Amazon Fire TV has worked to become an awesome set-top box, but one giant piece was missing until today. This morning, HBO Go was finally made available on Amazon Fire TV, and the subscription streaming service also notes that a deal has been worked out so that Fire TV Stick owners will be able to stream HBO this spring (hopefully before Game of Thrones begins airing).
Adding HBO Go is a huge deal. If nothing else, it is a stamp of legitimacy. HBO Go is perhaps the single most important addition the new technology has been able to add since its initial release, making it competitive with the likes of Apple TV, which already offered HBO’s streaming service. Unfortunately, it seems there is one exception for Amazon Fire TV owners. Apparently, Comcast isn’t allowing access to HBO Go via Fire TV.
Despite the Comcast issue, the addition is still a really big deal. When Amazon first began selling its set-top box this past spring, it was praised for numerous features. The voice search actually works. It allows users to “fling” content from your TV to other devices. And it’s compatible with a huge number of streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube, WatchESPN and more. However, you’ll notice that HBO Go wasn’t included on that list until today. It was certainly one of the big points that separated Amazon Fire TV from its competitors, until today.
Overall, Amazon Fire TV has continued to expand since it first launched. The set-top box has “more than quadrupled” its selection since it originally launched last spring. Now, more than 700 apps and games are available as part of the set. Adding HBO Go will add a selection of more than 1,700 titles that range from popular movies and TV shows to documentaries, TV movies and miniseries.
On HBO's end, the deal follows HBO’s recent announcement that it is creating a standalone streaming service for those who do not have a standard cable package. Like Fire TV stick owners, the subscription cable channel is hoping to have the standalone service available this spring. HBO has previously mentioned that there are 80 million American homes that currently do not have access to HBO content, and the company wants to work to get that content into as many of those homes as possible. Obviously, the standalone streaming service and the access to HBO Go via Amazon Fire TV should make it a lot easier for viewers to gain access.
Amazon and HBO have been talking about bringing HBO Go to the Fire TV for eight months. When the collaboration was first announced, the two companies said that they hoped to make the service available by the end of the year, and they certainly hit those deadlines. That’s reason to hope that the companies will hit the spring deadlines for the Fire Stick, too.