HBO’s over-the-top streaming service aimed at cord cutters, HBO NOW, is today becoming available on Android devices and Amazon Fire tablet devices, the companies are announcing this morning, and will soon arrive on Fire TV, Fire TV Stick and Android TV streaming media devices in the “coming weeks.” The move signals the end of the Apple exclusivity window for the service. According to HBO, the app will reach the Amazon Appstore and Google Play today.
HBO NOW was first announced this March at Apple’s WWDC event, and offers the network’s original programming, documentaries, movies, sports shows, and specials to those who don’t have a pay TV subscription through a cable or satellite provider. Instead, viewers can download an app to their mobile devices or watch online via the web, paying $14.99 per month for direct access to HBO. However, when the service debuted this spring, it was initially available in app format only for Apple TV and iOS devices like iPhone and iPad, not Android phones or tablets.
But that exclusivity was a limited time deal. This May, for example, Google announced at its own developer conference that the app would soon arrive on Google Play with Chromecast support included.
The HBO NOW app is launching today for Amazon’s latest tablet devices, says Amazon, including the more affordable Fire HD 6 ($99) and Fire HD 7 ($139) tablets, as well as the high-end Fire HDX 8.9 ($379). The HDX is pricier due to its 339 ppi HDX display, quad-core 2.5 GHz processor, support for Dolby Atmos, and other features designed to make it Amazon’s preferred tablet for media consumption. These tablets devices run Fire OS, which is Amazon’s customized version of Android.
HBO also says that the app will hit Google Play at some point today. The Android version of the application will “soon” support Chromecast streaming, and will also soon run on Android TV, the company notes.
In addition, Amazon says that HBO NOW will soon be supported on its own streaming media devices, Fire TV and the Fire TV Stick – the latter its answer to Google’s Chromecast.
Neither Amazon or HBO offered an exact timeframe for the streaming media player launch dates, only saying that it would be available in the weeks ahead.
On both app stores, HBO will allow new customers to try the service for free for the first 30 days. Afterward, they can either cancel or continue their subscription at $14.99/month. This also gives them the ability to watch the streams via HBO’s website at HBONOW.com.
As a side note, Amazon took the opportunity to provide an update on the Fire TV ecosystem this morning, noting that, during the past five months, it’s added over 700 new channels, apps, and games for Fire TV, and its Amazon Appstore now has over 300,000 apps that work on its Fire tablets.
Though Apple previously was the exclusive hardware partner for HBO NOW, that hasn’t been the only way for those without a pay TV subscription to access the network’s programming. The company also cut deals with Cablevision who resold HBO NOW to its internet customers, and with Dish’s Sling TV, an online streaming TV service. More recently, Comcast said that HBO would be included in Stream, its own internet-powered streaming service.
According to some analysts cited by Variety, HBO NOW’s streaming service may have reached around a million subscribers by June. Network execs, meanwhile, have previously said the addressable market for HBO NOW in the U.S. is the 10 million homes that only have broadband subscriptions.