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An Exercise in Frustration

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or How HBO and Comcast Are Screwing Their Paying Customers

As you may be aware, I recently got a Samsung Galaxy SIII. Other fun facts pertinent to the set up of this story include: I am a Comcast subscriber and I have HBO.

For the most part I like Comcast. I like HBO. I like watching HBO via Comcast. I like the fact that Comcast is generally pretty good about putting up episodes the day after they air on OnDemandTM [this means watching it on the TV through the cable box]. I really like HBOGo. I like that HBO's entire back catalog is up for anytime viewing [as opposed to the limited choices Comcast has up at any given time]. I like watching television on my computer less since I have a large television down the hall.

Unfortunately, Comcast does not support streaming HBOGo on Roku devices. This makes me sad. I can stream HBOGo on my phone though. Sweet, I thought, I'll use this nifty gadget to stream on my phone to the television.

Hooked it up Wednesday night, picture looked good, Netflix worked well, but HBOGo kept "crashing" (note the whacky finger quotes). I disconnected the hdmi, rebooted the phone, and started streaming [worked fine]. Hook in the hdmi and CRASH. What the hell...?

Off to the internet I went. After some Google-Fu, turns out that HBOGo intentionally does not support streaming from one's phone to the television. Fun fact, this is actually in their FAQ, but I missed it on my brief pass through it. So instead of having some legitimate error message: "Hey we're dumb! No hdmi for you!" the app just crashes, awesome!

Okay, let me get this straight. I can hdmi out from my laptop to the television no problem [also in their FAQ], but if it's a phone, that's a no no? If the notion is to stop people going over to their friend's house and watching's not working! Anyone can log into their provider's account on any network and stream. I can carry my laptop to a friend's house just as easily as a phone.

But that's not even the issue. I want to watch a premium channel I paid for on my wifi connection that I paid for powering it with electricity I paid for in an apartment I paid for on any device I want that I paid for. Key word here: paid.

Wait, it gets worse. So Comcast has an Xfinity[their branding of tv, internet, and such] mobile app that has some HBO content AND IT WORKS JUST FINE. Problems: the shitty resolution and lack of the entire catalog.

So I can stream HBO content from my phone to the television, but not through the official vehicle? Who is running this business?

Congratulations all you've done is piss off the people paying for your service!

2 Comments On This Entry

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31 August 2012 - 12:31 PM
As an interesting aside, looks like HBO is offering a standalone subscription to HBOGo to compete with Netflix in Northern Europe.

For ~$12.50 a month? Are you serious? Bring this to the U.S. immediately!


01 September 2012 - 12:03 PM
I think I like your secondary title better. But yeah, that is dumb. I would be interested in their standalone subscription though, if they could only get their butts in gear now. After all, winter is coming...
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