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Comcast adds HBO, Cinemax to online streaming trial

Tue, 07/14/2009 - 8:35am
Mike Robuck

Comcast continues to bulk up its stable of online video content with the addition of HBO and Cinemax shows to its national trial that is slated to debut later this month.

The HBO and Cinemax broadband services will be available to 5,000 Comcast subscribers across the nation as the first step in Comcast’s On Demand Online trial that was announced last month.

The content, which includes full episodes of HBO programming such as “Entourage,” “The Wire” and “The Sopranos,” as well as popular movies, will be accessible via Comcast.net and Fancast.com.

“HBO is an iconic brand with award-winning original programming and exclusive feature films, and we are thrilled they are joining us in our mission to make our services available online to our customers,” said Matt Bond, executive vice president of content acquisition for Comcast. “For the first time, HBO and Cinemax customers around the country will be able to watch their favorite shows and movies online at no additional cost. This agreement is an important milestone in our long-term strategy of enabling customers to watch popular television and movie content when and where they want it.”

The HBO and Cinemax broadband services will initially provide a combined total of 750 hours per month of programming and will grow over time. The HBO and Cinemax content will be added in with programming from Time Warner Inc.’s Turner networks TNT and TBS, as well as Starz Entertainment.

Following the launch, HBO and Cinemax programming will be updated frequently, with subscribers able to choose from a number of programs in HD, including HBO Films, series, documentaries, sports, specials and comedies, as well as theatrical films. Customers will be able to view certain new programs online immediately after they air on television and will have access to an extensive library of past programming.

The content is available only to Comcast customers who are signed up for the company’s Internet and video services, but Comcast and Time Warner have mentioned opening up the platform to other service providers, which presumably could mean competitors like AT&T and Verizon.

A key component of the service will be the authentication process that allows Comcast subscribers the same content online for free that they subscribe to on TV.

The service will use a simple log-on system for streaming content and, in the future, will allow for download content to go. Comcast has said the On Demand Online service will roll out in phases, adding new features, functionality and content over time, but didn’t say what the new features or functionality were.

The service is Comcast’s answer to over-the-top providers such as Hulu that use cable operators’ broadband pipes to deliver movies and shows.

More Broadband Direct 07/14/09:
•  Comcast adds HBO, Cinemax to online streaming trial
•  More objections to Charter's reorg
•  Integra5 switches name to MediaFriends
•  Blockbuster to stream video rentals on Samsung TVs
•  Verizon Business a Cisco data center reseller
•  Move Networks names Austin CEO, president
•  Magna: Traditional TV ad revenue to dwarf online video for years
•  Broadband Briefs for 07/14/09
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