HBO GO has just become the latest addition to the Chromecast field. Now users can cast Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire to their living room televisions, courtesy of Google’s $35 TV streaming device.
The cable channel’s iOS and Android apps have been updated with Chromecast support, and the HBO GO website will follow within days. (Website casting will be available via the Chrome browser.)
This is still no panacea for cord-cutters, though: Customers have to subscribe both to cable and HBO before they can access HBO GO and then start Chromecasting HBO shows and movies.
As a Comcast subscriber, I’m particularly excited by this development. Although I pay for HBO, Comcast won’t allow me to access the streaming service through my Roku. But now with Chromecast, those pearly gates appear to be thrown wide open to allow HBO streaming direct to my TV. I’m anxious to get home tonight to test this and confirm.
See also: Pandora Joins Chromecast Bandwagon
The chances of Comcast throwing obstacles at HBO Chromecasting, as it did with Roku access (which it actually blocks), seems remote. Last month, the cable operator finally acknowledged the cord-cutting trend with a new, reduced-cost service package: The “Internet Plus” bundle lumps together 25Mbps broadband Internet service with HBO GO, local TV channels and the provider’s Streampix service for a lower cost of $40 per month (for the first year).
Kicking up a fuss over casting HBO GO would only alienate the customers Comcast is now trying to court.
HBO GO is number four in the Chromecast lineup of outside streaming sources, after Netflix, Hulu and Pandora. Add YouTube and Google Play services for movies/TV and music, and the count goes up to seven.
While this is great news for customers, it’s still got to rankle developers. Outside of Google’s designated partners, the Chromecast remains locked down and unavailable to other streaming services—and that means indie players are still left out and sitting on the sidelines.
Update: Perhaps third-party developers won’t be sitting it out for too much longer. Google has invited Chromecast devs to a hackathon event to take place early next month, where they’ll get to check out the upcoming new software development kit. For more, check out this post.