If you own a Roku, you have been able to stream HBO Go and Showtime Anytime shows for a while. That's not true if you're a Comcast customer, though. Comcast took their sweet time getting their customers what they want, but it finally happened. According to an FCC filing, Comcast has come to terms with Showtime and HBO and has "agreed to authenticate the HBO Go and Showtime Anytime apps on Roku video streaming devices." Roku users, rejoice.
The deal was reached on November 25, but there's no date on when customers will actually be able to access HBO Go and Showtime Anytime content. Apparently Comcast had been in negotiations for both of these services for several months. They got a deal done just before Thanksgiving, but that doesn't mean that Comcast subscribers can get the apps on their Roku boxes just yet. It's still a waiting game.
This isn't the stand-alone, a la carte streaming service that we really want from HBO and Showtime, but it is a step in the right direction. HBO Go has been in the spotlight recently because of rumors that the app may end up truly unbundled from your cable TV subscription. Right now, you still have to be paying cable service and for the HBO channel in order to utilize HBO Go on a mobile device. You have to use your cable provider's logins to get into the app and access content. What consumers actually want, is an untethered app that you can pay for by itself, like Netflix or Hulu Plus. We are on the cusp of a great unbundling that will offer consumers more choice than ever.
Unfortunately, Comcast and the television industry want to stand in the way of this change. They want to continue to charge you hundreds of dollars per month for hundreds of channels that you never watch. Comcast, trying to make the situation worse, is also trying to buy Time Warner and create monopolies in many areas. This is a move to consolidate their own power and provide consumers with even fewer choices. Choices are good. This deal with to get HBO Go and Showtime Anytime is good. Let's have more of that.