HBONow

Before Netflix launched here last month there were an estimated 30,000 people accessing the US streaming service from New Zealand. To do so, customers were making the most of the Global Mode services offered by various ISP’s or they were simply doing what an increasing number of internet users are doing to maintain their online privacy, and using a VPN.

Last week, HBO launched their own streaming service in the US which enabled viewers wanting access to their premium content the ability to do so without having to bundle the channel as part of their cable package. The US$15 per month subscription service HBO Now has arrived just in time for the fifth season of Game of Thrones.

Over the weekend I thought I’d see if the same methods that allowed kiwis to circumvent the geo-restrictions and access Netflix would work on HBO Now so I bought an Apple TV, which is the exclusive provider of the service for the time being, and set about to see if it would work.

As HBO Now is limited to American audiences, you will need to sign into your Apple TV with a US iTunes account. Once you are, the HBO Now apple is clearly visible.

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The NBR’s Chris Keall has written about the announcement that HBONow is coming exclusively to Apple TV next month and how that will potentially allow kiwis direct access to shows like the fifth season of Game of Thrones without having to empty your wallet for a Sky subscription.

This couple of paragraphs are beautiful though.

During a recent visit to NZ, Netflix execs brushed off HBO Now, saying it would be expensive (which it duly is) and lacking in hit content beyond Thrones.

Sky TV CEO John Fellet picked used the same thin-on-content meme in a recent conversation with NBR. He says only 15% of HBO’s content is original series. The rest is movies. He wasn’t sure if HBO-original programmes would be enough to sustain a standalone offering.

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