While the Apple Watch was announced for a second time this week, one of the more fascinating aspects of the 90 minute press event was Apple TV-centric. And the three-year old streaming hardware sees an immediate price drop from $99 to $69, undercutting both the Roku 3 and Amazon Fire TV. Despite the discount, I’d still recommend the Roku 3 to most given a much larger app catalog and their unbeatable universal search. Yet, the dynamics may shift … for a bit, anyway.
Beyond the highly compelling Airplay and iTunes integration, for those deep into Apple, HBO NOW will be an exclusive Apple TV offering when it launches in April for $15/month. Unlike HBO GO, the streaming service bundled with many cable and satellite providers, HBO NOW will be available to anyone with an Apple product and an Internet connection. I’d strongly suspected the foreshadowed service would launch exclusively with ISPs to largely preserve the status quo. But HBO is moving forward with a clearly agnostic, tho still strategic, approach… that may yet involve our Internet providers:
HBO continues to be in discussions with its existing network of distributors and new digital partners to offer HBO NOW. At launch, HBO NOW will be available on iOS devices and on PCs.
In terms of content, HBO NOW seems quite similar to HBO GO… and it’s the new release movies that may help justify the price premium over Netflix fees.
HBO NOW provides instant access to HBO’s acclaimed programming. Watch every episode of every season of the best series programming, more of the biggest and latest Hollywood hit movies, original HBO Films, groundbreaking documentaries, sports, and comedy and music specials.
At the end of the day, HBO LATER via Amazon Prime remains the best value at $99/year… but obviously isn’t suitable for folks needing a relatively real-time fix, of say, Game of Thrones. Regardless of how or where one receives HBO content, things have surely changed for them and Apple since their days of actively blocking access.