Time Warner Cable initiated a beta test Wednesday of the HBO Go and Max Go "TV Everywhere" services, limiting access to its high-end SignatureHome customers initially before making it widely available in the next several days.
After more than a year of negotiations, Time Warner Cable -- one of the last big holdouts among pay-TV providers on HBO Go -- reached an agreement with premium programmer last month to offer the authenticated online and mobile video services. Cablevision Systems announced a deal soon thereafter, and Bright House Networks, which has an agreement to take advantage of TWC's programming deals, also plans to launch the services.
Time Warner Cable's SignatureHome customers who are also HBO/Cinemax subscribers were to be emailed a link with instructions for how to log in to the beta version of the services, director of digital communications Jeff Simmermon wrote in a blog post Wednesday. During the trial, access is limited to access to HBOGo.com and MaxGo.com from PCs and Macs, with access to the premium programmer's iPhone, iPad and Android smartphone apps to follow.
"Rather than spend time aggregating a large list of volunteers across our footprint, vetting them against various eligibility requirements, and making sure that each of our markets is equally represented to arrive at a final approved master list, we're going with all SignatureHome customers," Simmermon said. "This will allow us to take a representative sampling from across all markets -- which have varied tech infrastructures -- without overloading our systems."
The beta test will last several days, Simmermon said, and is intended to work out any glitches "before all of the people who have been eagerly waiting for the product pile on and potentially magnify a less-than-optimal (and avoidable) experience."
HBO Go offers more than 1,400 titles online, including every episode of every season of original HBO shows including current series Game of Thrones, True Blood and Boardwalk Empire and older ones such as The Sopranos, Sex and the City and Deadwood, as well as movies, HBO original films, miniseries, sports, documentaries, and specials.
Max Go offers more than 400 titles of Cinemax programming online, including hundreds of movies and the Max After Dark series.
"People want this app as quickly as possible -- the input that I've been getting from our customer base hit its peak six months ago, and it's been at a steady, high gush ever since," Simmermon wrote.