Actually, here is what I thought: finally, I’m going to be able to re-watch the full run of The Larry Sanders Show! On my own schedule!
But then I read what HBO on Broadband is actually going to be . . .
First off, they are initially going to offer it to people in Green Bay and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And, there is no time line for rolling it out the rest of the world. So buck up, Packers fans, while your team ain’t going to the Super Bowl, you do get HBO Broadband!! That must be some consolation, right? . . . Right? . . . Didn’t think so.
Secondly, there is the DRM. Of course: you can’t burn to DVD, the videos will self-destruct in four weeks (I wonder if you can re-download as many times as you wish), and you’ll need a special application in which to play them. Which will only work on Windows, of course.
But here’s the worst part of all:
To gain access, you must be a digital cable customer who subscribes to HBO, and you must use your cable company as your Internet provider.
I get the first bit: they want to make this part of the overall package for HBO subscribers. Fine. I am an HBO subscriber. I have been an HBO subscriber for years. Half of the shows that I regularly declare “The Greatest Show Ever” come from HBO.
But apparently, I’m not the right type of HBO subscriber, because I don’t get my internet via my cable provider. This a choice that I’ve very consciously made: I hate the cable service that my cable company — Charter — provides, why I would willingly ask them to piss me off even more?
So bollocks to that. Because they are basically forcing me to bundle my internet and cable service to get what they are essentially claiming is a natural extension of the HBO brand. But it really isn’t: in the end it seems to be mostly a Trojan Horse to get people to sign up for Time-Warner’s Roadrunner Internet.
Not even the full run of the Larry Sanders Show (which I’m guessing that they probably won’t have, because it will probably be more about hits and less about the Long Tail) will tempt me to do that. Sorry, I’m out.
As a matter of fact, if Time-Warner bought Charter today, I’d be on the phone with DirecTV tomorrow.
Too bad, because I would have been a natural customer for this. You get this to me with easy access, no bullshit restrictions and a full Long Tail, and maybe I won’t be tempted to cancel HBO when The Wire ends in a couple of months.