Cable operator Comcast historically has been stingy and slow when it comes to expanding access to services like HBO GO on third-party devices. That’s why today’s news that HBO GO as well as Showtime Anytime will be made available on Amazon’s streaming media players, including Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, is notable.
The company says that, as of now, Comcast Xfinity TV customers will be able to sign into the networks’ applications using their credentials in order to immediately start watching the movies and shows each app offers. This is presuming, of course, that customers pay for these premium channels as a part of their Comcast service.
With the additional support for Amazon’s Fire TV devices, Comcast says it authenticates more than 90 networks across 18 devices, including other popular streaming media players like Roku, Apple TV and Chromecast, plus gaming console Xbox One, among others.
Still missing from the list? PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 – something that’s been a complaint for over a year now. HBO GO arrived on the PS3 in early 2014, and when it hit PS4 this March, Comcast customers weren’t surprised (but were disappointed) to discover that they couldn’t use HBO GO there, either.
Comcast’s decision to withhold access to HBO on various connected platforms is ultimately a bad business decision for the company, especially now that HBO offers and over-the-top service called HBO NOW.
Though NOW is still somewhat restricted as well – it only works on iOS devices, Apple TV, Sling TV, and the web, the larger goal for HBO NOW is to be a cross-platform service. As HBO expands access to its solution for cord cutters, there will be less incentive for customers to buy a cable tv package – like one from Comcast – in order to watch HBO programming.