Cable providers still leery of Apple TV, some refuse to authenticate 'HBO Go' app

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
In an interview on Thursday, HBO's CTO Otto Berkes outlined the troubles in bringing a totally in-house app to the Apple TV, but the bigger challenge may be getting content to customers as a number of cable providers are blocking subscribers from using the app.

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Otto told The Verge that one of the biggest technical challenges in bringing HBO Go to Apple TV was delivering the company's vault of video content in a high-quality, but compressed format. While daunting, the app launch underscored another problem: getting cable providers to view over-the-top boxes like the Apple TV as a benefit, not competition.

Apple announced availability of the HBO Go, WatchESPN and other channels on Wednesday, touting the streaming options as a boon for Apple TV owners. With the proliferation of Internet set-top boxes, service providers are becoming uneasy, perhaps fearing that the streamers will one day boot them out of the living room.

In response, a few cable and satellite companies that already carry HBO and ESPN are refusing to authenticate mobile or set-top boxes for streaming. According to the publication, Charter Communications doesn't authenticate HBO Go for Apple TV, while Dish won't authenticate ESPN. Other providers like Comcast have similar restrictions for Roku.

One person with knowledge of the situation said, "Affiliates are always initially hesitant about things connected to the TV. They were nervous."

There was also discord among Apple TV owners regarding the subscription arrangement required for viewing, but the setup may be a way to assuage cable and satellite company fears that attached Internet streamers will take over.

While still leery, the cable and satellite companies are looking at HBO Go as a possible positive as its performance on other platforms has increased Internet distribution and may help to keep subscribers. Although good news for some, this likely means that paying separately for HBO content through Apple TV or another form of streaming without a subscription is out of the question. At least for now.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 78
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,802member
    Eventually cable companies will get to the point that we pay as much for our internet subscription as we did both both internet and TV not long ago. Every year it seems the rate goes up. If we had real competition for broadband in more than just a few select areas then perhaps they would wield less power. Those people in Chattanooga are indeed very lucky and I hope more towns follow their example.

    Nothing they can do will keep more and more people from cutting the chord. If not for a very few select cable channels I would do so myself.
  • Reply 2 of 78
    dagamer34dagamer34 Posts: 494member
    Or they can cut the cord and borrow someone else's login. Even better!
  • Reply 3 of 78
    allenbfallenbf Posts: 993member
    I hate cable/satellite companies. Aereo will be in my area this fall. As soon as they arrive, I am signing up and canceling Direct TV.

    Netflix, Hulu and Aereo: that is all my family needs. Well those and 3 more Apple TVs! We will save almost $90 per month.
  • Reply 4 of 78
    llamallama Posts: 101member
    Wow, looks like DirecTV and DirecTV Puerto Rico customers can activate Apple TV devices now! Apple must have kicked some ass to get them to relent as the Roku is *still* not able to activate HBO Go.
  • Reply 5 of 78
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member
    They know it will be their death; I can see why they're hesitant.

    The problem, then, is Apple not demanding separate terms for these things. They've sent out an update with unusable features for many; that can't fly.
  • Reply 6 of 78
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,723member
    My AppleTV is no more than an adjunct to my cable/TiVo combination that is the workhorse of my home entertainment. Since I already get HBO and much more directly, HBO2Go is only a minor convenience. We already have programmed what we want to see on TiVo so it's always there when we want it. Also, the ATV remote is a joke. It is way too easy to hit the select button in the middle when trying to hit the ring around it. Hard to believe Steve ever used that thing on a regular basis. He'd have thrown it against the wall.
  • Reply 7 of 78
    williamlondonwilliamlondon Posts: 1,163member


    I know this is more a political/philosophical question, but why is this legal? Why are companies allowed to filter information you get when you subscribe to *the internet*? If these services have physical representations, meaning store fronts, would private companies be allowed to prevent you from entering them? How is this possible? These companies have entirely too much control and power, imnsho.

  • Reply 8 of 78
    mknoppmknopp Posts: 257member
    Can a class action lawsuit be brought for anti-competitive policies? Because, if any of these cable providers are also ISPs then this is pretty much the definition of anti-competitive practices.
  • Reply 9 of 78


    This seems ripe for anti-trust litigation. The only reason that the cable providers are able to prevent HBO from selling to me directly is their position as a monopoly. There is a historical precedent for this in POTS in the 1980s.

  • Reply 10 of 78
    christophbchristophb Posts: 1,482member
    I know this is more a political/philosophical question, but why is this legal? Why are companies allowed to filter information you get when you subscribe to *the internet*? If these services have physical representations, meaning store fronts, would private companies be allowed to prevent you from entering them? How is this possible? These companies have entirely too much control and power, imnsho.

    Because The Internet is a collection of private networks owned by companies who cooperate when it is in the mutual interest. Take a look back at The Internet ('80s) when commerce was not permitted. Look what happened to AoL and Compuserve when that commerce rule changed. Imagine everyone in your neighborhood permitted to use your wifi access to The Internet and you had no say in the terms of use. That is what it is like when content providers host on small backbones and expect global providers to provide transport for free.

    Their control and power come from the size and capacity of their networks. Bigger boys host more companies (typically) and host more end users. Tier 1 providers are Tier 1 because they are large enough that lesser backbones pay them for transit. Research who pays for the IETF and how RIRs are funded. It ain't public anymore.
  • Reply 11 of 78
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,802member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by allenbf View Post



    I hate cable/satellite companies. Aereo will be in my area this fall. As soon as they arrive, I am signing up and canceling Direct TV.



    Netflix, Hulu and Aereo: that is all my family needs. Well those and 3 more Apple TVs! We will save almost $90 per month.


    Lucky, I wish I had that option. I wonder if Aero will be able to spread nationwide because I would love to do that as well. 


     


    I think congress let cable companies get away with bloody murder because they are about the only group less popular than congress. 

  • Reply 12 of 78
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member


    The Internet needs to be separated form cable TV. The cities own most of the streets and greenways where the telephone poles and underground conduit are installed so they could make it happen if they wanted to. There needs to be more regulation in my opinion. The cable companies should be allowed to provide either TV or Internet, not both. Phone is irrelevant because soon no residence will have a land line anyway.

  • Reply 13 of 78
    christophbchristophb Posts: 1,482member
    gwmac wrote: »
    Lucky, I wish I had that option. I wonder if Aero will be able to spread nationwide because I would love to do that as well. 

    I think congress let cable companies get away with bloody murder because they are about the only group less popular than congress. 

    It is also a leverage game. Customers complain to Disney and perhaps Disney bolts up peering directly to that providers backbone. Or customers complain more loudly to the provider and the provider yields, turns off the filters at their peering points and pays for more transit toward that service.

    This isn't much different than content owners negotiating deals to add-on the lesser content using the hit shows as leverage.

    I think what scares traditional, cable providers the most is LTE evolving to bandwidth levels coupled with multicasting to virtually level the laying field. Verizon, Sprint, AT&T (U.S. examples on a .com forum) are the future.
  • Reply 14 of 78
    williamlondonwilliamlondon Posts: 1,163member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ChristophB View Post





    Because The Internet is a collection of private networks owned by companies who cooperate when it is in the mutual interest. Take a look back at The Internet ('80s) when commerce was not permitted. Look what happened to AoL and Compuserve when that commerce rule changed. Imagine everyone in your neighborhood permitted to use your wifi access to The Internet and you had no say in the terms of use. That is what it is like when content providers host on small backbones and expect global providers to provide transport for free.



    Their control and power come from the size and capacity of their networks. Bigger boys host more companies (typically) and host more end users. Tier 1 providers are Tier 1 because they are large enough that lesser backbones pay them for transit. Research who pays for the IETF and how RIRs are funded. It ain't public anymore.


     


    Yeah, I understand this, but it's interesting to note that in the early days of AOL and Compuserve (days I remember well, those good ole days of yore<grin>), the connection to them was via your phone line, and never once was my phone company able to restrict or block any content that I accessed on AOL or Compuserve (I had accounts with both companies for years). So, again, I ask why it's legal that a similar connection to the outside world, which really is a monopoly industry in that you do *not* have many (or sometimes more than 1) options to get connectivity to this outside world, is allowed to restrict your access to it? How is this different from roads into the commercial centre of town, or roads to your friends and families' houses? These companies are allowed to restrict access to this content, what's to stop them from restricting access to your friends and family?


     


    The next question I'd ask someone in this discussion (not to you specifically, though of course happy to discuss this with you) is this: if you're content with things the way they are, is there any reason you'd choose to prevent our changing it?

  • Reply 15 of 78
    christophbchristophb Posts: 1,482member
    mstone wrote: »
    The Internet needs to be separated form cable TV. The cities own most of the streets and greenways where the telephone poles and underground conduit are installed so they could make it happen if they wanted to. There needs to be more regulation in my opinion. The cable companies should be allowed to provide either TV or Internet, not both. Phone is irrelevant because soon no residence will have a land line anyway.

    Man, the public utility commissions are what prevents more than 2 providers from showing up in brand new neighborhoods; determine rules for new cell towers. These entities are all about regulating but their priorities include equal service in rural, less populace, higher cost to deliver service areas.
  • Reply 16 of 78
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by gwmac View Post




     wish I had that option. I wonder if Aero will be able to spread nationwide because I would love to do that as well. 



    It is so easy to set up your own over the air HDTV, I live close enough to Los Angeles that I can get all the over the air stations on my antenna which is installed inside the attic so no unsightly outdoor equipment and the quality is so much better than cable because the signal is totally uncompressed. The quality is just pristine. You can really notice the difference.

  • Reply 17 of 78
    Anyone get HBOGO to work yet?

    It sends you to hbogo.com/activate > login to provider (no problem) then it gives you an activation code. Enter activation code and it says "Your device has been activated and is now ready to stream HBO GO."

    Hit back on AppleTV to hit play and it just keeps giving a new activation code.
  • Reply 18 of 78
    christophbchristophb Posts: 1,482member
    Yeah, I understand this, but it's interesting to note that in the early days of AOL and Compuserve (days I remember well, those good ole days of yore<grin>), the connection to them was via your phone line, and never once was my phone company able to restrict or block any content that I accessed on AOL or Compuserve (I had accounts with both companies for years). So, again, I ask why it's legal that a similar connection to the outside world, which really is a monopoly industry in that you do *not* have many (or sometimes more than 1) options to get connectivity to this outside world, is allowed to restrict your access to it? How is this different from roads into the commercial centre of town, or roads to your friends and families' houses? These companies are allowed to restrict access to this content, what's to stop them from restricting access to your friends and family?

    The next question I'd ask someone in this discussion (not to you specifically, though of course happy to discuss this with you) is this: if you're content with things the way they are, is there any reason you'd choose to prevent our changing it?

    What did you pay for a pots line back then? What if those providers you mentioned didn't have local dial numbers - didn't they charge a premium for (800) dial? Did AoL allow you access to Compuserve and vise versa? Did not some forums have an extra fee? I recall Novell's did but my memory is fading.

    Point is you always pay for transport access and companies have always steered you toward their hosted content. I.m for the consumer being the market force.

    Heck, in '91 I was paying $120 a month for 2Bs and a D + Internet access charges. And I considered myself fortunate for my choice in place to live. 18,000 ft from the C.O.
  • Reply 19 of 78
    williamlondonwilliamlondon Posts: 1,163member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    The Internet needs to be separated form cable TV. The cities own most of the streets and greenways where the telephone poles and underground conduit are installed so they could make it happen if they wanted to. There needs to be more regulation in my opinion. The cable companies should be allowed to provide either TV or Internet, not both. Phone is irrelevant because soon no residence will have a land line anyway.



     


    Not more regulation, just public control of these resources, such as roads (oh wait there is!) and communication connectivity. The cable companies should die a quick and painful death and the connection we get to the outside world should be to one of providers of services and content - there shouldn't be one or more companies digging up our roads, all making a bee-line to your pocket book in annuity form. The pipes are merely roads, and no one should should restrict our using them. They are paths, ways to connect one of us to the other - the fact one company can restrict our connections to each other in some way is abhorrent.

  • Reply 20 of 78
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,002member
    mstone wrote: »
    The Internet needs to be separated form cable TV. The cities own most of the streets and greenways where the telephone poles and underground conduit are installed so they could make it happen if they wanted to. There needs to be more regulation in my opinion. The cable companies should be allowed to provide either TV or Internet, not both. Phone is irrelevant because soon no residence will have a land line anyway.

    So you want to go back to this?
    400
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