works via the user specifying which services they subscribe to, this could turn out three ways, I think:

    1) Amazon somehow provides an API for ‘streaming partners’ that automatically allows devices like TiVo to determine what an authenticated user has access to.

    2) Amazon provides a simpler API that allows devices like TiVo to have access to what a user is subscribing to if, and only if, they specify which individual streaming partners they sub-subscribe to.

    3) Amazon bogarts all this metadata, in order to privilege Fire hardware.

    Remember, this is not just a TiVo issue. This also affects Roku, and the entire Amazon Video 3rd party hardware ecosystem. Roku has universal search as well, y’know. So the seemingly minor issue of search is a genuine fork in the road for Amazon Video in deciding if they want to keep being the open Amazon Video service we’ve all grown to know and love, or become something else not nearly as attractive…

  31. I’d given that some thought too, Chucky, and I envisioned #2 as the most likely scenario, given the way things already work on TiVo and the lesser amount of work it would require from Amazon. But I admit that option #3 hadn’t really crossed my mind. It’s certainly possible. Let’s hope Amazon doesn’t go down that road.

    Maybe I’m being a little greedy here but I’d also love to see Amazon update their TiVo app to include instant replay (using the proper TiVo remote button, por favor), video preview during FF and rewind, and a top level menu shortcut to add-on subscriptions. If you want to be users’ main subscription video hub, give all your clients a first class UI.

  32. The Amazon press release may provide some clues. Also, from some of the commentary at AFTVNews, it seems at least a percent of the content is coming directly from Amazon.

    http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=176060&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=2121003

    http://www.aftvnews.com/amazon-launches-add-on-subscription-service-for-tv-networks-and-media-collections/

  33. Assuming someone has HBO Go on a TiVo….
    Does anyone know Which Device you choose to Activate?
    I cannot find a way to turn Off Close Captions.

  34. Showtime on Tivo is available now through Hulu.

  35. “Showtime on Tivo is available now through Hulu.”

    Show up in search, and thus for OnePass?

  36. Showtime is available through Hulu IF you have a Bolt and therefore the updated Hulu app. Those of us with Roamios and Premieres are still waiting. Dave, any word on if/when we’ll get the new Hulu app? And any word on an update to TiVo’s Amazon Video app to support add-on subscriptions (as is already the case in the app for iOS)? I’m trying Showtime through Amazon on my Roamio right now and have never seen it look better — excellent 1080p24 video quality! Looking forward to the season finale of The Affair this Sunday night.

    As for HBO Go on TiVo — maybe they’re waiting until CES to announce? Or possibly early Feb. before the kickoff of the next season of series?

  37. As far as I can tell, HBO Go is now not available through Tivo with Comcast service.

    Is this the case with everyone?

  38. Scott, also not working for me but it showed up on my Tivo today. What gives?

  39. Also showed up on my Tivo, but cannot seem to activate it since the hbogo.com/activate link doesn’t seem to list Comcast/Xfinity as one of the approved service providers for Tivo

  40. Tried using an AppleTV as the choice of device, rather than Tivo just to see if the selection of providers changes, and indeed Xfinity is now visible as one of the choices. However when you get the the next screen and enter in the device code for a Tivo, the page generates the following error:

    Your affiliate does not support this device.

  41. I assume Comcast would rather you use their VOD service instead.

  42. Time Warner is also not (yet?) listed as a cable provider that supports Tivo. Bummer.