Just in time for the season six premiere of the mega-hit cable TV show Game of Thrones, the standalone streaming app HBO Now is finally available on Xbox One.
When the HBO Now app launched last year, it was a timed-exclusive to Apple devices. This upset some consumers, as it meant HBO Now was unavailable on home video game consoles like other popular streaming services. Now, nearly a year after the launch of HBO Now, the streaming service has finally come to a home video game console, with the Xbox One having first dibs.
HBO stealth-launched the HBO Now app on Xbox One earlier today. The timing of the launch makes sense, as the season six premiere of Game of Thrones is set for this coming Sunday. The season six premiere of Game of Thrones combined with the increased accessibility of the HBO Now app could result in an increase in HBO Now subscribers this week, especially when one considers the success of Netflix and other streaming services on home consoles.
Having said that, as it stands, the HBO Now app on the Xbox One is somewhat difficult to use. There doesn’t seem to be a way to sign up for an account directly on the console, and instead consumers are asked to visit the HBO Now website. From there, potential subscribers have to sign up for the service either through Apple, Google Play, Amazon, or Roku, which could prove inconvenient. However, we imagine that things will get sorted out in future updates for the app.
Something else that consumers may find inconvenient is that it doesn’t appear as though HBO Now is available yet on PlayStation 4. This is unfortunate for PS4 owners, as Sony’s PlayStation Vue cable alternative streaming service doesn’t allow the option to sign up for HBO yet, whereas Xbox One owners could still have accessed the channel if they signed up for it through Sling TV.
Considering how long it took for the HBO Now app to come to any of the home consoles, there’s really no telling when it will appear on PlayStation 4. And since the app was stealth-launched on Xbox, there’s a good chance that when it does come to PS4, we won’t even know in advance.
Even so, the launch of HBO Now on Xbox One is big news for cord cutters that are looking to completely cut their ties to cable, as TV enthusiasts can now access most premium cable programming without actually needing a cable service provider. It will be interesting to see how big of an impact HBO Now has on the declining cable television market moving forward, and when the app will launch on other platforms, such as PlayStation 4.