At today’s “Spring Forward” event hosted by Apple, rumors and rumblings of an HBO standalone service came to a halt when the each company’s CEOs took turns explaining the forthcoming HBO NOW. HBO’s CEO Richard Plepler explained that HBO NOW is slated to debut in “early April” alongside introducing a brand new Game of Thrones trailer. While no solid date has been announced, one would assume they’re trying their best to get every bug and kink worked out before April 12th, when three of their most popular and critically-acclaimed shows, including Game of Thrones, return to air.
According to the official press release, HBO NOW registration will be available to all users of an iOS device and Apple TV, including a full month’s free trial after registration. Once signed up, users will then be able to utilize their accounts at HBONOW.com. HBO is currently working with more partners, and the service will expand to other ecosystems, but for now Apple is where you’ll be getting your non-cable HBO fix.
No mention has been made of folding HBO GO into the HBO NOW service and they seem have plans to retain both services going forward. HBO GO will of course be the free service bundled with cable subscriptions, and HBO NOW will be the standalone web service. Retention of both services might actually allay some of the streaming woes that HBO GO has faced in the past when the demand of the user base was more than the power of their servers.
Plelper announced that the standalone HBO NOW service would cost $14.99 per month, which when it comes to premium streaming pricing is not bad at all. Roughly double the price of a single Netflix streaming subscription, or a single Hulu subscription makes the future of web-based television viewing much more palatable. Along side HBO NOW’s pricing, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple TV units would be reduced by thirty dollars, with all new units now priced at $69. The revolution will not be televised, it will be streamed.