Starting early this week, Comcast will let HBO subscribers access the premium network's app on Microsoft's Xbox 360 -- but unlike with the operator's own VOD app for the console, video accessed through HBO Go will count toward the 250-Gigabyte monthly data-usage limit on broadband users.
Comcast announced the new feature in a blog post Friday. To access HBO Go on the Xbox Live service -- which costs an additional $60 per year from Microsoft -- customers can log in with the same username and password that they use for Xfinity TV on Xbox.
HBO Go launched on the game platform during the last week of March. Comcast also debuted its own Xfinity TV app for the Xbox, but the MSO was not among the initial affiliates supporting the HBO app. (Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks also do not allow HBO Go on Xbox.) Comcast and HBO resolved business issues unrelated to the device itself to reach an agreement on HBO Go for Xbox, according to an industry source.
Meanwhile, Comcast still does not provide access to the HBO authenticated programming service through Roku set-tops or Samsung Smart TVs, as most other HBO affiliates do.
With Comcast's launch of Xfinity TV for Xbox, public-interest groups complained that the operator's policy of not counting video-on-demand consumed through the app was anticompetitive relative to other Internet-delivered services. Comcast said that because the Xbox acts as effectively another set-top box for VOD that does not traverse the Internet, usage of the Xfinity app is not subject to the 250 GB monthly cap.
The MSO, in its frequently asked questions section of its website, says all Internet-delivered video -- including that on its XfinityTV.com site -- counts toward total usage.
A Comcast spokesman said all HBO Go usage will apply to the cap because the video is delivered over the public Internet, while the Xfinity TV VOD app for Xbox uses only the MSO's private network.