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Why HBO GO took so long to reach the Apple TV


On Wednesday we reported that HBO GO was finally making its long-awaited debut on the Apple TV.

A press release on the matter read, in part:

HBO GO users get unlimited access to their favorite HBO shows, including HBO original programming, hit movies, sports, documentaries, comedy specials and more. This includes full seasons of the best of HBO, plus bonus features and special behind-the-scenes extras. HBO GO on Apple TV requires a subscription to HBO through participating television providers.

While HBO fans are undoubtedly thrilled that they can now catch up on all of their favorite HBO content via the Apple TV, one has to wonder why it took so long for HBO GO to finally make its way to the Apple TV in the first place. After all, HBO GO has for some time been available on a number of other platforms, including the Xbox 360, Roku and, of course, the iPhone and iPad.

So why the long wait for the Apple TV?

To help answer that question, The Verge was able to speak with HBO chief technology officer Otto Berkes who was able to provide a little bit of light on the matter.

Berkes explains that the app for the Apple TV was the first app HBO developed completely in-house. Previously, Berkes notes that HBO would team up with third parties to help them develop apps.

The Verge also adds:

Nothing is more time consuming than writing all the code involved and encoding HBO's massive video library, said Otto Berkes, HBO's chief technology officer, in an exclusive interview with The Verge. He said "optimizing the compression formula to deliver the high-quality video to the lowest bandwidth" is a massive undertaking. The company does this so the streaming video looks good even on slow web connections.

What's also interesting, and perhaps part of the reason behind the delayed arrival of HBO GO, is that the app's inclusion on the Apple TV must be given the go-ahead by cable and satellite affiliates. The article from The Verge has more on that issue and is well worth checking out if you're curious as to the wheeling and dealing that often accompanies getting content from content providers to the screen.

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