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HBO shows coming to iTunes under new pricing structure?

post #1 of 36
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HBO, the premium television subsidiary of Time Warner, is reported to have reached an agreement with Apple that will see its hit television programming made available for purchase on iTunes in the next couple of weeks.

Citing HBO executives familiar with the deal, Portfolio reports that Apple has for the first time agreed to a separate and distinct pricing structure for a TV show provider, though it's not quite sure what that arrangement entails.

"One possibility is that HBO programming will have a higher retail price than the flat $1.99 fee Apple currently charges for video content," the publication said. "[A]nother is that HBO will receive a larger cut of the same flat rate than other iTunes content providers receive."

In either case, the deal would present exciting growth opportunities for both parties. HBO, which currently offers an online service only accessible to its television subscribers, would be able to tap a much broader audience in iTunes' 50 million registered users.

Meanwhile, offering HBO hits like "The Sopranos," "Entourage," and "The Wire," could help spur sales of Apple's fledging Apple TV set-top-box, which allows users to rent movies and purchase television shows from the iTunes store for viewing on their big-scren TVs directly from the comfort of their living room sofa.

Any move by Apple to instate a variable pricing structure for television content is likely to draw the attention of NBC Universal. The television studio last fall pulled all of its programming from iTunes amid a bitter feud with Apple in which the iTunes operator refused to allow it to set higher prices for some TV shows sold through service.
post #2 of 36
I hope HBO produced movies will be available also. Every once in a while they produce an interesting well acted/directed/produced show of value. \

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post #3 of 36
I would see a lot of value in that! I wonder how they would price--I can't imagine an hour of The Sopranos costing the same as a half hour comedy from ABC...
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post #4 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post

I hope HBO produced movies will be available also. Every once in a while they produce an interesting well acted/directed/produced show of value. \

I've heard good things about "John Adams."

Plus, by the time it gets to me, I won't think it is the prequel to The Nanny Diaries. (In both movies, Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney play the leading couple.)
post #5 of 36
Shows like the Sopranos have been available on other channels and DVD, and even in reruns for so long on HBO itself that it would be hard (for me) to justify paying for it on iPod or Apple TV.

But I agree... the HBO films would be very enticing.
post #6 of 36
me want some HBO world championship boxing
post #7 of 36
I would be willing to subscribe to HBO via iTunes only, leaving cable out of the picture entirely.

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post #8 of 36
Isn't apple shooting itself in the foot? If it agrees to different price structures for one network (especially if the network gets a larger slice of revenue), then the others are gonna want an increase share of the pie too...
post #9 of 36
Until videos/movies on iTunes gets its specs up to cable/ DVD standards Apple TV will never take off in its present format. It's been over a year now and the basic quality for an iTunes video/movie purchase is poor for watching on TV and acceptable only for iPods and iPhones for which they are optimized.
Apple TV needs either a disc drive, internet access meaning Safari, or recordability for it to really take off- IMO.
post #10 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

I would be willing to subscribe to HBO via iTunes only, leaving cable out of the picture entirely.

Not only is that brilliant, but I suspect its where we're going in the not-too-distant future...

post #11 of 36
Here's to hoping HBO posts some of it's older content on iTunes, as well: Not Necessarily the News, Dream on, the Appointments of Dennis Jennings, Larry Sanders show (though I know there may well be rights issues with regard to the music). This would be an outstanding opportunity to make some of that great content available w/o worrying about how much it would make dollars and cents wise in a DVD release. No overhead for online distribution=more likely more obscure, older content will be released. Here's to hoping, anyway.
post #12 of 36
I am often confused by the request of others to have Safari on the Apple TV. Usually in my house, if I want to use the Internet, I use my computer. I hate surfing the Internet on my PS3. To me it just seems like extra bloat. I rather them build in specific modules that access Internet content...kind of like they are doing with flickr, youtube, and .mac.

As a netflix subscriber, I would like them to allow me hook into Netflix's instant play content, but that is probably unlikely as they don't want to have it impact their iTunes sales.
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post #13 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by federmoose View Post

Isn't apple shooting itself in the foot? If it agrees to different price structures for one network (especially if the network gets a larger slice of revenue), then the others are gonna want an increase share of the pie too...

This actually wouldn't be the first time shows have had special pricing. I can't double-check right now (no iTunes on the work computer), but I believe a select number of shows, such as PBS's Nova, have a slightly higher price than the standard TV shows. In fact, I think some education genre shows from PBS are around $4-5/episode.

Nova, like many of HBO's shows, is considered to be a high quality production. Also like some HBO shows, many PBS episodes are sometimes longer than an hour (plus a 1-hour commercial TV show is really only about 45 minutes). This later fact may be a "loophole" for Apple to charge more for those episodes than for a standard commerical TV show.

PS: What I want to know is when are we going to get TV show rentals (@ $0.99 or $1.49) and/or HD TV shows? I don't need to own a show just because I missed an episode (if I want the whole season I'll buy the DVD). And I certainly don't need it taking up storage space. And HD would bring me tantilizingly close to cancelling my Comcast subscription!
post #14 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

And HD would bring me tantilizingly close to cancelling my Comcast subscription!

You've hit the nail on the head. Millions of people would defect tomorrow if these options were available.

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post #15 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Until videos/movies on iTunes gets its specs up to cable/ DVD standards Apple TV will never take off in its present format. It's been over a year now and the basic quality for an iTunes video/movie purchase is poor for watching on TV and acceptable only for iPods and iPhones for which they are optimized.
Apple TV needs either a disc drive, internet access meaning Safari, or recordability for it to really take off- IMO.

I'll agree with making it DVD quality (the problem there is that it would apparently leave out anything other than the newest iPods as even my 5th gen iPod wouldn't be able to play DVD quality). But please, please, please don't match Comcast's gawd-aweful cable quality! Give me a clean 720p over Comcast's 1080i any day!!!

I will 2nd your suggestion for an optical drive for AppleTV (or even the ability to play video_TS folders). Safari? Eh...whatever. DVR...nope, there's just no way to be successful playing that game with the cable companies, and a broadcast DVR is pointless for most people.
post #16 of 36
Until the TV shows have a higher bit rate, it doesn't really matter. On a larger TV they look fuzzy.
post #17 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by swim2383 View Post

Until the TV shows have a higher bit rate, it doesn't really matter. On a larger TV they look fuzzy.

How do the HD movies look on a big screen? I don't have an AppleTV so can't see for myself. The current TV shows are a bit fuzzy, but they are actually better on my 1080p plasma that I thought they'd be and are better than many cable SD shows.
post #18 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Moriarty View Post

I am often confused by the request of others to have Safari on the Apple TV. Usually in my house, if I want to use the Internet, I use my computer. I hate surfing the Internet on my PS3. To me it just seems like extra bloat. I rather them build in specific modules that access Internet content...kind of like they are doing with flickr, youtube, and .mac.

As a netflix subscriber, I would like them to allow me hook into Netflix's instant play content, but that is probably unlikely as they don't want to have it impact their iTunes sales.

When did AppleTV get a .Mac module?
post #19 of 36
Now were talkin!

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post #20 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

How do the HD movies look on a big screen? I don't have an AppleTV so can't see for myself. The current TV shows are a bit fuzzy, but they are actually better on my 1080p plasma that I thought they'd be and are better than many cable SD shows.

HD movies are good but you can't purchase them and the selection is limited. But the vast majority of everything else is smeary/blocky and worse than broadcast cable on a HDTV -40 inches. What are you using to watching your iTunes movies on your 1080p plasma? -an iPod?
post #21 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by swim2383 View Post

Until the TV shows have a higher bit rate, it doesn't really matter. On a larger TV they look fuzzy.

And blocky.
post #22 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

How do the HD movies look on a big screen? I don't have an AppleTV so can't see for myself. The current TV shows are a bit fuzzy, but they are actually better on my 1080p plasma that I thought they'd be and are better than many cable SD shows.

I can't really compare it to the HD offerings from Comcast (because I refuse to let them jack up my bill from the $14/month I pay now to over $100 for HD w/DVR, hence the reason I bought the TV in the first place). I did my first HD rental last week though (Stardust) and thought it looked amazing. I saw virtually no artifacting. Then again, I also watched my first purchased TV program on the TV (previously I'd watch them on my iPod Classic) and thought it looked just fine. I believe the SD encodes are DVD-quality, at least in terms of resolution, if not bitrate. Obviously they're not up to par with the ATSC HD local channels I get, but I'll take a loss of quality over commercials any day
post #23 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

and a broadcast DVR is pointless for most people.

Wans't that the whole point of a VCR - to record what's being broadcast to watch at a later time or to watch one program while recording another? It wasn't pointless for 30 years- how is it pointless now? Please elaborate.
post #24 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

HD movies are good but you can't purchase them and the selection is limited. But the vast majority of everything else is smeary/blocky and worse than broadcast cable on a HDTV -40 inches. What are you using to watching your iTunes movies on your 1080p plasma? -an iPod?

Playing off FrontRow. It's a matter of preference really. Personally, I'd prefer a little bit of softness in the picture than pixelation. I find pixelation (macroblocking, tiling, etc) to be very distracting. It's also very dependent on the scaler in your TV. My Panasonic plasma has a very good scaler to upsize the SD content. If you're TV's scaler isn't as good you are going to see more of the blockiness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Wans't that the whole point of a VCR - to record what's being broadcast to watch at a later time or to watch one program while recording another? It wasn't pointless for 30 years- how is it pointless now? Please elaborate.

Because 30 years ago you didn't have cable TV with 200 channels. You didn't have USA Nework, the History Channel, Discovery, Sci-Fi, BBC American, FX, and dozens of other cable-only channels. I'm not even sure if TBS and TNT were common on cable systems back then. The point being, 30 years ago 95% of the content was on NBC, CBS, ABC, and PBS. So if you could get those broadcast channels, you and your VCR were pretty much covered. But now there is so much stuff NOT on ANY broadcast channel that if you were limited to only watching broadcast you'd be missing out on a LOT of content.
post #25 of 36
Anyone remember Dream On from the late 80's ? That was a great HBO show. It would be nice to see some of the older HBO shows released. You can't find them on DVD.
post #26 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

Playing off FrontRow. It's a matter of preference really. Personally, I'd prefer a little bit of softness in the picture than pixelation. I find pixelation (macroblocking, tiling, etc) to be very distracting. It's also very dependent on the scaler in your TV. My Panasonic plasma has a very good scaler to upsize the SD content. If you're TV's scaler isn't as good you are going to see more of the blockiness.



Because 30 years ago you didn't have cable TV with 200 channels. You didn't have USA Nework, the History Channel, Discovery, Sci-Fi, BBC American, FX, and dozens of other cable-only channels. I'm not even sure if TBS and TNT were common on cable systems back then. The point being, 30 years ago 95% of the content was on NBC, CBS, ABC, and PBS. So if you could get those broadcast channels, you and your VCR were pretty much covered. But now there is so much stuff NOT on ANY broadcast channel that if you were limited to only watching broadcast you'd be missing out on a LOT of content.

1.) If the blockiness/smeariness/pixelation whatever is in the product sold, smoothing it over with a scaler is not really the answer. You can't fix the quallity of something that is not there to begin with. The product should be of higher quality to begin with when sold.

2.) The DVR has replaced the VCR. You really haven't answered how you would watch something at a later date which is what a DVR does. The last time I checked DVRs are still pretty popular in 2008. The number of channels available has nothing to do with the need to record something.
post #27 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

When did AppleTV get a .Mac module?

In the AppleTV take 2 software, you can view your photos and video on a .Mac member's web gallery.
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post #28 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

1.) If the blockiness/smeariness/pixelation whatever is in the product sold, smoothing it over with a scaler is not really the answer. You can't fix the quallity of something that is not there to begin with. The product should be of higher quality to begin with when sold.

2.) The DVR has replaced the VCR. You really haven't answered how you would watch something at a later date which is what a DVR does. The last time I checked DVRs are still pretty popular in 2008. The number of channels available has nothing to do with the need to record something.

1) If you are seeing blockiness in your Apple video there is something wrong with your setup. In my admittedly limited testing I see softness but not blockiness in video downloaded from the iTS. My guess is that if you are seeing blockiness there is a problem with your scaler. Compared to some of Comcast's SD channels (BBC America is a good example), Apple's video totally blows it away in picture quality. But I think we can all agree that it would be nice if Apple had HD TV shows, right?

2) Seriously? Do you think TiVo would still be in business if you could only record the 3 or 4 TV stations most people can get in over the air? Would you still be paying Comcast for DVR rental if they limited you to only being able to recording off 5 channels? I doubt it. So I stand by my point... given the cost of DVRs, do you really think they'd have been successful under those conditions? A very high percentage of American households have cable. (And and even higher percentage of those who could afford AppleTV have cable!) If you could only record broadcast channels, it would NOT be a selling point for AppleTV because you'd STILL have to pay the cable company (or TiVo) for the ability to record all those other channels (because, as I previously mentioned, at this time I don't think Apple would want to be playing the game of trying to make it work with cable). I agree the DVR functionality is highly desirable. I disagree that AppleTV is the place to implement it.
post #29 of 36
It looks like they are still getting the episodes up, but Sex and the City, The Wire, Deadwood, the Sopranos, Rome and Flight of the Conchords are all up right now.

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post #30 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by echosonic View Post

Not only is that brilliant, but I suspect its where we're going in the not-too-distant future...


Ding ding ding!

This is the endgame.
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post #31 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

1) If you are seeing blockiness in your Apple video there is something wrong with your setup. In my admittedly limited testing I see softness but not blockiness in video downloaded from the iTS. My guess is that if you are seeing blockiness there is a problem with your scaler. Compared to some of Comcast's SD channels (BBC America is a good example), Apple's video totally blows it away in picture quality. But I think we can all agree that it would be nice if Apple had HD TV shows, right?

Apple video quality blows a second or third tier channel away??? I really can't comment anymore if that's your analogy.
Have you ever bought any music videos on iTunes? Some are of embarrassingly poor quality.
post #32 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Moriarty View Post

In the AppleTV take 2 software, you can view your photos and video on a .Mac member's web gallery.

OK- but that's not a .Mac module. YouTube is a module. That's a partial module if anything. But I hear what you're saying.
post #33 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Apple video quality blows a second or third tier channel away??? I really can't comment anymore if that's your analogy.
Have you ever bought any music videos on iTunes? Some are of embarrassingly poor quality.

Point taken. I never watch "first-tier" channels in SD so I can't speak to their quality. I have Comcast's HD for all of those channels (only because I get it for free...their "bribe" to get me to stick with them when I threatened to disconnect service due to their frequent price hikes).

Still, I've never seen blockiness on any iTunes content, but I've never watched music videos (what's that, 5th tier? ) on my plasma. The only time I had problems with video quality on a TV show there was a strange black strip through the video. I emailed Apple, they immediately credited my account $1.99 and let me re-download it after they got the problem corrected (I assume they had to have the content provided re-encode the show and resubmit it to Apple).
post #34 of 36
The Apple monopoly on digital content is ridiculous. People need support other (legitimate) digital retailers and hardware manufactures so that Apple does not dictate what digital content you are allowed to buy, how much you should pay for it and what device you should watch it on. If you can help create an actual marketplace besides iTunes for digital content including music, you'll have actual competition that will set a fair market price and even promotions that will allow you to get it at cheaper than the market price.

You can start by buying Zunes, Sony Walkman devices or Creative devices and buying your music at Amazon.

Supporting the iPod / iTunes monopoly is the worst thing you could do for other consumers and yourself.
post #35 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTruthReadIt View Post

Supporting the iPod / iTunes monopoly is the worst thing you could do for other consumers and yourself.

Clearly you're a troll, unworthy of being fed, but I'm going to reply anyway because I completely disagree.

For the first time, iTunes has given the consumer a viable, practical, and legal method of bypassing cable and watching what we want, when we want it, commercial free. Others have tried and failed, Apple has succeeded. I'm more than happy to spend a few hundred a year to subscribe to the series I like to watch; that's far less than I'd pay Comcast, and (generally) I get better quality and no commercials.
post #36 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTruthReadIt View Post

The Apple monopoly on digital content is ridiculous. People need support other (legitimate) digital retailers and hardware manufactures so that Apple does not dictate what digital content you are allowed to buy, how much you should pay for it and what device you should watch it on. If you can help create an actual marketplace besides iTunes for digital content including music, you'll have actual competition that will set a fair market price and even promotions that will allow you to get it at cheaper than the market price.

You can start by buying Zunes, Sony Walkman devices or Creative devices and buying your music at Amazon.

Supporting the iPod / iTunes monopoly is the worst thing you could do for other consumers and yourself.

Apple is far from a music/video monopoly. To date (since iTunes inception) I've purchased more music on CD than downloads. As long as I can continue to get CDs delivered to my door in full CD 44.1k/16bit for less than $7 I'll continue to buy landfill clogging plastic discs.

Buying a Zune does nothing...buying a Sony walkman does nothing ..in fact Sony is the company that has attempted to thwart your music enjoyment through pervasive DRM. Creative devices do not appeal to me.

I have my options. iPod, which is best of breed DMP, and the tried and true Compact Disc or "object resembling a compact disc yet laden with some stupid DRM scheme".

Do people really think consumers are that obtuse? That suddenly the must kneel at Apple's musical alter and eat whatever gruel they serve?

Nay...I've plenty of options for my music enjoyment and they continue to expand ..much like the Universe.
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