Opinion: HBO’s new online streaming service a murky advertisement

Carley Hull is a senior news major. Contact her at chull9@kent.edu. 

Carley Hull is a senior news major. Contact her at [email protected]

Carley Hull

It’s hard living in the spoiler age. Yes, it’s first world problem hard, but enough to make a seemingly sane person completely paranoid. Becoming a “Game of Thrones” fan without HBO, and after the Red Wedding aired, was a difficult time. I went to my internship every day in fear of a spoiler. I managed to remain in the dark of every death up to season three, and I wasn’t going to let the editor and copy editor fan-girling over Khaleesi and their hatred for King Joffrey ruin my ignorance as the final episode of season four was approaching.

I eliminated “Game of Thrones” from my Facebook newsfeed and Twitter and scanned friends for any potential history of spoilers, unfollowing those who appeared to be a threat. It seems crazy, but it was necessary. In the end, I was successful in seeing every episode of “Game of Thrones” without anything being spoiled. Something I can’t say for “The Walking Dead,” where I have had every single major death up to season four completely spoiled after people said on Facebook, “I can’t believe (character) is dead!” Really? Me either.

What I needed to avoid this paranoia was paid online access to HBO without a cable or dish provider. I thought April would bring hope for another year of enjoying “Game of Thrones” completely spoiler free. HBO announced last year that it was working on an online streaming service after people took to social media to express not only their need, but their desire for such a service. This April, HBO announced the service as HBO Now and tweeted to those who once took their 140 characters to beg HBO for a streaming service.

On the surface, it appears HBO finally solved its access problem, but the reality of watching HBO on a laptop like a Netflix service is murky. According to PCWorld, HBO Now will offer a browser-based service for laptops and Windows users, but I have seen no official statements or information come from HBO. It appears the company gives us false hope saying, “Soon all you’ll need is the Internet to get HBO.”

In reality, HBO Now says on its website that users will also need an Apple TV device or Cablevision Optimum. So no, not just the Internet.

Yes, HBO is modernizing its focus, something I think cable will need to do to survive the age of Netflix and Hulu Plus, but this new service should be as simple as paying to watch on your laptop, smartphone or tablet — no extra devices attached. It just makes sense for HBO to offer a purely online streaming service, especially since Forbes projected that “Game of Thrones” might become the most pirated show to date due to the lack of access people have to HBO.

An official date has not been announced for HBO Now’s launch, according to The Verge, but HBO told the website that it will have the service available by the April 12 release of “Game of Thrones.” But, without a simple paid streaming service for computers, I think many of us are still out of luck for HBO access and avoiding spoilers.

Contact Carley Hull her at [email protected].