Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

HBO content: Does it make Amazon Prime price hike worth it?

(Read article summary)
View video

Diane Bondareff/Invision for Amazon/AP/File

(Read caption) Amazon Fire TV is unveiled during a press conference in New York. HBO and Amazon have entered into an exclusive content streaming contract.

View photo

Up until now, the only way that a viewer could stream HBO content was through HBO GO, which required a cable login that confirmed the user subscribed to the channel. This left cable cutters who wanted to catch up on past seasons of Girls, for example, in the lurch. However, that's all about to change.

Amazon announced yesterday that it has entered a multi-year contract with HBO to be the sole streaming provider of its content. That means that only Prime subscribers will be able to stream HBO shows without subscribing to the channel itself.

About these ads

The exact details for the deal, however, are still unclear; Prime users reportedly won't have access to episodes of current seasons, but past seasons of current shows are fair game. The initial content rollout will begin on May 21, and over time more shows will be added. While it remains to be seen which titles will be immediately accessible, Game of Thrones will most definitely not be available through the deal. So if you've been itching to figure out what the Red Wedding was all about, you'll need to subscribe to HBO or buy the box set.

Recommended:Cable TV alternatives: Chromecast vs. Apple TV vs. Roku vs. Xbox 360 vs. PS3

Rippling Repercussions

When Amazon announced a few months ago that it would raise the cost of Prime subscriptions to $99 a year, a lot consumers decried that the service was no longer worth it unless there was value added beyond free 2-day shipping. In fact, many readers specifically cited a need for improved media offerings. The HBO contract certainly fulfills this desire, and may soften the harsh $20 price increase for some consumers.

Moreover, having HBO content signals Amazon as a more realistic competitor for Netflix. As Forbes points out, "Amazon's streaming has just looked like a nice bonus for people who use Amazon Prime for free shipping," but it may now appear to be a genuine streaming alternative to Netflix.

Finally, there's no doubt that the top-shelf content is a boost for the Fire TV streaming box that Amazon debuted last month. The device notably was lacking support for the HBO GO app, but the addition of HBO content to Amazon's library remedies this omission — but only to an extent, since viewers will need to have a Prime subscription to access the content.

Readers, what do you think of this deal? Does HBO content on Amazon make your Prime subscription more valuable? Are you more likely to subscribe to Prime with the enhanced media library? 

Lindsay Sakraida is the features director for, where this article first appeared: