HBO Max finally revealed (AT&T video subscribers with HBO subscription gets it for free)

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by techguy88, Oct 29, 2019.

  1. techguy88

    techguy88 Active Member

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    Had Comcast been targeting only WarnerMedia channels and had TCM been moved after the HBO Max announcement I would be more inclined to agree with you on that. However Comcast and Charter has targeted non-WarnerMedia channels as well.

    Like I mentioned with Comcast Oxygen (owned by their NBCUniversal division) was relaunched in 2017 under a true crime format. Investigation Discovery has been broadcasting in this format since 2008 and became the highest rated cable network among women aged 25-54 in 2016. Oxygen throughout its existence has targeted women. They eventually stopped offering WeTV and Investigation Discovery which both compete with Oxygen to new Xfinity customers. They no longer offer Up TV and WGN America new subscribers as well. Charter also dropped Epix from its Gold package at the same time it stripped Cinemax from Silver & Gold.

    In fact Comcast's latest move with Starz has surprisingly got the DOJ looking into them for potential abuse of their market power. Not to mention their own customers are not happy with the TCM move as well. They actually have gotten so many complaints on their own forum they locked the thread about it. To be transparent this isn't the first time Comcast has done this. TCM used to be in their basic tier before they moved it to the Digital Preferred Tier in 2012 which it stayed until now.

    Also if you go to Zap2It and put in a Comcast zip code to see what shows on the 3 linear Hitz channels most would agree it isn't a suitable replacement for Cinemax even with HBO Max launching in May. Most of the movies are from 2006 and before and most are from (you can probably guess) Universal Pictures. You will find the occasional film from Sony Pictures, MGM (post 1986) and Hallmark scattered throughout the schedule.

    Movies repeat at a more frequent rate throughout the day than they ever did on any Cinemax channel. The movies from Sony & MGM are the same ones that are shared with their respective OTA diginets (and other syndication packages) and you can even find some of them on free streaming services like IMBDtv, Vudu (with ads), tubi TV, etc. Hell few of those MGM movies are shared with MGM HD. Although... Comcast subs can't watch MGM HD as it was dropped back in February. :rolleyes:

    The value proposition alone of having the entire HBO service plus the HBO Max originals, curated Turner Network content, exclusive Studio Ghibli movie collection, Crunchyroll/Rooster Teeth content will be enough to push Comcast and other distributors both in the pay-TV sphere and online like Apple, Amazon, Hulu, etc. to include HBO Max in their existing HBO subscriptions.

    They would be foolish not to and let AT&T be the only company that does. That's a powerhouse of content people would pay for. They would have a lot of subs cancelling their Comcast-HBO subscriptions just to get standalone HBO Max subscriptions if they didn't work with AT&T.

    Customers would also be more inclined to stay with AT&T's video services after the launch of HBO Max if they used that service knowing they would get all the linear HBO channels plus HBO Max with say DirecTV or U-Verse TV but not with Xfinity.

    Also I predict HBO Now would be the first to go before Cinemax is even touched. Why kill the service that can stand on its own for a while when you can kill the one that is made 100% redundant by HBO Max.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
  2. JoeTheDragon

    JoeTheDragon Hall Of Fame

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    They can use the download cap and say with cable HBO your hbo tv does not count as part of your cap. But HBO MAX non tv will.
     
  3. NashGuy

    NashGuy Active Member

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    Hmm. I didn't think that Hitz actually had any linear channels. I've only ever understood it to be an on-demand movie library. Seems like I may have read a report from a Comcast subscriber who said that, although Hitz appears in the program grid guide, clicking on it there only takes you to the Hitz on-demand page in the X1 UI. I don't think Comcast actually runs Hitz linear channels, although maybe I'm wrong about that.

    Right. So surely AT&T is smart enough to realize that. Which means that surely they're going to demand a higher wholesale price from Comcast, etc. for HBO Max than they historically have for HBO. If they're pouring lots of additional money into creating Max Originals that will be exclusive to HBO Max, why wouldn't they want to make more money on it than they do on regular HBO? That's why I think Comcast and other distributors will be faced with whether to stick with their current HBO distribution contract (i.e. sell HBO, and pay their current wholesale price for it) or renegotiate the contract to instead sell HBO Max, paying a higher wholesale price for it.

    Yeah, there would seem to be no point in keeping HBO Now around once HBO Max launches. Unless AT&T plans to ask for more favorable distribution terms for HBO Max than they currently have for HBO Now among the app stores operated by Apple, Google, Amazon and Roku. Note that if you get HBO Now directly from them, with HBO Now (AT&T) doing the billing, they say you'll automatically be upgraded to HBO Max. But for those who are billed by an app store, well, the situation is TBD. I'm wondering if AT&T might even decide not to allow sign-ups inside the HBO Max app at all (i.e. the same thing Netflix now does), requiring folks to sign up on their website in order to avoid sharing any of the revenue with app store distributors. So I can imagine a scenario in which the HBO Now app no longer allows new sign-ups (those are reserved for HBO Max) but they continue to operate the HBO Now app/service for several more months in order to give those subscribers time to cancel and self-migrate over to HBO Max as they realize that it offers lots more content for the same price.

    As for why they might kill Cinemax, it could be part of AT&T's plans to pressure MVPDs to renegotiate their contracts and distribute HBO Max instead of HBO. "Look, we're going to kill Cinemax, so the revenue you get from distributing that service is going away. And we're moving all the Cinemax Originals over to HBO Max, which will be their exclusive home going forward. So if your current Cinemax subscribers decide that they still want to watch Warrior, Jett, Strike Back, etc., then they'll need HBO Max for that."
     
  4. techguy88

    techguy88 Active Member

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    Updated the first post about AT&T Unlimited Elite. Currently this plan includes HBO but AT&T has confirmed when HBO Max launches subscribers of this plan will get HBO Max at no extra charge. HBO benefit redeemed through att.com/myatt and uses AT&T Watch TV as the provider when signing in on HBO GO. (Note: Unlimited Elite doesn't include the base Watch TV service of 30+ channels. If you want those channels through Watch TV that is $15/mo.)

    From AT&T's FAQ about their new Unlimited Plans
    AT&T updates unlimited plans, top tier sports 5G-ready data cap

     
  5. techguy88

    techguy88 Active Member

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    Related thread: Future of Audience Network?

    Some recent information from HBO Max execs from the TCA Tour about several key topics regarding HBO Max including some things of interest that we've been discussing.

    Full article: HBO Max Execs Talk Fate of 'Friends' Reunion, Missing 'Harry Potter' Library

    Harry Potter's absent on HBO Max
    Note: NBCUniversal has the broadcast, cable and digital rights to Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts until April 2025. (Unless AT&T decides to pull a Disney and buy the digital rights back before then like Disney did with Star Wars.)

    DC Universe & Boomerang subscription services
    Audience Network
    Cinemax
    This doesn't look too good for Cinemax Originals sounds like it may go back to being a movie focused service. Also explains why we didn't see a "Cinemax" hub icon during the WarnerMedia investor day event when they showed off the HBO Max app. Glad they aren't ditching DC Universe tho.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
  6. NashGuy

    NashGuy Active Member

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    So Audience Network will probably mainly air the first episode of new seasons of HBO Originals and Max Originals from HBO Max, and perhaps select special live content, like the upcoming AT&T TV Super Saturday concert. Beyond that, maybe free screenings of past seasons of HBO Originals and Max Originals so that folks can catch up and be enticed to subscribe to HBO Max when the new season drops. Maybe a few free movies here and there. And lots and lots of previews/ads for stuff on HBO Max.

    As for Cinemax, this is probably the beginning of the end for it. They'll burn off this last 4-episode season of C.B. Strike that they co-produced with the BBC. I think maybe that'll air in Feb. Only other thing I'm aware of that Cinemax has done for future originals is season 2 of Warrior. They'll either air that this spring/summer and then kill the series or move it over to HBO Max as a Max Original (as they're doing with TBS's Search Party and some other stuff). No more Cinemax Originals beyond that. Maybe Cinemax continues on for a few years as a channel no one realizes still exists (much like The Movie Channel, which is owned by Showtime). But I can't see it surviving as a movies-only a la carte premium channel. Just not worth $10-12 for that given all the other options consumers have now.
     
  7. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    That sounds like a permanent "HBO free preview weekend"...
     
  8. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    HBO sampler ... first episodes, similar to how Star Trek Discovery was broadcast to promote CBS's streaming product. Second episode not on the sampler channel (unless they need to further promote a series).
     
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  9. NashGuy

    NashGuy Active Member

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    Yeah, except I imagine that only very select samples of full episodes will be aired at strategic times coinciding with the debut of new seasons on HBO Max. Sounds like it will really only exist to get those DirecTV subscribers who don't already have HBO Max to sign up for it. I imagine a lot of folks would just hide it on their channel guide.

    I still think that the most likely scenario we'll see this year is that HBO Max becomes a non-optional part of all channel packages on AT&T TV and probably DirecTV too. So all new AT&T cable TV subscribers going forward would have it. They don't offer a single package without their own CNN, TBS, TNT, and Cartoon Network. I don't know why they'll treat HBO Max any differently if they really do view it as the cornerstone of their entertainment strategy, just as Comcast won't offer cable TV service without Peacock and Hulu doesn't offer live TV service without the core Hulu on-demand component. (Although I can see them downgrading the bundled-in version of HBO Max to the cheaper version with ads when that becomes available in 2021. Those who want all the ads removed will have to pay the upgrade fee. Maybe that's what happens in lieu of an annual price hike in 2021 for AT&T TV subs.)

    At any rate, regardless of what happens with new subscribers, they'll still want to sell HBO Max to the millions of existing DirecTV customers on current packages that don't include HBO. Hence the HBO Max Preview Channel.

    I wonder whether we'll see the HBO Max app get added to any of the current DirecTV Genie receivers. Are they capable of smoothly running the kind of graphics-intensive apps that HBO Max looks like it will be? It's been years now since I had DirecTV and used an HR44. I guess if ESPN was able to get an app running for all the various model receivers, AT&T should be able to make something functional for HBO Max, even if it's not as slick as the version that will roll out for Apple TV, etc.
     
  10. techguy88

    techguy88 Active Member

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    Well the ESPN app is not very intensive and follows the bare bones/minimalist approach used for Music Choice and iHeartRadio. I don't think the Genies and clients are able to handle a HBO Max app that can do what AT&T wants. The co-viewing experience with at least 2 profiles was detailed and sounds like a big feature they will push.

    Another big key thing that would stop AT&T making a Genie compatible version of the HBO Max app is parental controls. For example I have anything rated TV-MA/R and above blocked on my receivers as I have nephews that come over on occasion that are not old enough to view that content. I still have to watch my nephews when they are using my DirecTV because the Genie receivers and clients can't enforce parental controls in apps. So all the TV-MA rated satellite delivered Music Choice channels are blocked but via the Music Choice app they can essentially bypass my parental controls and listen to those uncensored channels.

    So if the Genie can't support basic features of a premium SVOD service (multiple profiles, pausing on one device like an iPad and resuming on another like the Genie and parental controls) then AT&T most likely won't create an inferior app just to have HBO Max on the Genie. The AT&T TV device on the other hand is perfectly capable to run the HBO Max app without compromise.

    I also don't think they will go that far to add HBO/HBO Max to all base packages for AT&T TV/DirecTV. During their investor day press conference and the FAQ they stressed "premium TV, Internet and Wireless packages and bundles" a lot. AT&T Thanks defines a premium DirecTV/U-Verse TV package as having 240+ channels which would include Ultimate and U300/300LA.

    In the case of DirecTV/AT&T TV I could see them adding HBO to Ultimate. After the drop of El Rey the only channels that require Ultimate would be the StarzEncore multiplex, The Movie Channel multiplex, TUDN and Cowboy Channel. Adding HBO at this point shouldn't be a big deal or increase the package price by a huge margin (one would think.)

    For U-Verse TV personally I can see them removing either Showtime/TMC/Flix multiplex or Starz/StarzEncore multiplexes from U300/300LA and/or U-Verse The Movie Package ($20/mo) and replace them with HBO/Cinemax multiplexes.

    Now I could see AT&T doing something like bringing back the new customer free HBO for 12 months w/HBO Max included when HBO Max launches for customers who sign up for the lower end packages like Select/Entertainment through Xtra. I could also see a similar (either 6 or 12 month) HBO w/HBO Max loyalty offer begin to appear at the same time to get existing subs on similar packages to try HBO Max. That seems more like a thing AT&T would do.
     
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  11. NashGuy

    NashGuy Active Member

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    Yeah, this makes sense and jibes with what I remember about the lowly app/processing capabilities of my old HR44 Genie. Still though, it's strange to think that AT&T will be launching this very, very important service, HBO Max, with no way to deliver it to the ~17 million installed user base of their main cable TV platform, DirecTV.

    Although if a DirecTV customer has home broadband, then he/she is eligible to switch over to AT&T TV with its app-rich box that will surely feature HBO Max. I imagine that's what AT&T would like to see happen.

    Well, AT&T has begun referring to DirecTV, Uverse TV and AT&T TV as their "premium" TV services/platforms, differentiating them from AT&T TV Now. The past couple of quarters on their earnings calls, they've begun giving a total count of "premium TV subscribers," meaning the sum of all subs on their big 3 services. So I wouldn't necessarily interpret their remarks to mean that they only plan to bundle HBO Max in with the most expensive TV packages (although it's certainly possible that they will).

    I still believe that the Plus and Max packages that they rolled out last spring point in the direction they want to take system-wide, which is to have a simpler line-up of channel packages, all of which include HBO Max. If they really believe in HBO Max, and want to maximize their ownership economics, why wouldn't they insist that it be part of every channel package they sell? I think they would see the inclusion of HBO Max "at no extra cost" as an important brand differentiator for AT&T TV versus the cable services from Comcast, Charter, etc. And remember, HBO Max is not being positioned in the market as an elite service, the way that HBO always has been. It's being marketed as a mainstream "quality TV for everyone" service to compete head-on against Netflix.

    For all those customers grandfathered in on existing packages on DirecTV and Uverse TV, I think HBO Max will be treated the same as HBO. If HBO was part of your package, now HBO Max is. If you got HBO as an a la cart add-on, now you get HBO Max instead.

    The question is whether they're going to shake things up with a new channel package system for new subs. Repeated remarks from the CEO have hinted at that over the past couple years. We'll see in time...
     
  12. b4pjoe

    b4pjoe New Member

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    Couldn't they provide it the same way you can watch content on a streaming app that you have access to through DirecTV by verifying with your DirecTV credentials?
     
  13. techguy88

    techguy88 Active Member

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    Actually that's exactly how this is working. If you are an existing AT&T-HBO subscriber through one of their many video services (DirecTV, U-Verse TV, AT&T TV, AT&T TV Now and Watch TV) you will sign in to the HBO Max app with your existing credentials and begin watching. Simples. DirecTV was used as the example during WarnerMedia Day and U-verse TV/AT&T TV are used in the HBO Max FAQ.

    In addition to AT&T-HBO subscribers they want to do the same to non-AT&T MVPD/vMVPDs HBO subs.

    Here is the retaliative bit from WarnerMedia Day (starts at 1:09:50 in)

    Also, if you go forward to the end of the video at 1:26:35 which has the first few questions from the Q&A, Tony Goncalves clarifies (using DirecTV as the example) that DirecTV-HBO subscribers will use their existing credentials to log into the HBO Max app and be able to watch all of its content. They will still have full access to their linear HBO channels on DirecTV with their existing DirecTV-HBO subscription.

     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
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  14. NashGuy

    NashGuy Active Member

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    Yes, completely agree with what both of you are saying but you're both kinda missing the point that I was raising. I don't at all doubt that DirecTV subscribers who have HBO on their account will be able to use their DirecTV credentials to log into the HBO Max app at no additional charge. What I was saying is that I think it will be odd if that app isn't actually present on the recent-model Genie receivers that DirecTV customers use. If it isn't, then those folks will need to switch inputs away from their Genie over to a Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, etc. in order to use the new HBO Max app. Not the end of the world, of course, but it's not ideal or expected, given that the same company, AT&T, owns both DirecTV and HBO Max.
     
  15. techguy88

    techguy88 Active Member

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    I understand where you're coming from @NashGuy but if the recent Genies (the ones with the modern UI) can't run the HBO Max app with the features they are pushing then I don't see them creating an inferior version of the app. Especially if the Genie can't enforce parental controls in the app. The Parents Television Council is already up in arms about Euphoria on HBO imagine their outrage if AT&T adds an HBO Max app to the Genies that have no parental controls and kids can have unrestrained access to that TV-MA show.
     
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  16. JoeTheDragon

    JoeTheDragon Hall Of Fame

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    and they can't just add it to the HBO VOD / PUSH VOD in place? KILL MAX and use the slots to show more the content not on main HBO channel.
     
  17. b4pjoe

    b4pjoe New Member

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    From what I have seen from the apps they have on the Genie I would rather they not try.
     
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  18. NashGuy

    NashGuy Active Member

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    Yeah, I've wondered the same thing about AT&T possibly adding the entire HBO Max library to the VOD section on their own receivers for DTV and AT&T TV rather than requiring users launch a separate app. (For that matter, I've wondered the same thing about HBO Max on other MVPDs' receivers, such as Comcast X1, if/when they strike a new carriage deal to get HBO Max on those systems.)

    My hunch, though, is that AT&T won't want to do this because they want to build brand awareness of HBO Max as its own separate thing, just as Netflix has done. I guess that's understandable if AT&T really believes that traditional cable TV will fade away this decade and be replaced by a handful of major streaming apps and they want HBO Max to be one of them. If that's their view, it's better to start training consumers right away to launch the HBO Max app, whether that's on AT&T's own hardware or on third-party hardware (e.g. Roku, Apple TV, Comcast X1, etc.).

    Way back when AT&T's C71 "Osprey" receiver showed up in the FCC's system -- fall 2017 -- Variety broke the story about it and how it was an Android TV-based streaming device that AT&T would use to deliver cable TV as an OTT service. But a few clues led me to believe that perhaps this device would also be used in conjunction with DTV's satellite service too.

    First off, the naming convention: C71 suggests that it's the next-gen version of the current C61 Genie Mini. DTV typically adds 10 to the model number for each successive generation in a hardware line.

    Also, the first draft of the user manual that was filed with the FCC for the C71 said that its remote control might also be used in conjunction with future AT&T hardware including the "HS27". What's an HS27? AT&T has never released a device with that model number but the name strongly suggests it would be the next-gen version of the current HS17, the Genie 2 whole-home server that works in conjunction with Genie Mini C61 clients.

    Lastly, AT&T's CEO publicly stated a long while back that the new UI that debuted in the 2.0 version of the DirecTV Now app in spring 2018 would also be used with the future AT&T TV service (on the C71) and would eventually spread to the DTV satellite service too. I doubt any of the current Genie receivers (HR54, HR44, C61) are capable of smoothly running that new UI (or that AT&T would want to spend the resources trying). If that UI does make it to the satellite service, I think it will be because the same C71 that gets deployed for AT&T TV also shows up as the new standard receiver for DTV, where it would be installed in conjunction with either the current HS17 or perhaps a next-gen HS27 server ("Genie 3").

    So maybe AT&T solves the issue of no HBO Max app on their DTV hardware by using the C71 on all (or most) new DTV installations and also offering it as an replacement option for current DTV customers with C61s. I still think it's likely that DTV, like AT&T TV, will switch to a new line-up of channel packages (Plus, Max, etc.) for all new sign-ups, all of which include HBO Max. Using the C71, which will of course feature the HBO Max app, for both AT&T TV and DTV would ensure that all those new customers paying for HBO Max could easily access it (as long as they have home internet, that is).
     
  19. compnurd

    compnurd Hall Of Fame

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    Few things your missing here as a non directv subscriber

    All clients from the C31 to the 61 work with the Genie 2. You don’t need a 61. Also the current Genie GUI is with the exception of some small layout items the same one used by ATT TV Now. That GUI spread has already happened... Until there is some sprinkle of a C71 with a coax port it is safe to say the original plan of working with a HS27 and Sat service has changed and it is what it is now

    Also From a hardware perspective the C61k and C61W from Arris use a newer/faster CPU and more ram then the basic Genie Clients. Based on how Directv uses there GUI(which most is driven off Genie) there would be no reason the Genie 2 and a C61k model line could not handle more tasks
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2020 at 1:53 PM
  20. techguy88

    techguy88 Active Member

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    Not to mention they GUI is the same for HR44 - HS17. The only reason the HR34 is on the legacy GUI is it can't handle the new GUI and even on legacy GUI its slowwwwww and showing its age. Plus it didn't have the CCK-W built in and couldn't do mobile DVR at all.
     

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