Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Battle for Standalone HBO GO

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Battle for Standalone HBO GO

Article excerpt

TakeMyMoneyHBO.com creator Jake Caputo wants access to HBO GO without a cable subscription. Why he says it's a battle worth fighting - and why he may never win.

When the premium cable channel HBO created its own online, on- demand service, subscribers rejoiced. The two-year-old HBO GO gives current customers unlimited access to all of HBO's original programming (including the complete series of "Sex and the City" and "The Sopranos"), documentaries, and movies - all free of charge.

Wordpress designer Jake Caputo wants HBO GO. Badly. But without a cable subscription (let alone paying extra for HBO), he is out of luck. Like many young Americans, Mr. Caputo watches most, if not all, of his TV online.

There should be a way to get HBO GO without a cable subscription, he says. Caputo is willing to pay for the service. To make his point, Caputo launched TakeMyMoneyHBO.com.

"We pirate 'Game of Thrones,' we use our friend's 'HBO GO' login to watch 'True Blood,' " says the website. "Please HBO, offer a standalone HBO GO streaming service and take my money!"

One day after the site went live, Time Warner Cable Vice President Fernando Laguarda took notice - and voiced his disapproval.

"[H]ow much would you pay for a health club with just the equipment you use? #economics #impractical," Mr. Laguarda wrote on Twitter.

In other words, Time Warner - of which HBO is a subsidiary - isn't too keen on the idea of a standalone HBO GO streaming service. But Caputo, who says his website has gotten "overwhelmingly positive" feedback, is still pushing to make HBO GO available to any Internet user willing to pay a monthly fee.

"I've read and heard that it can't happen because [HBO's] too tied into the cable and satellite companies, which I find hard to believe," Caputo says in an email interview. "We're talking about some of the biggest and most powerful companies in the world. …

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