HBO, one of the last holdouts in the age of providing digital entertainment media online, has finally given up (or maybe acknowledged that it will lose out on a whole bunch of subscribers if it does not enter the race) and launched a service called HBO On Broadband that features 400 hours of both movies and serials that can be downloaded onto a computer. However, as of now, there are several restrictions, with these restrictions across computer platforms, and locations:
The catch: To gain access, you must be a digital cable customer who subscribes to HBO, and you must use your cable company as your Internet provider. And, at least initially, you must live in Milwaukee or Green Bay, where Time Warner Cable will first test the service. (There's no extra cost for online access.)
HBO Broadband offers a broad selection of programming, including 130 movie titles that rotate monthly and top hits ranging from The Sopranos to Sex and the City, as well as documentaries. Usually, about six episodes will be offered at any one time, but for one series every month, every episode ever produced will be available. HBO co-president Eric Kessler blames technological issues for the delay in offering online video but says the new service continues the network's plan to "enhance the value of the HBO subscription by giving viewers greater access to our content."
This is almost like testing the waters, and one can forecast that geographical locations will get added, and so will more controls to prevent piracy. And right now this service is free, but one can be sure that at some point, HBO will want to make money with this.