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If you are one of those Netflix subscribers just waiting and waiting for HBO to finally release the first seasons of Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire onto DVD to get your fix, you may have to wait a while longer. After its contractual obligations ended in 2011, HBO has decided to no longer support Netflix. Which means the process of Netflix obtaining DVD copies of your favorite HBO shows is going to be a little more difficult.
Don’t raise your hackles just yet. The situation is hairy but not impossible. According to The Wrap, although HBO will no longer be supplying Netflix with DVDs at cheaper cost, there’s a nice little provision in the law that should still allow Netflix to purchase DVDs, albeit at a higher price. The First Sale doctrine will allow Netflix to purchase discs from third party distributers, then re-rent them out to subscribers. According to Netflix spokesperson Steve Swasey, Netflix will continue to provide HBO DVDs to their subscribers.
It’s actually pretty unsurprising HBO would choose to step away from Netflix with its content. Wanting people to subscribe rather than wait for home releases seems to be a pretty common trend for HBO. Otherwise, audiences probably would have seen DVD copies of the first seasons of Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire out months ago. The network has also been promoting its streaming service, HBO Go, pretty hard for the last year, offering HBO subscribers the chance to catch episodes ahead of time through the streaming service and other nice bonuses.
Even when HBO had a deal with Netflix, the pay-cable station never allowed its shows to be streamed, so it makes sense that HBO would rather make it difficult for Netflix to nab DVD copies, too. It just sucks for those who have no interest in investing in a monthly service just to catch up on one or two shows.